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Maine artist to demonstrate portrait painting during exhibition at Presque Isle library

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Mark and Emily Turner Memorial Library’s Akeley Gallery will welcome Westbrook-based artist Katharina Gifford for an exhibition on Friday, June 14, that will feature many of Gifford’s works as well as a special demonstration of portrait painting.

Gifford will debut her exhibition titled “Figures and Objects,” which will feature numerous oil paintings and charcoal drawings, most of which are portraits of individuals.

Gifford describes her work as being part of “traditional realism.” She regularly teaches courses on figure drawing and portrait painting at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland and states that her biggest influences are “the old masters, contemporary artists and the Maine environment.”

“My first influence growing up was my grandfather, Charles Gifford Sr., who was a painter and art framer. He showed me how to observe and draw,” Gifford said. “His studio was in our house growing up so I got to see his process and materials.”

During the exhibition opening, Gifford will demonstrate how to create a portrait painting by painting the portrait of a volunteer from the community. Clifton Boudman, artist-in-residence at the Mark and Emily Turner Memorial Library, said that an individual has volunteered to be Gifford’s subject.

“She’ll take everyone through the process of painting a portrait step by step,” Boudman said. “It’ll be fascinating to watch her explain how she paints.”

Boudman noted that this will be the first time that Gifford will present an exhibition in Aroostook County, and the first time that the library has featured a portrait artist.

He became aware of Gifford’s artwork through his wife Judith, who is an associate lecturer in social work at the University of New England in Biddeford. Gifford is an administrative assistant for the university’s social work program.

Gifford was raised in midcoast Maine and has studied at the Maine College of Art in Portland, Florence Academy of Art in Florence, Italy, and holds a degree in art history from the University of Southern Maine. She said she is looking forward to visiting folks in The County and sharing her process as a painter.

I thoroughly enjoy the painting process and seeing the work unfold. When seeing other painters’ works I love trying to figure out how they got there,” Gifford said. “My hope is that other people will be able to understand my works better by seeing my process in person.”

Gifford will open her exhibition at 6 p.m. on June 14. “Figures and Objects” will be on display June 14-Aug. 30, at the Presque Isle library. The public will be welcome to view the exhibition during regular library hours.

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