“Thunderhead,” by Phoebe Bly, oil on canvas
“Thunderhead,” by Phoebe Bly, oil on canvas
When I asked Phoebe Bly how she would describe her work, she started off by saying it can be a way not to use words, but then went on to tell me about the dark and the light. There’s the visual dark and light, but there’s also the image — a pretty scene, but there’s a storm coming, or green trees and lawn but also a watery ditch. 

“I started painting 19 years ago after moving to Islesboro. I had to give up my darkroom in the move, and having no creative outlet, I bought some oil paints to try. I loved them instantly and knew I could easily spend a lifetime working with them and never get bored. Painting, for me, has always been a kind of love note to the world, telling it what I love about it, trying to capture some moment that struck me as particularly beautiful. For this reason my subject matter can vary greatly! I’m self taught and I tend to try and simplify the scene down to the essential elements that drew me to it in the first place. Like good anime, I like there to be a sense of simplicity and calm, no matter the subject,” she said.

There is a timeless sense of place and a kind of reverence  rooted in Bly’s paintings.

Bly owns Granite Gallery in Tenants Harbor, where her own work is on view, along with exhibits of other artists during the midcoast’s summer season.