Frederick is ‘Inspired by Belfast’

Nov 03, 2017
Linden Frederick

Belfast — Left Bank Books, 109 Church St., will host fine art painter Linden Frederick for an illustrated talk titled “Inspired by Belfast (and Other Maine Places)” Friday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. Focusing on Frederick’s latest project, “Night Stories: Fifteen Paintings and The Stories They Inspired,” the program will be held at the First Church UCC, at the corner of Spring and Church streets (just across from the bookshop) and is free and open to all.

Just published last month, “Night Stories” is an extraordinary collaboration between Frederick and 15 of the country’s most acclaimed novelists, playwrights and screenplay writers including Richard Russo, Anthony Doerr, Elizabeth Strout, Dennis Lehane, Ann Patchett, Tess Gerritsen, Lois Lowry and Louise Erdrich, among others. Nine years in the making, the project grew out of Frederick’s curiosity about the number of writers who were collecting his art.

As he explains in the book’s preface, he wondered what it was that they connected to so strongly, and whether an exhibition of new paintings “illustrated” by their stories could be a way to honor that connection. We are accustomed to art illustrating fiction, he writes; could the process work the other way around? Frederick raised the idea with novelist and fellow Mainer Rick Russo. In short order, 14 other celebrated writers also signed on, each agreeing to write a gem of a short story to accompany a painting.

Frederick’s paintings are rooted in small-town America, and they are instantly recognizable. Narrative landscapes or sensitive scene paintings, they are sometimes described as representing “stage sets” to which the viewer can bring his or her own story. His process is to paint a detailed study before starting a painting; his finished canvases typically measure 3-by-3 feet. For “Night Stories,” he completed 15 such studies, invited each author to choose one and then began his own work to complete the paintings, a process which took two years.

The full set of 15 paintings has just been shown at the Forum Gallery in New York City and at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockland. Friday’s program will be his first event in Belfast and will focus mainly on local scenes. Originally from upstate New York, Frederick has lived and painted in Belfast since 1989.

There is no charge; however, advance reservations are greatly appreciated. “Night Stories” will be available for sale and signing at the event, as well as at the bookshop in advance. To reserve a seat for the talk or signed copies of the new book, contact Left Bank Books at 338-9009 or; or stop by, as the shop is open daily.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or

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