Christine Labaree

Scarborough, Maine
I grew up in midcoast Maine, learning to love its sights, sounds and scents, hiking through pine forests, paddling on pristine lakes, walking the rocky beaches with birds darting and diving and salt in the air. I missed it all when I went off to college, moved elsewhere in New England, and eventually lived in northern California for a decade. But Maine has a way of staying with you. I’d always visit several times each year but 2020 and COVID convinced me it was time to move back…home. Truth be told, I picked up a brush for the first time five years ago. I’d done some ad and page design for newspapers in high school and college and took a semester of digital photography years later, so I had an interest in the visual arts. But when I first put paint to canvas at a local paint night event I found myself lost in the moments and something just clicked for me. I drove home vowing to take the eye I’d developed for light and composition with photography and learn to paint with oils. I initially trained with a Bay Area artist specializing in portraits and still life who encouraged me to enter some of my early paintings in the Fine Arts Galleria of the San Mateo County Fair, which attracts more than 125,000 visitors annually. My still lifes placed first in category both years I exhibited, but I found my heart was really in landscapes. I began training with Ray Mendieta, a professional artist with over 20 years of experience teaching landscape and seascape around San Francisco. During my time in California, I kept strong ties to Maine as well as Massachusetts, where I also lived for a dozen years. I’ve done several week-long immersions in plein air painting with experienced artists through the Coastal Maine Art Workshops which inspired me to paint more rural and coastal scenes. I also began studying with Peter Bain, an accomplished Boston area artist and instructor whose work embraces the life and light of everyday scenes around him. Peter and Ray remain mentors to me today. Now that I am living in Maine again, I am building on my foundation of landscapes and seaside scenes with snowscapes, working to capture the dynamic light and shadows on fallen snow. I’m also revisiting seasonal still life and expanding my repertoire into palette knife painting, a new favorite. When I’m not painting, I am consulting and coaching for the biotech industry, enjoying good food with my husband and wandering the trails and beaches of Scarborough with my dog.