Ivan Rasmussen grew up on the coast of Oregon where ART was a part of his life from the time he put pencil to paper. He was encouraged by his mother at an early age. His high school art teacher was a major influence in his early training. His formal training was at the Museum Art School of Portland, Oregon which was started in 1909 then renamed Pacific Northwest College of Art in 1981.
In 1970 he traveled from Oregon to Maine with friends from art school to start the communal pottery, Cherryfield Stoneware, in Cherryfield, ME. Some of the pottery artists began showing work in Bar Harbor. At that time Ivan became interested in a new institution, College of the Atlantic, that had just started in Bar Harbor. He helped set up the college pottery and taught evening classes.
Ivan started a pottery gallery, Cone 10, located beside the historic Bar Harbor Criterion Theater. Later he put together a proposal to buy a building on Bar Harbor’s Main Street that became Island Artisans. He was charter president of the artist-owned coop but later sold his share to the remaining artists and set out on his own.
He and his wife, Sherry, have promoted the ARTs through the gallery and studio spaces they have owned on the Bar Harbor Waterfront since 1976. They were presented the “Acadia Arts Achievement Award” in 2014 and in 2015 were “Grand Marshals” for the “ART in America” themed July 4th parade. Ivan has demonstrated and taught in MDI festivals, ART Walks and Open Studios. While he has produced clay sculpture, decorative and functional pottery, etched glass, lampwork glass, and stained glass, he returned full circle to his formal art training in painting. Recent work has been Maine landscapes and seascapes as well as studies of crows, great blue herons, koi, shorebirds and endangered Maine Spotted Turtles.
In 2013 after years working daily at Alone Moose Fine Crafts, he joined a small group of friends showing their collective work as ART on West on the Bar Harbor Waterfront, under the ART sign. That collaborative effort has allowed him summer time paint on location. You might just see him painting near his VW camper van. Locally, in addition to his own gallery, he has shown work in Southwest Harbor, Northeast Harbor, Belfast and Bangor.
Ivan’s original watercolor, “Summer Visitor”, was painted for the 2016 Acadia Centennial Celebration and approved as an official centennial painting. Since his original watercolor was purchased by a local collector, Ivan is pleased to have created a limited edition of 500 high quality individually signed prints to benefit “Friends of Acadia” in its efforts to protect Acadia National Park for the next 100 years.
“Summer Visitor” was painted at Otter Cove near the spot where in 1850 artist Frederic Church painted his “Otter Creek, Mt. Desert”. The artists of the 1800’s were responsible for the introduction of Mt. Desert Island to the wealthy rusticators who eventually built summer homes on the island. Those same families eventually founded what is now Acadia National Park.
It is fitting during the 100th Anniversary of Acadia in 2016 to celebrate the island’s contemporary artists.
“Summer Visitor” can be purchased late May-October at Ivan’s gallery, ART on West Gallery, 78 West Street, on the Waterfront, Bar Harbor for $125. He can be reached at vacation@barharborwaterfront.