Morgan Cameron’s winning submission for the annual Common Ground Fair poster contest almost didn’t make it to the judges in time to even be considered.
Luckily, she made it to the post office with just seconds to spare for it to be postmarked and sent into the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association under the deadline. Last week the Gray artist learned her drawing of a raven perched on an old fence post and eating blackberries had been selected for the organization’s 2022 Common Ground Fair poster.
Cameron, who grew up in Dover-Foxcroft, said she’d been wanting to enter the annual contest for several years.
“I saw the ad for the contest over the summer,” she said. “But then I kind of forgot until a friend sent me a reminder that there was only a week or two left to enter.”
Cameron, who normally works in oils, rushed out to purchase the colored pencils she needed for the submission project and got to work.
“It took me about a week and I was literally putting the finishing touches on it on deadline day,” Cameron said. “I was the last one in at the post office at the end of the day and they closed it up right behind me.”
Her submission, titled “Raven With Blackberries,” was judged by staff and representatives with MOFGA and unveiled as the winner during the group’s annual meeting last week.
“I was very surprised and extremely grateful,” Cameron said. “I knew common ground was a big deal in Maine, but did not realize how big until the poster was announced.”
Cameron has attended Common Ground Fair in the past and is aware that the annual posters become iconic images associated with the event. She feels incredibly humbled to now be among those artists.
“Everyone we know has a poster or a t-shirt from past common grounds,” she said. “We know people who have parents who have collected posters from every year.”
The idea for the drawing came from her lifelong love of ravens and memories of time spent on her grandfather’s farm in Dover-Foxcroft.
“My grandfather was born and raised on that farm and there were fields of blackberries,” Cameron said. “For both of us, those berries were a favorite and combining a raven with blackberries felt very ‘Maine.’”
Cameron said she has been drawing and painting animals for as long as she can remember. She attended art school for two years after high school and then struck out on her own exploration of painting.
“When I was a kid I had horses and loved them more than anything and drew them all the time,” Cameron said. “Grandpa had a cow and always had dogs and cats and all the critters.”
Cameron shows her work in galleries in Colorado, New York and at the Elizabeth Moss Gallery in Falmouth where she also works and will have a show in September.
In announcing the winning poster, MOFGA officials noted that ravens are a common sight on farms and homesteads in Maine — and wherever blackberries are found. Because of that, it’s a fitting selection for the fair’s annual celebration of rural living.
Due to the pandemic, the 2020 and 2021 Common Ground Fairs were held online. MOFGA is expecting a live, in-person event Sept. 23, 24 and 25 at the fairgrounds in Unity.
Cameron’s design will appear on Common Ground Fair memorabilia available for purchase at the fair and online through MOFGA website.