BANGOR, Maine — Artists broke out their paints and set up their easels throughout the city on Saturday to take part in the second annual Paint Bangor Day and raise money for the Bangor Art Society.
By 10 a.m., 27 painters had registered at the Bennett Gallery on Central Street, getting their blank canvases stamped to show they had completed their paintings during the one-day event. The finished paintings were to be auctioned off that evening at a reception at the gallery, with half the proceeds from the sale of each painting going to the artist and half to benefit the art society.
Gloria Hodgdon of Levant and her friend Charlene Sirois of Old Town set up on opposite corners at the intersection of Main and May streets, each with a slightly different perspective on the renovated 1888 Unitarian Church parish center, now part of the Merrill Financial Center.
“I’m just trying to capture some of the beauty of that building,” Hodgdon said. “I’ve always loved it.” Hodgdon, whose day job is dairy farming, said painting is what she does for fun.
“I haven’t painted with oils for probably 20 years,” she said, dabbing some yellow pigment onto her canvas. “It’s like being a beginner all over again.”
Hodgdon and Sirois participated in Paint Bangor Day last year and said they each sold a painting at the auction.
“I think mine brought $35,” Sirois said.
Friends Abby Leach, Donald Fortier and David Dauphinee spread out on the grass in Norumbega Parkway, working on different views of the “Winged Victory” war memorial, the trees and flowers in the park, and the varied architecture of surrounding buildings.
“We have to stay pretty close together, because she [Leach] has all the paint,” said Fortier, a first-time painter.
“I haven’t painted since I was 10,” said Dauphinee, now 27. He said he was enjoying the experience and the opportunity to chat with people walking through the park.
Leach said she participated in last year’s fundraiser but wasn’t able to finish her painting because her paints were “very uncooperative” in the hot, dry weather — not a problem this rainy summer.
Around the corner on Central Street, Michael Vermette of Indian Island was making a preliminary pencil sketch of a view up Kenduskeag Stream.
“It reminds me a little bit of Venice,” he said. “It’s kind of dirty, but Venice is like that, too.” Vermette, who teaches painting and exhibits extensively, said Paint Bangor Day is a good opportunity for local artists to support the art society and its many programs. In addition, he said, the presence of dozens of painters sprinkled throughout the city gives passers-by a new perspective on Bangor.
“People stop and look in a way they might not otherwise,” he said. “They see new details.”
A total of 43 painters participated in this year’s Paint Bangor day, including a number of young children.
At the auction Saturday evening, 27 paintings sold, netting $1,600 for the Bangor Art Society. Paintings sold for as little as $10 and as much as $550.
On the Web: www.bangorartsociety.com