Radio Maine Episode 28

Ann Trainor Domingue

Artist Ann Trainor Domingue, and her eight siblings, grew up in the oceanside community of Barrington, Rhode Island. There is little doubt that her relationship with the coast and devotion to family have informed her artwork. Ann’s paintings are unmistakable, offering her own distinctive depiction of family and working life on the New England waterfront. In this free-ranging interview, we talk about her childhood camping trips, her husband’s childcare business--and the impact of COVID-19 on that business--and pay homage to children’s book authors Eric Carle and Tomie Paola, as well the poetry of Mary Oliver. You’ll learn why Ann is beloved by collectors and Portland Art Gallery artists alike in today’s Radio Maine Interview with Dr. Lisa Belisle.

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Hello. I'm Dr. Lisa Belisle and you are listening to, or watching Radio Maine. Today I have with me artist Ann Trainor Domingue. Thanks for coming in today. 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

You're very welcome. I'm happy to be here. It was a lovely drive too. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Well, you came all the way from New Hampshire, correct? 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

Yes, Goffstown, New Hampshire. It's a little over two hours from here. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

So that means we're pretty privileged that you were willing to make that trek. 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

Oh, we happily always enjoy coming to Maine. It doesn't really matter where we go. We've done a lot more exploring over the last few years since I began my participation in particular with Portland Art Gallery. So it's been wonderful to explore new places for us. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

What is your Maine connection? 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

Let's see, I have a sister that lives in Brunswick. She’s lived here now for quite a number of years. So we visit back and forth that way. And then prior to that, in 2015 or so, I was searching for another art gallery to represent my work. And I discovered Portland Art Gallery and gave that a try. And then from there on it's really kind of expedited and sped up our visits to Maine and our frequency and just discovering more and more. I think many years ago I was here.  Our family was a camping family and we camped at a couple of places in Maine. Primarily we were in New Hampshire and Massachusetts at that time. But it's always a curious thing, and I love the sea coast and where I live now in New Hampshire, there's 14 miles of waterfront on the ocean, so it kind of pushes me over to Maine, and it's a very different kind of location even than New Hampshire’s coastline. And, it's been just fun to explore ever since. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

So I'm fascinated by the idea that as the oldest of eight children, you were a camping family. 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

Yes. And actually it's nine children. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Oh that’s right!

Ann Trainor Domingue:

So that's one worse or better, depends on your point of view.  But that was a reasonable expense way to vacation. So, my dad was a boy scout. My mother was a girl scout leader.  They knew all this kind of scouting stuff.  We lived in a fairly rural area where we did live, so the outdoors was very familiar to all of us kids and camping was just a really fun thing to do. We went with other families too, at a little place in,  I can't remember,  Wareham, Massachusetts just before the bridge. Had a wonderful time, fresh water lake. And we knew the campground really well as kids because we were allowed to just go, come back at a certain time, you know? And, so it was great. It was very economical and all of us kids, we set up our own tents. We were actually quite a gaggle and a lot of the people who were at the campground enjoyed watching this whole setup happen with everybody bursting out of a van and a trailer with all supplies and all the girls putting up the girl tent and my parents putting up the other tent and stuff. So, yes, we were quite a sight, but it was fun. It was really a fun time. Good memories. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

How many boys? How many girls? 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

 Start out with a boy and five girls in a row and four boys at the end. So I have four of each, sibling-wise. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

And you got to be kind of the ringleader of this, posse. 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

Yes. This big clan and it was just an automatic, just a natural thing to happen. My mom was having babies and that just seemed pretty normal for us. And, my brother didn't quite seem to be as interested. I remember myself being more interested and I just helped her as I could, you know, whether it was changing diapers or entertaining or reading or singing songs or doing artwork. And it just went from there. So, and as my other sisters got a little older than they were also pitching in, there are some pretty funny family photos of me allowing my younger brothers and sisters to do things to me and with me and help me stand on my head. And there's one holding one leg and one holding another. I mean, there's some really, really interesting things. My father is an amateur photographer, so he pretty much always had a camera in his face. So there's a lot of interesting things captured on film.

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

As the oldest of 10 kids, I remember reading the book Cheaper by the Dozen, which became a movie. And certainly there was the chaos of Cheaper by the Dozen. And that's something that I could absolutely relate to. Our family didn't try to go camping though.

Ann Trainor Domingue:

Hmm. No, I think that was a pretty brave thing to do, but like I said, my mother was, I think from childhood a real energetic, I'm going to do what I'd like to do as a, was she the youngest? No, she wasn't the youngest and her next youngest sibling was six or seven years younger. So, my mom got herself into some pretty good problems and situations and stuff. So, I think that part of her carried down to a lot of us as siblings and stuff. So it's a wide variety of styles and whatnot between us all.  

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

You grew up in Massachusetts and Rhode Island?

Ann Trainor Domingue:

Yes. For the first part of my life, I was born in Fall River, Massachusetts, and then lived in Swanzey, which is a fairly rural community. At the time we had a little Cape house that my parents had purchased along with 42 acres of woodland field, that kind of thing,  which we explored, and stayed there for my young years. I was there for 12 years. My parents were there probably closer to 15 years or so. And then the school system in that particular town really was dramatically changing. They were doing a double sessions kind of thing, which is kind of a nightmare. When you think about it and you've got nine children, one was a baby and the others were kind of young, but you were still trying to manage the schedule of five and six kids in a school system. And my parents were like this is so not going to work. 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

So they opted out and found a nice big, three story older Victorian style home in Barrington, Rhode Island, which is a big boating and waterfront community. And we all moved there and the whole caravan of kids and activities, and the neighborhood was thrilled that there were so many kids coming into the neighborhood and then off we went and that just began then, you know, a different kind of living in life and waterfront and that kind of thing. It was really an awesome experience, still a lot of outdoors stuff, just in a very different way.

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

The water features heavily in your work now. 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

It absolutely does.  A few years ago I had consulted with a friend of ours who was a marketing person for other large companies. And, I was already in marketing and advertising, but I wasn't my own client then. So it's simple in some cases to see how it should work for somebody else, but for yourself, it's like, I don't know. And so he just helped me clarify so many things. He'd asked me a question and I would give him an answer. He was like, oh my gosh, you should know this. I'm like, I know, right. But I need somebody to tell me this because I really am having a hard time looking at myself, trying to discover what the answer is. So through all of this back and forth with him, I just settled on that. I'm going to do coastal life related work.  And that just clarified a lot of things for me because originally I think I thought, oh, I'll do a little of this or a little of that. And then kept reading and learning that you need to try to settle into something so you can, you know, discover some depth in it and really follow a thread through for a longer period of time. So now it's been a long period of time and I still find it kind of fascinating, I'm finding different aspects of water related things to work with. And I'm not tired of it yet. So, I think over the last year and a half, it got a little more difficult to find that thread and stay on that path.  So I stepped back a little bit and just let my random mind work for a little while, like give it some play time and then go back and see if maybe I discovered something in that playtime that I could finally find that thread again and start moving ahead. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

So in the last year and a half, meaning during COVID, was it something about the kind of the shift in the culture and what was going on outside? 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

Yes. There were so many things up in the air that even for me and I normally am a fairly patient person and I'm able to kind of move with things and possibly be allowed to sway and do things when I really shouldn't. I should have stayed on that track a little longer, but it's what I refer to when I teach some classes and stuff, it's like these shiny objects out there in the world that are really beautiful and they are really spectacular, but you should not go there because you are going to derail yourself. And I did that numerous times, which was part of what we were chatting about earlier about getting off track and then trying to find your way back again. So I did that several times and through this whole COVID thing,  I found it easy at first to go to my studio and do some work, but our family business also is a big issue in our life. My husband owns, manages, is the top, go-to person through that, and that occupied a lot more space in my head and heart through that as to wondering, is there really going to be something there by the time this cultural shifting, besides a virus issue, all of the other things that were going on at the same time as they're really going to be a thing left to rely on, hold onto. So, yes, it was really difficult. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

What is your family business?  

Ann Trainor Domingue:

It's a childcare or early childhood center. In normal conditions, it would have about 95 children in there. And of course that’s all of their family members and, you know, parents and stuff that all have to be dealt with. So I am a person on the outside of that. My husband has his own staff and a building in Manchester and it's been there for over 40 years now. So he had the building built at that point and has run and managed the thing all the way. But just when we were thinking of it like, oh, let's think about what would retirement look like? You know, all of a sudden this big thing happens like, whoa, okay. I guess we're in this for the longer haul now let's see and help manage this thing through. Every small business was having trouble. So, we just kind of worked our way through it and worried like other people and signed up for things like other people were signing up for. And now we're somewhat on the other side of it, although this lovely variant thing it's coming around. So now we're going to have to ride this out too. So now we'll have to just wait and see, but it's been a great business for him to run and have, and it's allowed me to develop my art side. And, yes, there were just a lot of things about having him do his business and me do mine that made some interesting interactions. And he's learned a lot more about working as an artist, being an artist. And I've learned a lot more about running a business and it's like, what do you mean such and such isn't going to happen? Like it's business. It's what happens.

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

What do you think that he has learned about you being an artist? 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

I think just how dedicated I actually am. And actually when he's at work, if I'm still in the studio the entire time he's been at work, so have I, and it's just kind of a shocking realization sometimes, you know, that I left you at 8:30 and you were still in that building. I was like, yes, I know that. And I did not realize that much time had gone by, as he comes rolling in the driveway. So,  I think basically that's it,  I think he sees maybe more of the little detail kind of things that I key in on, or that I find important. I do a lot of sketchbook work as some folks know about me. And every evening, while we're sitting either watching a ball game or doing something, I am always in my sketchbook, either making ideas or sketching, little thumbnails for a painting, or just trying to find that thread. So I still hold on to that despite all the other things that might be going on in life and his work and our family and that kind of thing. I find that that juggling and holding on to that thread without being distracted too much.  That's the hard part for me. So I don’t mind the work, I love the work. I love my little studio space, but life just gets really, really hard to stay on track sometimes. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Well, I don't know if this is true for you and your experience with being in a large family, but I certainly felt like that would often take precedence for me or my own stuff was making sure that my brothers and sisters were okay and that the family was running well. And it's funny that that kind of care for everybody else around me  kind of continued into my adult life and my professional life. I mean, it just gets very, you get very patterned. And so that maybe sometimes for me, takes away from my ability to go more inward and be more creative and kind of tap back into what is truly only me and not the people around me. Does that resonate for you? 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

I definitely think so. So you went into a career that was very people oriented and that's how I started my career because then I began doing things for other people as I had been used to doing pretty much most of my life, but in college, and all nine of us by the way went to college, graduated college. There's a veterinarian, there's realtors, there's marketing, there's teachers, there's, you know, engineers in the family. So everybody accomplished something really nicely.  But for me, I didn't realize this until much later, I was always the caregiver and a helper. I would help other people. And to this very day, I'm not happy in the spotlight.  But if I wanted to be an artist and if I wanted to explore that about myself, I needed to be able to do that. College taught me a lot of the rudimentary. It was a foundational art program at Rhode Island College. And they had visiting people from RISD teaching there at the time, which I didn't realize. But they also had their own staff. So I learned a lot of the basics. This is how you do it. This is how these tools are used. I felt completely green as far as the first drawing one class, like holy cow. I did not know that, so I had a lot of learning to do. Design class, I loved design class. And then I was eligible for work study jobs at college, and I found a work study job in the office of  publications. And that started me into graphic design. So then I was still doing work for other people. And that led to a 35 plus year career in graphic design and doing design for other people. So I would do some things for myself. Like I had to establish my own freelance business at a certain point. I did that alongside full-time work, and I did other kinds of things. So I was doing the work for myself. And then when I really wanted to, I kept saying, oh, well, I could paint. I'd go to outdoor shows like, wow, I could actually do that. And my husband's like, okay. So on Christmas, I actually painted him a painting. And I put it on the wall and he's like, you did that? I'm like, yes. And, from there on out, he was pleasantly surprised. And then it moved on to where more and more of my life became “let's see if we can't get you into working as a painter and put your things out there”. So that's what happened. So now I finally have some sea legs and I understand so much more about the business and stuff now. And about myself and how to let myself come out in things like this painting. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Let's talk about this for people who are listening to the podcast. Describe this piece. 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

This piece,  I'll just talk about the shapes involved in it. It's a very flattened perspective. There are very defined shapes of some iconic figures that I've developed over the years. I have this iconic fishermen idea going and some features about them, mostly men, but I do have women fisherpeople in my other paintings and stuff for different reasons. And some of the details of what their work tools are like and their working locations. So it would be a lobster boat, but a classic lobster boat shape. Their grundens in different colors. The suspender shoulder straps. There are things that suggest piers and wharves and water and a circular kind of a shape representing sunlight and light and other things, kind of a classic seagull shape. And in this particular one, there's a series of fish. And then there's a mermaid just hanging out by the pier offering a seagull or just holding up a seagull toward the fishermen. And both of the guys are just kind of looking at her and I don't know what's going on there so you can make up your own story. So I just thought it would be a really fun thing. If I brought the muse of a mermaid into one of my paintings, how would that shift, what is going in the piece? So it certainly did. So I'm actually a little surprised that this painting is still around.  I don't think it got as many eyeballs on it in the past,  that a couple of other few other ones that I've done,  but this one is kind of a favorite one for me. And in a way it's kind of nice that it's still around. So, because it's a few aspects of it that kind of pushed me into something a little bit different. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Well, and in fact, the mermaid looks a little bit like you. 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

Surprise, surprise. Yes. I was thinking of that and my little granddaughter who has this foot long, I don't know, it's probably almost 20 inches, long pile of wavy hair and stuff at the time. It might've been about three years or so ago I think I did this piece. So it was something a little like that. Bringing your family into it and bringing a little bit of a storyline, but not the whole story. I'm careful about not completing the circle as far as offering people something in a painting. I've tried to allow the viewer to actually find something in my work. And it's happened several times in a really stunning way. Sometimes people will look at a particular piece. Very recently earlier this year, someone walked into one of my galleries looking at a smaller piece and just burst into tears and left the shop. And so then the shop owners were like, Ooh, wow. And then she came back in and she was composed. And then she came over and told them the story of why that particular piece struck her that way. And the shop people then told me the story and I was just blown away. So what I do, if I allow someone in, like, I don't complete the whole story, I don't, I make fuzzy passages. I make things that are incomplete. I mean, my figures are not accurate anatomically, I get it. I did a ton of life drawing, I know that. But what's more appealing to me is these other kinds of Matisse-like cutout shapes,  that all interlock and work together,  and just allow people to put themselves in there and then they feel some ownership of the piece. And that's enough for me. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Is this a story that you feel like this person would be willing to have others hear? 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

I think so. Just in a general sense.  She had lived near the waterfront and had a younger brother who passed away in a drowning accident while fishing off and on a boat. And, she just has been having such a horrible time trying to get through this. And I believe it was at least 15 years ago, if not more, maybe 20 ish. And this is a grown-up person and she just saw this piece and the sensibility that she got from it at first obviously shook her. So she walked outside and then came back in and then she did buy the piece. And now it hangs in her space and along with two other kind of companion type pieces, but she created her own ending to a story that she had had such a hard time with. And the fact that I have several of these notes and letters, my husband and I joke, it's like, when you get things like that, I think you need to pay a little more attention to that. 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

And I'm like, I know, but they're going to make me cry. I get that, I know that's okay–now I know.But to touch that little emotional button for someone else was amazing to think that a piece of my work that kind of looks whimsical and silly sometimes actually seems to be a good way to approach a difficult topic. I think that's at times what my pieces have done for some people, but when you get a note like that, I mean, I've gotten some email notes that are, I'll say 12 inches long. People really just kind of pour out their stories and emotions. It's a gift that I didn't know that I was providing for people, but I'm happy to do it even though I have no idea how any of these are going to strike people while I'm working them in my studio or reworking older pieces that I say need a little bit of a rework.

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

So as you were talking about the works that you do and you use the words whimsical and you use the word silly, I was actually thinking about Gabriela Garcia Marquez and magical realism, and this idea of bringing together worlds that are objectively available to us. And then other worlds that maybe aren't. Bringing those two worlds together, there's something very deep and serious about that actually, that has nothing to do with silliness.  

Ann Trainor Domingue:

I've accused myself of overthinking and another artist calls it over-delivering.  And that in some of my pieces, there are so many opportunities for other pieces to have been developed from that one piece. That's I think what was intended by that. I was unaware that I was actually doing that until someone pointed out to me that, oh, you know, this over here would make a spectacular painting, like okay, good point.  And if I've been doing these things, but not aware of it, now am I throwing a monkey wrench into my own process? I don't really want to be aware of that?   It doesn't seem to be helpful to me because I have done a lot of images that do resonate with people in my own way that I think, which is most times it's almost overly practical, which is I think why I lean on my sketchbook a bit. 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

I give myself a general placement of shapes. That's about all I'm doing. Then I build it from there. I didn't know what any color scheme was going to be on this. I had no idea how that's then gonna evolve. So I wouldn't have been aware of mystical and bringing something else into it. My way of thinking is a little more linear than I'd like to think sometimes, but I actually do have a philosophy light. I think I'm not an in-depth philosophy person, but I do love poetry. And I do love poets that speak from reality like Mary Oliver. I'm horrible at memorizing anything, but I read one of her pieces and I can just sit there and just think about it for a while. 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

I was like, hmm, that would make a really interesting painting were I to take her vibe and what she may have been talking about and what she noticed in life. In her process, I guess she did a lot of editing down from a lot of content to finally get to just those few words. And that's what I've tried to do with my work too.  Over time I've realized that it's not lengthy essays that I enjoy. I really enjoy a good succinct poem. That's really kind of engaging to me. Actually, the imagery that I've been developing in paintings and the way that I distill it down into these shapes is much like logo design for me in my graphic design world. And so I think I'm kind of doing that here. And then I also have had a longstanding curiosity about children's books and writing and design and the illustrations. 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

A couple of my heroes just passed away, Tomie dePaola and Eric Carle–fabulous world known people, but talk about distillation. That's awesome the way that they do it. So I tried to do a children's book,  over the last couple of years and did it in a whimsical, poet style of cadence and whatnot. And now I haven't put the imagery to it, but that would be the next step. It's just interesting how we as artists get our little fingers into our minds and get distracted, but I'm trying to be more selective about my distractions. So I think the children's book imagery stays tightly aligned with what I'm already doing, and then the interest in poetry, and then really, editing down things to their essence and stuff is very appealing to me. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

And children's books are also an example of how you can really get to something incredibly deep and meaningful to a child or to a parent or to anyone who's reading the book on subjects that, if you approach them kind of to their face or are maybe more intimidating, but when you use children's books, you can actually get to things that, you wouldn't otherwise be able to manage. 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

Right. And that really is the charm of it in a positive way, not in any negative way, but yes, and that's what makes a children’s book, and I would be interested in a children's picture book, which is even more edited down to less than 500 words. That's probably the max. And there's a wonderful children's book organization out there.  They give you a lot of information, lots of tips and all of that.  But a children's picture book, the pictures are phenomenal. And generally speaking, none of the words would actually be speaking about what you're actually seeing with your eyes and comprehending. So I love that play, that what you're looking at, none of the words are actually about that. So it's supplementing whatever the picture is trying to do. Or the books have such minimal words, but the activity and the excitement and whatnot of the illustrations are really a major part, the part certainly of a picture book.

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Do you feel like you've gotten to a place in your life where you can, as Mary Oliver has suggested, let the soft animal of yourself love what it loves? 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

Absolutely. I haven't read that she said that, but that would be a really interesting way of putting it. Yes. Because over life things happen and you're protecting yourself and like most people you have this little shell and stuff. Certainly finding my husband and stuff sort of allowed me to be me, in a way that I hadn't had the opportunity to be that. So, he's been a wonderful influence that way. And just having my kids when they were younger and letting them be who they are and do what they want to do uninfluenced by me. They're both very creative, they’re both problem solving types and they will get through what they need to get through. So,  that's been enjoyable and now we're onto the grandchildren and great-grandchildren,  and it's a really wonderful thing. So they're a wonderful influence just reminding us annoyingly of the passage of time and then I'm not so cool.  But, they're really sweet to have. And I just really enjoy the energy and what they bring and they give me things to think about, to bring next into my work as well.

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

I would love it if I had a grandmother who painted the way that you do. Because really the pieces that you do. And I say this all the time to my husband, who obviously Kevin Thomas owns the art gallery, it is like entering into another world. And if I had a grandmother who was continually creating these worlds for me and just acknowledging something that I've always intuitively known, but allowed myself to know more as a child. I mean, what a wonderful thing to have that just verified that what you see may not be what is the reality of this existence. 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

Right. And they'll look at some pieces that I do and they sit there and, and they look at it and I can ask them “so what do you think that it might be?” and then give them the space to say what they think. And inevitably, it's not exactly what I was thinking, which was a good thing, because the point is, I want you to think about it in your way.  And interestingly, just yesterday,  the little grandchildren were in our kitchen and in our kitchen, we have this piece by Julie Cyr and it's this little charming little blonde haired girl with braids of which one of the grandchildren has braids. And she's sitting on a little red chair and she has ducklings in her arms and we had just gone to a little farm and saw ducks and it was all great. 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

And then there are foxes standing along the side and they’re interwoven with the chicks and the ducks. And then all three of them were just like, so why is that fox so close to the ducks? And I'm like, I don't know. I guess that's going to be a story we have to talk about and see what you think about it someday. And like a kid they just wander off and go and do the next thing, but that'll hang in our kitchen for awhile. There'll be back with more questions. I think grownups might even ask questions too, you know? 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Well, the nice thing about being a child is you're allowed to ask questions. When you're a grownup, you might have questions that you feel like, oh, I should already know this stuff and I'm not going to bring it up. 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

Or why would she have that painting in the kitchen? So, but I think it is one of those paintings and it struck me a while ago. So I was happy to be able to purchase it at the gallery. And I didn't have a chance to ask Julie, you know, like why did she put those elements together? And now I can't ask, but I think just making up my own story and I think it struck me in a way that for her too, she didn't have to tell the whole story. You know, the fact that there's open-endedness to art, that's the kind of approach that I use with my work. I'm not sure what pushed me or guided me toward that, but at some point I knew I didn't want to be a hyper realist painter or even a realist painter.  I'll back that down, even another step of a plein air painter, I mean, it's lovely. And you take all the influences and the information from being onsite live and what you see. But for me, there was still something missing. I appreciate the landscape and the spectacular beauty of where we live anywhere in New England. But it just didn't seem to quite do enough. So I took all that information about knowing about color and working with the materials and then putting my element in my take on life and people and situations and doing something that I enjoyed doing, which was working in my studio, not battling the elements outside. That's where I finally had to draw my own line, and do it that way. And my husband made me a lovely studio a few years ago, so would I go anywhere else? 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

I noticed you've got a special piece of jewelry here. Trying to ward off the evil eye I think is what you’re trying to do.

Ann Trainor Domingue:

Is that what you think?

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Well, I don’t know. That’s what I’ve always assumed that was, but what does this mean to you?

Ann Trainor Domingue:

I do a lot of circular things in my work, but I got this long before I was even painting full-time, but it's just something that appealed to me. I'm a blue person, that's my color.  So that's just a little about this, it’s from a League of New Hampshire Craftsmen artist.  So it's just a really nice quality piece and I just enjoyed the blues. So it can be as simple as that, but then this other little piece, which is a lovely green, emerald, that was from my husband. That originally wouldn't have been a color I think I'd have been attracted to, but when you get to go to St. Martin and see beautiful things, it's like, okay, emerald it is. And so that's it. So I love color. I love color in my work. I tend to not wear too much color. I'm a lot more subdued in how I select things. I'll be a little whimsical on some occasions, but it all works. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

And so did you know that this imagery that you're wearing around your neck is meant to ward off the evil eye in some cultures? 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

I think I knew that from way back when, especially in Egyptian, I used to really love hieroglyphics and that eye, and that kind of thing, but I didn't realize that that's what this was. This to me was just a repeat pattern, the circle of the bead, the circle of the color or just a plain old eye. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

So you're wearing a magical amulet and you didn't even realize it. 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

No, I didn't. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Which is wonderful in and of itself. 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

Oh, just one of those reasons that people have so many different reasons to do what they do, to paint what they paint, to be who they are. And it's wonderful that they are all different and have slightly different takes and that kind of makes the world go around. 

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Well, I have really appreciated the opportunity to talk with you today. And, I appreciate you bringing up Julie Cyr too because she is an artist that I think that we at the art gallery and really, probably far beyond the walls of the art gallery have missed since she passed away. She created wonderful pieces of her own right. I always hoped that I would have a chance to have a conversation with her one day, but I think you've brought her back to me today. So, thank you for that.

Ann Trainor Domingue:

You're welcome. We really enjoy her painting. And her. I had met her at the gallery and that was my first take on a really fun, charismatic character and artist. And she just had some great appeal for me too, probably because she would do things or say things or behave in a way that I wouldn't. And so I just found her fascinating and really just too short of a time to get to know.

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

Well, Ann, thank you for coming in today. Thank you for sharing your work with the world.  As I've told you before, I don't know why somebody hasn't bought this piece of art I have in the studio. Maybe I'll have to buy this piece of art. It's pretty wonderful actually. Like many of the pieces of yours that I see on a regular basis that appeal to me in such a significant way. There must be some kind of kindred spirit thing going on there between that and the oldest daughter of a large family that is the helper.

Ann Trainor Domingue:

Right, exactly.

Dr. Lisa Belisle:

I've been speaking with artist Ann Trainor Domingue. She is represented by the Portland Art Gallery. You can find her work on the Portland Art Gallery website and also on its walls. I hope you take the time to learn more about her wonderful paintings, and about her, and possibly join her at a future gallery opening when you're in Portland, Maine. Thank you for coming today. 

Ann Trainor Domingue:

Thank you for having me. It's been great fun.