AWARD OF EXCELLENCE: Drying Sails in Camden Harbor

We’re very pleased to announce that “Drying Sails in Camden Harbor” by Brad Betts was selected for the AWARD OF EXCELLENCE at the 38th Annual International Marine Art Exhibition at The Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport.  The award recognizes paintings that are “outstanding examples of creativity, insight and integrity in marine art.”

“Drying Sails in Camden Harbor”, 24×18, oil on canvas


From our campsite in Camden Hills State Park, we climbed partway up Mount Megunticook, down a ravine, up and over Mount Battie before descending the boulder-strewn south face into town.  After miles of hiking through the dark confines of the woods, we now walked in neighborhood streets past old homes and the local library to a lawn overlooking the bustling harbor. A green schooner glided to a wharf, its red sails glowing against the blue sky. Sailboats coasted in the narrow aisles of water between the floats, painted buildings lined the wooden docks and people hurried by in all directions.  We were taken by the beauty of the scene and a sense that time had stood still: we had entered a world unchanged since the 1800s. We were neighbors from a nearby village, traveling into town to sell our wares, stock up on dry goods or simply hear the latest news.

Maine Coastal Villages

We moved to the Maine coast after falling in love with East Boothbay, a small, quaint village to the east of Boothbay Harbor.  We now know that “visit once, stay a lifetime” is a common reaction to our beautiful area!  Midcoast Maine encompasses miles of coastline and each peninsula is sprawling and diverse, with village settlements of unique character and history.

Beginning in 2017, Down East Gallery is offering an annual poster series to celebrate Maine’s coastal villages.  Each high-quality poster is 24″x36″, fits a standard poster frame and features an original painting by artist Brad Betts.  $75 + S&H/tax, these posters can be purchased by contacting Brad at the gallery: or 207.318.3282.


“Keep the Light Burning”, a fundraiser for Burnt Island Light

Burnt Island Light is a special destination for our family: a place we go to swim, picnic, walk the paths and shoreline, enjoy the gardens and just relax. It is also a place where we bring our guests to share a piece of maritime history that defines our region.

I am proud to be one of the many artists who donated paintings and volunteered their time and talent to help support the renovation of Burnt Island Light. We are fortunate to have this resource in our community.

My painting “Island Daisies” (below) sold at the auction, contributing to the $33,500 raised for Burnt Island Light that evening!  You can still support Burnt Island Light by purchasing one of the available Burnt Island Light paintings, currently on exhibit through the summer at Down East Gallery in Edgecomb, Gleason Fine Art and the Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce.

Morning on Monhegan, 1898


“Morning on Monhegan, 1898” has been selected for a national maritime show at the Copley Society of Art. Juried by John Stobart and Russell Jinishian.


May 20 – July 6, 2017

COPLEY SOCIETY OF ART, Upper Gallery, 158 Newbury Street, Boston, MA


“Morning on Monhegan 1898”, 11×14, oil on linen

Camden Harbor


“Camden Harbor” has been selected for the America and the Sea exhibition at The Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport.

April 29 – June 18, 2017

The Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport, Mystic, CT
“Camden Harbor”, 11×14, oil on linen

In the Harbor

Returning to the harbor on the Casey Anne, I was inspired by the bright blue lobster boat against the backdrop of the colorful buildings and lobster wharves on the east side of Boothbay Harbor.

blue-lobster-boat-in-the-harbor_web“In the Harbor”, 9×12, o/l

2016 Holiday Special!

Down East Gallery is pleased to offer a Holiday Special for 2016!

20% off all original, framed artwork… click here to view Gallery of Holiday Special Paintings.  Special lasts until December 31, 2016.

Midsummer Sail“Midsummer Sail”, 11×14, oil on linen


A Good Place to Fish

“A Good Place to Fish”, 24×24, oil on canvas

A-Good-Place-to-Fish_web“A Good Place to Fish” will be exhibited in the 37th Annual International Marine Art Exhibition at The Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport.  The exhibit runs October 1 through December 31st, 2016 in Mystic, CT.


Down East Gallery works with homeowners and interior designers to create custom artwork to best fit your home and style.  Contact the artist for more information!Cosmos“Cosmos”, 36×36, oil on canvas.  This painting hangs in the colorful master suite of a circa 1900 cottage in Ocean Point, East Boothbay, Maine.

Art Room CollageInterior designers at Knickerbocker Group featured art by Brad Betts in one of their beautiful homes. “The eye-catching and one of a kind chandelier is the highlight of the room. Accented with hand-painted watercolor sailboats from local Maine artist, Brad Betts, a few shades were left blank so the young resident artists can add their own touch over time.”

Winter Surf on Ocean Point

Winter Surf on Ocean Point, 9 x 12, oil on linen, en plein air


When I’m not sure what to paint, I often drive around Boothbay looking for inspiration.  On this late February day, the winds were howling and the surf was roaring, and it was the challenge of plein air painting in these conditions that inspired me.  An unexpected issue was brought on by the colder temperatures… the paint was thicker and much harder to move around the canvas, which surprised me and forced me to adapt from my normal style of painting.

Ice on Great Salt Bay

“Ice on Great Salt Bay”, 12 x 16, oil on linen, en plein air


I painted “Ice on Great Salt Bay” this winter on January 28th, a beautiful and unseasonably warm day.  Driving through Damariscotta, I saw the warm marsh grasses against the cool snow and ice-covered bay.  Fortunately there was a trailhead with easy access on DRA’s Salt Bay Preserve.


Carlton Plummer awards Brad Betts an Honorable Mention for “Cottage on the Cove”

At the closing ceremony for Boothbay Harbor Fest 2015 “A Stroke of Art” event, I was very excited to receive the Honorable Mention for my painting “Cottage on the Cove”.  The award was given by juror Carlton Plummer.


My painting, “Morning Shimmer”, was also a part of the exhibition, held at Harborfields in West Boothbay Harbor.


Carlton Plummer, left and artist Brad Betts, right, at the exhibition.

Carlton and Brad Betts.JPG

Boothbay Farmer’s Market

This painting, “Boothbay Farmer’s Market”, was created as part of a Quick Draw, where each painter had only 2 hours to compose, sketch, paint and complete their painting.

Goranson's Farm Stand

The Quick Draw was one of many events put on during the Boothbay Harbor Fest 2015 “A Stroke of Art”.  It was inspiring to work among such a diverse and talented group of painters from all over the country.  

For more information on Boothbay Harbor Fest or the Annual Stroke of Art, visit their website at: Boothbay Harbor Fest

Tradition and History Commemorated on Canvas

Thank you to the Boothbay Register for featuring my 2015 commemorative Windjammer paintings! Read the article:

Tradition and history commemorated on canvas – Boothbay Register.

Reprint from the June 18, 2015 Boothbay Register:

Brad Betts oil on canvas
Brad Betts’ “Lazy Jack Cruising the Harbor,” 6 by 8-inch oil on canvas. This painting, and those of the six others attending the 53rd Windjammer Days Festival, are on display at the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library in Boothbay Harbor. Betts is the Artist of the Month at the library through June 29. See these and other works by the East Boothbay-based artist.

East Boothbay artist Brad Betts has had a connection with the sea, old sailing vessels and maritime scenes. That connection was nurtured during his years growing up on the Gulf coast. Betts has a passion for history, particularly the fishing industry, so it too is a oft visited theme flowing through his works.

One of his recurring subjects is the Ernestina-Morrissey, now at the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard for restoration. It has long captured his eye and imagination. As a Gloucester fishing schooner, its fine lines are undeniable, but its many “lives” are fascinating. In addition to being used for fishing, it has been an Arctic research vessel, transatlantic packet schooner and finally, an educational venue. This is a vessel Betts was drawn to.

“This is a special schooner to me, as I have used it as a subject in several maritime paintings shown at the Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport’s International Exhibition,” Betts said. “But many are not aware that the well-known ‘Man at the Wheel’ statue on the Gloucester waterfront commemorating those lost at sea is Captain Clayton Morrissey, one of her original captains. When I heard (Ernestina-Morrissey) was going to be in Boothbay Harbor, I knew I had to paint her again.”

After the artist learned Ernestina-Morrissey was one of the seven vessels in this year’s Windjammer Days festival, he was compelled to paint all of them to commemorate their journey here.

“I decided to paint each ship within a local scene,” Betts said. “As a maritime painter, I’m continuously amazed by the changing character of the ocean and waves, and I tried to represent that in each small 6 by 8-inch painting. For instance, the Ernestina-Morrissey is gliding by Burnt Island Light under sunny skies and a light wind.”

Betts depicts Bowdoin, another vintage vessel now used as an educational venue, approaching Cuckolds Light, Alert rounding Damariscove Island, Eastwind passing Ram Island Light, American Eagle sailing off Ocean Point, Heritage passing Squirrel Island and Lazy Jack here in the harbor.

All seven paintings are included in Betts’ current exhibition at the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library as its Artist of the Month through June 29. Each sells for $600 with 20 percent to be donated to the Friends of Windjammer Days in support of the festival. The 6 by 8-inch paintings will be framed and can be purchased directly from Betts at 207-318-3282 or

Mark Gimbel, of Friends of Windjammer Days, said everyone in the organization were thrilled to hear of Betts’ idea.

“We love that artists are inspired by the beauty of the Windjammers that attend our festival,” Gimbel said. “We also thank Brad for his generosity in making a contribution to our nonprofit organization.”

Betts’ inspiration to create these colorful paintings didn’t begin and end with the vessels; he is a fan of the festival that brings them to the region.

“We’re fortunate that members of our community rallied together to form the Friends of Windjammer Days to keep this great tradition alive,” Betts said. “I felt inspired to do something to help and hope it raises awareness of our fascinating maritime heritage.”

“Heritage Passing Squirrel Island “Schooner Alert Rounding Damariscove Island” 6x8 Oil on Linen “The Bowdoin Approaching Cuckolds Light” 6x8 Oil On Canvas American Eagle Passing Ram Island” 6x8 Oil on Canvas Eastwind Sunset Cruise” 6x8 Oil on Canvas “Ernestina-Morrissey Passing Burnt Island  6x8 Oil on Canvas



Painted this week in Portland in the Old Port, just beyond J’s Oyster Bar.  I’m always drawn to this particular spot, a remnant of working waterfront in a beautiful growing city.  I was looking for a human element, something to bring this painting to life, and just then a guy came out and threw bait in the water.  The birds came off the rooftops… chasing after the bait.










Back in the Day, Somes Sound

“Back in the Day, Somes Sound” is a 30″ x 40″ painting commissioned by the Gallery at Somes Sound.  Basing my work on a circa 1900 black & white photograph, I wanted to bring life, color and light to this historic scene.  After visiting Somesville and studying old photographs, what amazed me the most was how much of this scene still exists today.  Painting and researching an historic moment in time is always a fulfilling journey… it creates a deep connection with the people and places of the past and it changes your view of the present.

Back in the Day

Back to the Islands

“Back to the Islands” was selected by jury for the 31st Annual International Marine Art Exhibition at the Mystic Seaport Gallery, Mystic, CT.  This annual show celebrates the timeless beauty of the sea in the most comprehensive exhibition of contemporary marine art in the world.

Back to the Islands by artist Brad Betts
Back to the Islands, 16″x20″, oil on canvas by artist Brad Betts