Michéle O’Keefe has been working from her studio on Vinalhaven, Maine since 1993. The artist’s work exudes a nostalgia for early mornings on the water and life on the islands off the coast of Maine.
O’Keefe uses copper plates to draw, etch, and ink her scenes before sending it through her in-studio press. Her hand colored etchings capture moments of calmness — like rowing out on still water at dawn, idle row boats on rocky shores and the sun reflecting off filled sails in the afternoon.
“The working waterfront, the resilience of island families, the beauty of the environment, or perhaps a magnificent seagull, all come to the fore in my work. To treasure, document, and preserve glimpses of what makes this island unique, motivates the choice of my subject matter and my art,” O’Keefe said.
O’Keefe draws inspiration from print makers at The Haystack School of Arts and Crafts, The Engine House Press, and the Vinalhaven Press.
“The process of incising a copper plate with a drawing, etching it, inking the plate, is often very time consuming. But, to send it through the press-and get a unified, cohesive image on the other side, is simply exhilarating,” the artist explains. “The press unlocks endless possibilities for future work, and allows a richness of color, and variation of line that is seductive."
O’Keefe’s work has been shown at the New Era Gallery in Vinalhaven, the Archipelago in Rockland, and at the Hopkins Wharf Gallery in North Haven, Maine.