MANCHESTER — Judith Schuppien’s paintbrush was on Great Wass Island this weekend, while she was at Longfellow’s Greenhouses.
Schuppien was one of some 30 artists with their works on display, and for sale, at Longfellow’s Cabin Fever Art Show, an annual opportunity to be surrounded by art and plant life while large overhead heaters blast down warmth in the depths of winter.
Schuppien, a Pittston resident who has painted all her life, other than a 15-year or so hiatus as she worked in computer programming, paints outside in the summer, but for obvious reasons not in February.
So she didn’t hesitate to take the opportunity to put paint to canvas Saturday and Sunday, working on her painting of the rocky coastline of Great Wass Island on an easel in the back of her display of paintings.
“It’s nice to be in a greenhouse in February,” said Schuppien, who missed last year’s Cabin Fever Art Show, but said she’s brought her art to the show for 10 years. “It’s a nice show, the people are nice, and you get to see your neighbors.”
Dolly White, of Readfield, visited numerous artists’ booths Sunday with her daughter, Becky, a junior art student at the University of Maine in Orono.
“We’re here, like the name says, because of cabin fever,” White said. “The weather has been horrible, so it’s nice to get out. And Becky wants to see other artists’ work, to get inspired.”
Scott Perry, of Farmington, a former freelance photographer for the Associated Press and former Maine Times, displayed numerous landscape photographs, including two of downtown Gardiner, other area downtowns, and a spectacular panoramic shot he took from Baxter Peak on Mount Katahdin.
He said he goes to Baxter and shoots photos whenever he can. He said he favors downtowns with old building facades and features, such as Hallowell and Gardiner, but also sometimes picks a spot because, frankly, a photograph of it is likely to sell.
“Local images sell best,” he said. “People form that connection with their town or a favorite place.”
Scott Longfellow, owner of Longfellow’s, said the annual show has taken place for somewhere around 20 years.
He said it gives artists a place to display and sell their work at a time of year when there isn’t much else going on in Maine, brings foot traffic into his business, and gives shoppers a break from winter and a chance to walk amid plant-related items, art and crafts.
“It’s amazing how it stuck,” Longfellow said of the event, an idea of his retail manager at the time. “Yesterday was the biggest day we’ve ever had for this event. The weather broke so the sun was out, it was in the 30s, everybody was happy.”
Longfellow said the greenhouse where most of the artists were gathered is usually empty this time of year anyway. Come April, workers will start filling it with plants and related items.
He said the greenhouse doesn’t charge artists to display their items, but there is a waiting list for artists to participate.
Self-taught Augusta artist Cynthia Baird displayed her jewelry, hand-painted canvas tote bags and hand-cut clay refrigerator magnets and pins with her husband, Steve.
“I like one-of-a-kind things, they’re all original,” Cynthia Baird said of her refrigerator magnets, which included sea horses, octopuses, sea birds and human faces.
She said she loved the atmosphere of the greenhouse art show and plans to return next year — with an accomplice in tow.
“I’m working on a four-foot mermaid at home,” she said. “You can come see it here next year.”
Keith Edwards – 621-5647 [email protected]