Project 20/20 is an artistic journey along the Maine Island Trail traveled by artist Matthew Russ. The Trail, a recreational water trail connecting over 200 wild islands and coastal sites along Maine’s coast, is maintained by the Maine Island Trail Association (MITA). Throughout the spring, summer and fall of 2020, Matt will visit 20 sites on the Trail and create an original 20”x 20” painting during each visit. Follow Matt’s journey, view the paintings he produces and interact with Matt’s experience on the Trail along the way.
As Matt travels Maine's waters and creates new paintings from 20 spectacular Maine Islands, we will continually update the 20/20 offerings that you see below. If you see something that interests you, click through to inquire or call us directly at 207-956-7105. So please come back often to check on Matt's progress along the Trail and to view his newest Project 20/20 paintings.
Maine. Maine is my birthplace and home. It is also my spiritual center.
Inspiration. The acceptance of change is instrumental to my work. I always paint in the field, where nothing is constant. Weather, light, and color are always in flux.
Medium. I was introduced to oil paints in my first painting class at Colby College. I would discover that these paints were perfectly suited to field painting, where fluidity and flexibility is an essential match to nature.
Artist Hero. Growing up in Cape Elizabeth, it was hard to avoid the spirit of Winslow Homer, who painted on nearby Black Point in Scarborough. He taught me that it is a worthy and romantic endeavor to express beauty through painting.
Studio. I maintain a studio on the second floor of an old building in Waterville, but I paint almost entirely outdoors. I have an old frame-pack that I use to carry a foldable easel into often-remote painting locations. I return to a single location for five separate sessions, creating a series of paintings exploring a range of conditions.
Where in Maine. I have lived in Watervile, on the banks of the Kennebec, for over twenty years. From my home in central Maine, I’m quickly at Belgrade Lakes and the mountains to the west. Eastward, I’m close to the Camden Hills and Penobscot Bay. And to the north, there is Baxter State Park and Katahdin. To the south, are my childhood home of Cape Elizabeth, and Richmond Island, a recurring subject in my paintings.
Fun Fact. I underwent a complex spinal surgery to address a congenital curvature of my spine. This was a scary experience for a 7th grader, but the recuperation period had powerful effects that still inform my outlook, and my artwork.
Study. While in high school, I was taught by Celeste. Celeste impressed upon me that art is a serious calling worthy of post-secondary study. I attended Colby College, where I majored in studio art with a concentration in oil painting. During my junior year, I studied abroad in Ireland at The Crawford College of Art & Design in Cork City.