Work by Jonathan McPhillips.

Camden Falls Gallery will kick off its 2023 season with “Homecoming, Spring Launch,” a two-person exhibition featuring works by Jonathan McPhillips and Jay Brooks. The show opens during Camden’s Third Thursday Art Walk on May 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. and will run through June 12.

The pairing of works by these two artists and friends adds a new dimension of what one might expect from the singular efforts of an artist after long winter hours spent in the studio.

Over the past three years, McPhillips and Brooks have developed a deep friendship and artistic relationship that has led to a more synergistic approach to their working methods. Having first met at Cape Ann Plein Air competition in 2019, they became fast friends with a mutual interest in each other’s work, techniques and outlooks.

The friendship took off with a flourish only to be sidetracked in 2020 with the challenges of the pandemic. Texts and phone calls soon merged into video calls, which, over time, turned into full daily virtual painting sessions. These sessions provided shared inspiration and solace, whether discussing hot topics of the day or exploring the intricacies of their craft. Their virtual painting sessions were filled with passion, creativity and energy.

McPhillips hails from Rhode Island and describes his work as “contemporary impressionism.” He is known for his impressionistic radiance in daybreak and dusk paintings and his ability to capture the shimmering glow of flickering lights in his nocturnal scenes.

Work by Jay Brooks.

Brooks lives in upstate New York and has the unique ability to create magical images culled from everyday life. He starting painting at the young age of 14, under the classical apprenticeship of John Piesley and the plein-air instruction of Charles Movalli, a disciple of the late Emile Gruppe. After receiving his BFA from Carnegie-Mellon University and his MFA from Columbia University, he painted the industrial environments of Pittsburgh and New York City before returning to his bucolic roots in upstate New York, where he taught high school art for over 35 years. Since retiring from teaching, he has enjoyed the freedom to expand beyond his studio work and again enjoy the camaraderie and immediacy of plein-air painting.

“From the bustling streets of Camden to the dramatic shores of Acadia National Park, their artwork is a celebration of Maine’s unique culture and natural beauty,” says gallery owner Howard Gallagher. “Whether you’re a local or a visitor, you’ll be captivated by the vivid colors, bold brushstrokes and expressive compositions of these two talented artists. Don’t miss this chance to experience the creative synergy of Jonathan McPhillips and Jay Brooks, and join us for an evening of art, conversation and celebration as we kick off our season with this remarkable exhibition.”

Camden Falls Gallery, located at 5 Public Landing in Camden, will open for the season in mid-May. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Call 207-470-7027, email [email protected], or go to for more information.

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