Before he was an assistant attorney general or a defense attorney in Somerset County, John Alsop devoted himself to painting and studied art at Colby College.

“I don’t really consider myself an artist. I just paint pictures,” said Alsop from the small studio he has attached to his Cornville home and filled with canvases, painting tools and finished paintings.

He began painting as a child growing up in Connecticut and continued to pursue his love of art as a student at Colby, where he majored in art, graduating in 1974. He also minored in history, which led him eventually to apply to law school and earn a degree from the University of Maine.

Today Alsop is an assistant attorney general for the state of Maine, working in the homicide unit of the criminal division. He continues to make time to paint and has been featured several times in the Maine Open Juried Art Show, which is underway at the Waterville Public Library. Alsop won third place for an oil painting he entered in the show.

Last year, another painting by Alsop, “The River Men,” which depicts loggers on the Kennebec River, was named Best in Show.

He says he doesn’t think of himself as an artist, but those who know him and have seen his work disagree.

“He was always inquisitive and curious,” said Abbott Meader, a local artist and Alsop’s teacher at Colby. “When he went into law, I thought that’s what’s won out. That part of him has won out. But the other part of him, the aesthetic, the visual and artistic side, was evidently always in there.”

An aquaintance of Meader’s mentioned that he had seen some of Alsop’s work on display, and Meader, who now owns two of his paintings, said he was glad to hear that his former student had continued to paint.

“He’s developed into quite an excellent painter,” Meader said, adding that he would describe Alsop’s work as traditional. “Maybe it goes with his sense of being a lawyer. A lawyer in the best sense is a conservative in the sense of conserving what keeps society functioning: the laws and rules and judgments that keep things together.”

“He’s always too humble,” said Alsop’s wife, Janice Stuver. Their home, a big white farmhouse, is filled with paintings, many by Alsop.

The garage, which connects the house to the studio is filled with more paintings and includes a secret wall that unfolds to create a small gallery.

“It’s good to be creative,” Alsop said. “At work, if I’m putting a case together, you need to be creative in a way. So in some ways, these things do go together.”

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

[email protected]

Twitter: @rachel_ohm

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