Bar Harbor poet collaborates with painter on art and poetry exhibit

Bar Harbor poet and photographer Martha Andrews Donovan

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Poet and photographer Martha Andrews Donovan, an instructor at College of the Atlantic, spent three years collaborating with her longtime friend, painter Tracy Baker-White, on a project that became Light, Sky, Land and Edges: A Collaboration Between Painter and Poet. This exhibit is now on display at the Wendell Gilley Museum through Oct. 30. 

Using one of Andrews Donovan’s photographs of a coastal or forested Maine location as initial inspiration, the two picked up paintbrush and pen to interpret what they felt and observed. Baker-White rendered the scenes in oils while Andrews Donovan distilled her reaction into poems that accompany each painting. 

Andrews Donovan is a published poet, award-winning essayist and a teacher of writing. After many years teaching writing at New England College in Henniker, N.H., she now teaches writing at College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor. She’s also a photographer who made a decision in 2016, when she moved to Mount Desert Island, to photograph something beautiful every day.  

“There is such beauty, such wildness, here on this island where the sea pounds out its story and I scramble over granite and the changing light, the changing days pull me in,” said Andrews Donovan.  

Painter Tracy Baker-White.

Baker-White devoted herself full-time to painting after a long career in art museum education. Her paintings focus on the landscapes of Maine, the Berkshires in western Massachusetts where she lives, and France. She has exhibited in juried exhibitions in Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Missouri, South Carolina, Wisconsin and Rhode Island, and her work can be seen in Maine at the Gilley and the Gallery at Somes Sound. 

There will be an online event with the two artists on Saturday, Oct. 9, beginning at 7 p.m. The event is free but registration is required at 

Conversation at the End of the Day 

By Martha Andrews Donovan 

How quiet the end of day, the leaning 

in to hear the soft voice of the other – 

the water meeting the wharf, the flotsam  

and jetsam of clouds spilling into night. 

The sailboats are turning toward each other – 

such tenderness, such stillness, at the end. 

The land teaches us this: listen closely. 

Can I be as still as this hushed evening?  

I hear the sound of yearning in the sea. 



Photos (like the one above) taken by poet and photographer Martha Andrews Donovan serve as inspiration for her and painter Tracy Baker-White (painting below) for their collaborative project now on display at Wendell Gilley Museum.

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