BAR HARBOR — Beverly Haskell takes everyday objects – plates and slates, an old wood ironing board, boxes and cutting boards – and turns them into charming works of art. The Hulls Cove resident is the Artist of the Month for February at the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor; her whimsical works are on display in the Gladys Franklin O’Neil Periodical Room through the end of the month.
Behold a steam train traversing the autumn-colored hills on wooden footstool. Check out the jaunty rooster strutting his stuff on a cutting board. Delicate flowers grace a red glass plate, and a decorative whale-topped weather vane beckons. It’s folk art at its most fun.
“There are always so many things to do,” says Beverly. She works mainly with acrylics on just about anything that will stay still long enough for her to paint it. “Tin is hard, wood is easy. Fabric, slate – you can paint anything.”
Art has not been a lifelong pursuit for her, but it’s a big part of Beverly’s life now. She took it up about a decade ago after her husband passed away. “I was looking for something to do.” She visited an Old Home Days festival in New Hampshire and was drawn to the type of art she does now. “It was primitive and I thought, ‘Oh my, that’s nice.’”
She took lessons and started practicing. “Sometimes you do something and it doesn’t work,” she says. But regardless of the results, she was enjoying herself, so she kept painting. She’s a painter only, not a designer and happily purchases designs from other artists on which to wield her brush.
Of the pieces accompanying this article, the cutting board with the rooster on it was designed by Rosemary West, a Certified Decoration Artist(CDA)from Lubbock, Texas; the whale weather vane, the rustic whale sign, the cradle, and the painted stool shown here were designed by Cynthia Erekson of Quilted Acorn Shoppe in Newbury, Mass.; and the curlew on the slate was designed by Anne Hunter of The Creative Touch of Marlboro, Mass.
It’s only been in the last few years that Beverly started selling pieces. Now she paints two to three days a week in a basement studio, and once a month with the Tole ‘N’ ME chapter of the Society of Decorative Painters in Bangor. “If you have an appointment, you can’t go and paint for a few hours because you’ll forget what you were going to do.”
When she pulls herself away from the brushes, she likes spending time with her family, including two grandchildren. And she’s dedicated to scouring yard sales for the next object of her artistic affection. She sells her pieces in various places, but her show at the Jesup is her first official solo exhibit.
“I just want people to look and enjoy it,” she says.