Yarmouth painters display lifelike water work at the local library


Ann Mohnkern has lived in a house on the banks of the Cousins ​​River in Yarmouth for 40 years. She and her husband spend their summers on a small island in Casco Bay.

“I can sit and look at the water for hours,” says Mohnkern, 73. “It’s imprinted in my brain.”

Nevertheless, it was only much later in her life that she came up with the idea of ​​transforming this fascination into creativity.

Mohnkern, a self-taught painter whose oil-on-canvas work draws heavily on seascapes, recently installed an exhibition at Yarmouth’s Merrill Public Library. It can be seen until May 13th.

Her first exhibition was in 2006 in the same library. She had recently taken an introductory course at the Maine College of Art & Design and was amazed at how quickly it went. Since then she has been painting.

Early on, she submitted one of her paintings for an exhibition at the American Society of Marine Artists. When it was selected, Mohnkern said she was “down to earth.”

“I was such a beginner, you know,” she said.

Ann Mohnkern, “One Hand” Photo by Jay York

Now her work has been featured in museums across the country, including the Biennale at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport in 2010. She currently has pieces exhibited at The Gallery at Somes Sound on Mount Desert Island.

In her studio, Mohnkern, who is now retired but was the deputy general counsel for insurance company Unum in Portland for years, paints primarily from photographs, some of which she manipulates in Photoshop to arrive at the aesthetic she seeks.

“I can take pictures and crop and stretch and change the color or bring in other elements and experiment and get ideas on how or what it should look like,” she said.

Occasionally she also works outdoors. Her pieces are incredibly lifelike, almost like photographs themselves, but with more texture. In the 20 years she’s been painting, Mohnkern said her approach hasn’t changed. Even their Portland cityscapes often feature seaside buildings.

Ann Mohnkern, “Return to Port” Photo by Jay York

“I live on the water,” she says. “It’s all I’ve ever wanted. That stimulates my imagination.”

It’s not just the water that inspires, it’s the movement.

“The water is fascinating because it is heavy. It has weight, so it’s always moving in some way, but it’s moving in a way that has a wave motion. Everything you see is connected to something else.”

Ann Mohnkern, “See you tomorrow then (thanks for today)” Photo courtesy of the artist

She is also drawn to painting water in Maine because of the dramatic change in color. Sometimes the water is green from the plant matter underneath. Sometimes it’s blue when the sky is reflected, but a different blue than clear tropical ocean water. Her pieces are contemporary and historical at the same time.

Though she’s now a professional artist — she’s sold dozens of pieces — Mohnkern said she’s not one to spend eight hours a day in her studio. Instead, she works in blocks of time when inspired. In 2020, with so many things shut down because of the pandemic, Mohnkern barely painted.

“You would have thought I would have taken that time and been productive, but the world has been so distracting,” she said.

This winter, the opposite was true, although she admitted that the library’s exhibition deadline probably motivated her. She said a little downtime would probably do her some good anyway.

Ann Mohnkern, “Quiet” Photo by Jay York

In addition to the seascapes that have become a trademark, Mohnkern has recently created several pieces depicting sea rocks and ledges, sometimes with water, sometimes without.

“I do this with a palette knife and apply the paint like I’m glazing, like a kid,” she said. “Then I add it and move it further.”

The current exhibition includes more than 30 paintings in two galleries of the library. They cost between $1,500 and $6,000. Mohnkern said she has a very different feeling now than she did 16 years ago when her first exhibit went up.

“I’m calmer,” she said. “I have much more confidence in my work.”

Use the form below to reset your password. If you have submitted your account email, we will send you an email with a reset code.

” previous

Next ”


Comments are closed.