Camden artist Beth Doan's nautical designs bring the Maine coast to life.
By Haylee Scovil
A native of coastal Camden, Beth Doan has a heart wide open to the natural beauty of Maine, which drives her creativity. After moving to Connecticut as a child, she came home and worked for the town of Camden for more than 20 years. She opened her Etsy shop in March 2009 as a part-time business, but since leaving her job with the town, she’s let her handmade art business set sail. These days, Doan is a full-time artist working from her home studio. “It is a lifelong dream come true,” she says.
Doan is a traditional and decorative artist, as well as a supporter of small businesses — she prefers to gather her materials from local vendors. “I have been sourcing my wooden lobster buoys and other wooden surfaces that I paint from Casey’s Wood products in Wiscasset. I source some of my art supplies from Rockport Blueprint in Camden. I have my art prints and notecards printed by Warner Graphics in Camden,” Doan says. “I [even] have my original watercolor paintings professionally matted and framed at Small Wonder Art Gallery in Camden.”
Doan uses watercolor, oil, gouache, and acrylic paints to create her artwork. She is most inspired by the classic elements of the Maine landscape: lupine, blueberry barrens, lighthouses. Doan says her first painting featured a lighthouse, and she still admires the tall towers 40 years later. Doan also finds inspiration on Maine’s coast and rocky shores, so it is no surprise that she collects her own sea glass, driftwood, and shell materials from local beaches.
Doan admits that among all the creations she has sold over the years, there is one special piece that catches her visitors’ eyes time after time. “My hand-painted miniature lobster buoys,” she says. “People just love them! I love them! They have been and continue to be an important part of my success and growth in my business.”
“I have the honor of taking my clients’ visions and creating artwork that evokes memories of time spent with family and friends,” she says. She is passionate about her work because each piece expresses the beauty of Maine with a unique touch. “Whether my canvas is a little miniature wooden lobster buoy hanging from their Christmas tree year-after-year or a fine-art watercolor painting to hang on the wall or a hand-painted note card, I paint their memories.”
Her future plans include painting all of Maine’s lighthouses, along with other beacons along the coast of New England. She also hopes to expand her signature designs of lobsters, lupines, and blueberries into home decor such as wallpaper, pillows, and wreaths, as well as fabric and wrapping paper.