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Mitch Billis

Mitch Billis

Mitch Billis

Boothbay Harbor artist Mitch Billis loves to paint Maine and Italy. In both places, he finds the flower-draped porches, snug harbors, and time-worn buildings that attract his keen eye.  Billis sees life as a continuum of learning: “If you are being honest about what and how you paint, learning to see keeps on forever.” His own life is testimony to this idea of continual learning.

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Boothbay Harbor artist Mitch Billis loves to paint Maine and Italy. In both places, he finds the flower-draped porches, snug harbors, and time-worn buildings that attract his keen eye.  Billis sees life as a continuum of learning: “If you are being honest about what and how you paint, learning to see keeps on forever.” His own life is testimony to this idea of continual learning.

As a young boy in Frankfort, New York, Billis loved sketching the people and objects around him, but his family discouraged him from choosing art as a career. With painting always in the back of his mind, he earned degrees successively in engineering and mathematics.

After eight years as a math professor, Billis reached an epiphany while participating in a painting workshop: “In the first 10 seconds, when I saw those colors start to blend, I knew that painting was what I wanted to do.” He dropped everything, packed his life in a U-Haul and his four kids in a car, and moved east to begin his career as an artist.

Not many would have succeeded, but Mitch Billis did. Today Billis is one of the most recognized and recognizable artists in Maine. Along the way, he has mentored many young artists, including his wife, fellow artist Kathleen Billis.

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