Artist's Statement

Lynne Harwood moved to Maine in '72 to live in the country, grow her own food, and paint rural scenes. In '80 she became a mother and her painting focused on that experience as well. She wrote and illustrated a book for children, Honeybees At Home , which was published by Tilbury House in '94 and received an American Library starred review. She donned a bee lady hat, and took her collection of bee stuff, including a live observation hive, to class rooms around central Maine and down to Massachusetts, New York, and Virginia. Unable to afford health insurance, she took a class in medicinal herbs, and paid for it with drawings for her teacher's book, Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs, by Gail Edwards, which will be published by Ash Tree Books. Lynne has exhibited her paintings around central Maine.

She describes her work: "I want my paintings to describe human experience. In New York City, where I lived for 7 years, and started painting, rectangles were the proper shape to frame everything I saw. In Maine, a lot of what I saw didn't seem to fit into a rectangle. 'What is the real shape of vision?' I wondered. Standing outside and looking toward the mountains, I thought a wide ellipse was right. I also tried circles and found that I didn't like the rolly bottom. 'No wonder people have painted in rectangles!' I realized. We balance ourselves partly with a visual sense of horizontal and vertical. Rectangles provide that balance. Semi-circles, having a flat bottom and an arced top, worked for me as a compromise. Then the arc on top looked to me like arms. I named paintings 'Embracing _____________', whatever the scene. I painted in fan shapes, so that the image points to the viewer. In one I saw the upper arc being like the arms of a symphony conductor and titled the piece 'Conductor of Spring Symphony'. Early in my experimentation with shapes for paintings I decided that I didn't have to make perfect circles or ellipses, that I could get away with almost any shape as long as it had bilateral symmetry, like the human body. I have found many of my shapes by cutting paper folded in half and transferring the shape to plywood. Recently, I had a couple of asymmetrical remainder pieces of oak plywood that looked like hill shapes. I live on a hill and paint hills all the time, so I thought I should give these shapes a try. Though we are quite symmetrical, we experience a lot of asymmetry. We see at various speeds and we see with gesture. I keep working with the shapes in an attempt to give a sense of seeing with my whole body, not just my eyes."