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The Maine Attraction: Alice Gao’s Coastal Paradise

Summer in Maine by Alice Gao
8"x10" ($24) | 11"x14" ($60) | 16"x20" ($240) | 24"x30" ($1,200) 

Alice Gao finds Summer in Maine majorly inspiring, and she’s in good company. There’s a long tradition of artists spending their summers in our northernmost state. From Fairfield Porter to our own William Wegman, Maine seems to have a magnetic pull for many artists seeking scenic inspiration, solitude submerged in nature, or a warm respite when the weather is right.

With pine trees as far as the eye can see, rolling hills, jagged cliffs and more coastline than California, it makes sense that Maine has earned the epithet “Vacationland”. For NYCers like us, the drive is long, but if you can suck it up, Maine makes for a quintessential summer city escape—gorgeous hiking trails, seaside retreats, picturesque beaches, and more seafood than you could stuff in your face (though we encourage you to try). Gao has made a career of traveling to and photographing striking destinations. That she would find herself drawn to coastal Maine comes as no surprise.

This particular image really feels like Labor Day weekend—something about it calls to mind the last hurrah before summer officially comes to a close. That’s likely got a lot to do with the uniquely northeastern landscape and how cleverly Gao captured it. The clear blue water and wide ecru stretch of sand are dotted with waders, but the sliver of forest behind them is surely an unexpected beachside feature to anyone unfamiliar with the New England coastline. Here, the summer season is short, but makes up for its brevity in breathtaking scenery. The dark green tree line seems to say carpe diem—cooler weather is on the way.

No doubt this is part of Maine’s special magic—it’s full of moments of fleeting beauty. Gao gravitates toward these moments, and from her distanced vantage point the crowd becomes part of the terrain. New England never looked so good. 

P.S. Keeping an eye on the U.S. Open? Don't blink or Kellen Hatanaka's Grand Slam will be gone.

With art for everyone,
Jen Bekman + Team 20x200