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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!

Sea Dog, See Art

Posted by Maria Castellano-Usery on April 5th, 2017

My husband Terry and I were at Sea Dog in Topsham recently for a quick, warm lunch. We were sitting at a tall table in the bar area, and my eye kept being drawn to the art all the way across the restaurant in the back buffet room. We decided to investigate on our way out, and we were both floored by what we saw. I was ooh-ing and aah-ing, and I asked the staff members working the room if they knew anything about the artist. They smiled and said, “Yeah, it’s our manager’s work! Isn’t it awesome?” I took a ton of photos (after asking permission) and made a mental note to reach out for more information. A Facebook message to Sea Dog resulted in an email from the artist himself, Seth Hale. Here’s what he had to say about his work:

“I draw and paint in my free time. I don’t do it for money, just myself. All the paintings that are at Sea Dog – I have given away to the staff for free. I will say they represent about 4 years of work. There are a mix of oils, watercolors and acrylics. I put a lot of planning into the image I paint or draw. I try and use photos I’ve taken or a combo of photos for reference. A lot of the time I’ll overlay pics of graffiti and an image of a woman.”

seth sea dog 5

seth sea dog 1              seth sea dog 3


seth sea dog 4

seth sea dog 6              seth sea dog 2

seth sea dog 7


Seth’s show will only be up for a little while longer (“by Easter”), so if you’d like to see his work in person, don’t delay! You can also follow Seth on Instagram@webster746.

it’s the bomb

Posted by Maria Castellano-Usery on March 22nd, 2017

On a recent Friday evening, my husband Terry and I found ourselves at Frontier in Brunswick for dinner and drinks. We weren’t planning on going out (it was shaping up to be a leftovers-and-Netflix kind of evening), but I’m so glad we did. Not only was the food at Frontier great (as usual!), but the current exhibit from Bomb Diggity Arts/The Art Department (entitled “Hollywood Magic”) had me up on my feet and snapping pictures before, during, and after our meal. The walls are packed with colorful, fun, pop-culture portraits that will have you smiling and feeling good in no time. I loved this show so much, I even bought a painting! I’m certainly not alone, though: there were red dots all over the place. “Hollywood Magic” runs through the end of April. Be sure to catch it while you can!


nicki minaj

“Nicki Minaj”


princess diana kate middleton, supergirl, hulk hogan, tim allen   

“Princess Diana and Kate Middleton”, “Supergirl”, “Tim Allen”, and “Hulk Hogan”


 b52s jaws knight rider 3 stooges

“B-52s”, “Jaws”, “Knight Rider”, and “The Three Stooges”


cyndi clawper

“Cyndi Clawper”


lady rock star

“Lady Rock Star”: I bought this painting!