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randomly selected

Posted by Maria Castellano-Usery on May 17th, 2017

It’s been a while since I’ve done a “random art” themed post, so maybe it’s time! Here is a little collection of some cool things I’ve seen while I’ve been out and about. Is it art? What is art, anyway? You be the judge…in the meantime, I’ll keep my eyes open for more unexpected visual treats!


Here’s a much-needed message posted on Congress Street in Portland…



…and a public service announcement at the Four Aces Diner in West Lebanon, New Hampshire!



Many street signs in Portland are pulling double duty these days: part traffic control, part canvas! Here’s an assortment:









Have you seen the funky figure hiding in the shadows on the mall in downtown Brunswick?



There is random art for all tastes, whether you prefer pizza…


…or carrots…


…or bananas!

banana on roof


Finally, this utility box in Portland has a message I can get behind: CREATE!



If you enjoy random art, I suggest you check out Acts of Random Art on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook!

playing with paint, part two

Posted by Maria Castellano-Usery on May 3rd, 2017

Last fall, I hosted a four-week series in the library’s basement called “Playing With Paint.” It was so well-received, they asked me to come back and do it again for the month of April!


Each week, our group focused on a different painting by a different artist: Vincent Van Gogh‘s Sunflowers was week one, Jackson Pollock‘s “Convergence” was week two, Georgia O’Keeffe‘s Red Canna was week three, and Marc Chagall‘s “Blue Circus was week four. I would begin each class chatting about that week’s artist and why they were so important, and then the focus would turn to fun. My hope was for people to have a good time, to enjoy the experience of putting paint onto canvas, and to gain a new appreciation for art and artists. Thankfully, that is just what happened! Here are some photos to give you a sense of what the classes were like:



pwp sunflowers      pwp sunflowers 2

pwp sunflowers 4     pwp sunflowers group 2



pollock pwp       pollock group

pwp pollock       pollock mcnallys


“Red Canna”:

PWP red canna        pwp red canna group

pwp red canna 2        pwp red canna 3


“Blue Circus”:

chagall pwp      PWP chagall

pwp chagall 2        pwp chagall 3


I’m grateful to Curtis Memorial Library for offering this opportunity, and I’m thankful for Sarah Brown (and library volunteer extraordinaire, Ellen!) for making sure every class went as smoothly as possible.


Were you a part of “Playing With Paint”? If so, how was your experience? Please let me know in the comments!



photo credit: Chris Tucker

winging it

Posted by Maria Castellano-Usery on April 19th, 2017

On Friday, April 14th, I had my seventeenth Brushstrokes With Impact ™ “Paint-a-Thon,” and this time around, the host and the cause were one and the same: Curtis Memorial Library! I set up my easel in the front lobby (along with a “pop-up” show of my work) and painted from 9:30am to 5:30pm. During that time period, I met some new people, I had a lot of interesting conversations, I got paint all over myself, and – oh yeah – I started and finished an 8″ x 8″ acrylic painting (entitled “Books Give You Wings”)!


cml pop up

my pop-up show


As always, the helpful, friendly staff at Curtis Memorial Library made me feel very welcome! I didn’t stop to take pictures of my progress, but Digital Services Librarian Mike Gorzka was kind enough to document the day’s events (thanks, Mike)!  Here’s the video he shot where I discuss my mission for the day (boy, I sure do talk with my hands a lot):


photo credit: Mike Gorzka


Thanks to everyone’s support, together we were able to raise $102.50 for Curtis Memorial Library. In case you were wondering, the winner of “Books Give You Wings” was Heather Goulette of Monarch Massage! Heather is a dear friend (as well as a collector of my work), so it’s nice to know that another one of my paintings will be going to a good home. Yay!


books give you wings

“Books Give You Wings”: finished!