This exhibition is evidence of Alison’s intense curiosity about the natural world. She spends hours seeking tiny plants and animals out on the shore or in the woods, and observes some under the microscope. She uses paint to express her deep affection for these little components of biological diversity, and to share a largely unnoticed part of our world. See more at

 Artist Bio:
Alison C. Dibble, Ph.D., of Brooklin ran a consulting firm (Stewards LLC) and was employed on the faculty of the University of Maine in Orono where she taught and researched forest ecology and native bees. She retired in 2020 to pursue her interests in painting, fiction writing and songwriting.
Her earliest art instruction was with her mother, Barbara S. Coan, who studied at the Art Students League in New York, and had a loose bold style. When she was a teenager Alison attended the Boston Museum of Fine Art School summer program, and was accepted into their full time 4-year program, but chose instead to pursue a B.S. in English Literature with an Art minor. She started a family, then with her husband Keith’s gracious help, went to graduate school at the University of Maine and earned an M.S. in Botany and a Ph.D. in Plant Science.
Alison has been painting in oils since about 2008, when she took classes with Louise Bourne (Sedgwick). Since then she has had instruction from other fine Maine artists including Marsha Donahue (Millinocket), Frank Sullivan (Littleton), Jerry Rose (Sedgwick), and Olena Babak (Hartland). She benefited from 2-day workshops taught by Donald Demers (Boothbay), and by Tom Curry (Brooklin). Alison likes to surprise herself every time she picks up the brush, and paints a wide range of subjects. She gets particular pleasure from painting landscapes outdoors year round, sometimes on snow shoes.

Six paintings on display at the library until October 2nd- but on our website into October!

Microscape I
Liverwort Blasia pusilla
Alison C. Dibble

Microscape I by Alison C. Dibble
“These tiny plants (less than 2 inches across) can be found in early autumn in the middle of my driveway, in a low spot. Elsewhere I have seen them at the side wall of a vehicle rut in a peaty blueberry field. A dark green color is indicative of the presence of blue-green algae. The odd little bottle-like structures are where the gemmae, or tiny star-like clones (see a few at the edge of leaf in upper left), are borne. I could not make this up!”


Microscape II
Peristome teeth on the capsule of a moss and spores 
Alison C. Dibble
Oil on canvas, 24″x30″

Peristome teeth on the capsule of a moss and spores oil on canvas by Alison C Dibble
“Peristome teeth enable the moss capsule to be closed or open, depending on the air conditions. The spores are held inside until the teeth open, then they can be shed out into the breeze at the forest floor. Here we are looking through a wet mount in which a glass cover slip is over the plant material, which in turn is in a drop of water on a glass slide. The light comes through from the base of the microscope, and the magnification makes this perspective possible.”

Microscape III
Tortella tortuosa
in and out of focus
Alison C. Dibble
Oil on canvas, 24″x30″

Microscape of Tortella totuosa painting in oranges, yellow and grea
“The moss bears a capsule in which the spores are produced. Ahem! It is twisted (hence “tortuosa”) in the most engaging way. You could see it with a hand lens, but here I have two capsules under the microscope and only one is in focus.”

Microscape IV
Usnea strigosa, a lichen
Alison C. Dibble
Oil on canvas, 24″x30″

oil on canvas in greens and blues
We consider ourselves lucky to live here in Brooklin where we have clean air and moisture conditions that allow many lichen species to thrive. After a wind storm, we might come upon Usnea strigosa, a species of Old Man’s Beard, that blew down from the trunk and branches of hardwoods. The odd plate-like structures shown in this painting are the apothecia, in which the spores are produced.”


Microscape V
Marine worms
Sand builder worm (Sabellaria vulgaris)
and Coiled tubeworm (Spirorbis spirillus, S. borealis)
Alison C. Dibble
Oil on canvas, 24″x30″

Oil painting in blues and browns with yellow and orange accents
“I admit it’s a strange painting. Most people will not relate to it! But these amazing animals are in Brooklin shores, leading their lives. I felt so lucky to find them and eventually figure out what they were. Now and then at low tide I think to lift the rook weed to look under it for the Sand builder worm. I get excited every time I find one. I marvel that the worm can stick grains of sand together and make this delicate structure. Here the worm casing is empty and I have a light shining through it.”

Microscape VI
Bug-on-a-stick moss, Buxbaumia aphylla
Alison C. Dibble
Oil on canvas, 24″x30″

“Mosses are tiny plants. One of my favorites of all mosses is Bug-on-a-stick. It might be fairly rare, or not well understood. But I have found it at the shore of Salt Pond, and at the Blue Hill Country Club golf course, and over in Sedgewick too. The leaves have diappeared by the time the moss is big enough to notice (only about 1 inch tall!), with its single stalk and capsule. Here, I was shining a flashlight through it to reveal the enchanting translucent quality of the capsules. Best time to watch for this: autumn!”