Famed Georgetown artist Ipcar to release calendar of new artwork, support local groups

Artist and author Dahlov Ipcar shows her latest painting in her Georgetown studio on Wednesday.
Larry Grard | The Times Record
Artist and author Dahlov Ipcar shows her latest painting in her Georgetown studio on Wednesday.
Posted June 21, 2013, at 2:18 p.m.

GEORGETOWN, Maine — With the understanding that any published story include an account of her soon-to-be released calendar, Dahlov Ipcar relaxed Wednesday in the 1865 Cape Cod she has called home since 1937.

The gentle lady, whose kaleidoscopic paintings of farm animals are in permanent collections in places such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, was looking forward to an appearance Saturday at the Georgetown Historical Society. There, the artist and author will take her place in an opening reception for the Historical Society’s summer fiber arts exhibit, “With Hands and Hearts: The Threads of Our Island History.”

Ipcar might or might not be around on Saturday evening, as the Historical Society auctions pieces for its endowment fund. Included: a painting of a man shoeing a horse that she did a few years back for the Maine Farmland Trust. Somehow, Ipcar made that a gentle scene, too.

Farm scenes are a natural for Ipcar, born in 1917, who says she yearns for a 19th-century lifestyle when people traveled in horse and buggies and got stuck in the spring mud. Ipcar said she appreciates both the Maine Farmland Trust, and the Georgetown Historical Society.

“It’s marvelous that the Farmland Trust is preserving farm land,” Ipcar said from her studio, where she completes in the neighborhood of one painting per month. “I think a farm life is the most marvelous life.”

Her paintings and her books reflect just that.

Once a farmer with her late husband, Adolph, Ipcar has written fantasy novels as well as illustrated children’s books and three-dimensional cloth sculptures.

“That Farmland Trust painting was one of my early farm paintings,” she said. “Then I got caught up in the early abstract expressionism movement of the 1940s.”

Many of those depict farm workers with their draft horses and other animals.

Ipcar also has created large-scale murals for public buildings, including U.S. Post Offices.

She treasures Georgetown.

“The Historical Society has done a beautiful job,” she said. “It’s getting to be a nice, central part of the town. The town has lacked that, especially since the Five Islands Post Office was torn down.”

Promises made, promises kept. On July 6, Ipcar will sign 200 copies of her calendar, which features circle paintings of animals.

“I’ve been doing these circle paintings,” she said. “They always seem special to me. I started with the idea of a kaleidoscope. You just freewheel it, and you see multiple images.”

Ipcar, who grew up in Greenwich Village, moved to her parents’ property in Georgetown when she was a young woman. She and Adolph started a farm of their own.

Today, Ipcar enjoys visits from her son, Charlie, who lives in Richmond. She speaks on the phone often with her other son Bob, who lives in Brooklyn. Her cat Grendel, named for the monster in the novel “Beowulf,” is good company.

At the Historical Society, meanwhile, board members are busy. Busy, busy. They’re getting the big building ready for perhaps the biggest weekend of the year.

Jeanne McGowan, board president, appreciates what Ipcar means to the community.

“She’s an inspiration for a lot of people — not only in terms of her art and books, but she’s enormously generous in terms of her time and her support of Georgetown organizations. She’s a role model.

“She thinks the calendar’s a big deal, and it is. We’re the first ones she’s doing anything with on that, on July 6.”

First, though, McGowan and other Historical Society members are focused on this weekend. The local fiber art collection focuses on the Georgetown Working League’s many contributions to the community. The exhibit, which runs through Oct. 12, spans more than 100 years of handmade items that tell stories about the people of Georgetown and this history.

“It’s very important,” McGowan said. “We’re really proud of our exhibits. It’s a way to honor the 100 years of the Georgetown Working League.”

McGowan pointed to Georgetown Working League quilts, as well as an 11-foot needlepoint of Riggs Cove, done by Jean Curtin Stults. There’s a fabric kneeler from St. Cuthbert’s Episcopal Church, which remains open during the summer months, as well as other items on loan.

“We have some fabulous locally based items,” McGowan said. “We’re fundraising, but we also connect people to their history.”

During Sunday’s annual meeting, which begins at 1 p.m., the Historical Society will elect new board members and set goals. Guest speaker Leona Dufour of the Georgetown Working League will share pictures and stories about the league’s 100 years of service.

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