“When he paints, colors explode on Vincent Hartgen’s canvasses like fireworks on a rainy night, brilliant bursts of red, yellow and orange against a wash of green, streaks of black or a splash of diluted red.  He sees a Maine tide pool in winter and turns it into a handful of gems, wet and glistening. A heavy, evening snowfall on the red leaves of a burning bush looks like tufts of cotton hanging from thin crimson branches against a soft blue-green sky.

With a pen and ink, black and white, Hartgen reveals a different side of his muse: intimate portraits of the Maine landscape, so richly detailed you can see grains of sand and the rough edge of a worn pebble. You can almost rub your fingers over a slick of ice, its deep blackness interrupted by as frozen bubble, caught layers below the surface….

In ‘The Goshen Trees,”…softly curving lines make these three dead trees, each five feet wide and one hundred feet tall, startlingly delicate. Longing and sadness are woven into the intricate markings on these gentle, giant trunks. ‘The first time I saw them, I wept, these gentle giants, dead…They were covered with moss and lichen and lovely little flowers at the bottom. There were these little bouquets, almost as if some wood nymph has rushed out of the forest and put them there.’….Nature and its elusive beauty have inspired Hartgen for eighty-six years…Whether he’s painting or drawing, sketching or studying, there are still endless things to document, endless colors to see. Art is his life’s vocation and he still has  work to do.”

~ Kristen Andresen, “Drawing on Experience, Bangor Daily News, 2000



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