Lea Wait here. I’ve just gotten home from one of the major Signs of Summer in my family: the first official opening at the Stable Gallery in Damariscotta, where my husband, Bob Thomas, shows his work.
A household containing both a writer and an artist (“two ways to starve,”) one of my friends once drily put it, does have its challenges. But it’s also a lot of fun. We both work at home. Bob’s studio is downstairs, in our ell; my study is upstairs. Many days we only see each other for meals and sleeping, or when one of us needs a little encouragement or emotional support. I give him feedback on his paintings (“Really? Another orange one?”) and he’s my first reader. (“Don’t you think that character should slug somebody in Chapter 5?”) We share champagne when a manuscript or painting sells. Bob comes to as many of my talks and signings as he can. I go to his openings. We even have buttons to show our pride in each other’s work.
In the summer Bob spends a lot of time at the Stable Gallery and the Gallery becomes one of the centers of our life. It’s a special place. Officially a co-op gallery, it’s run by ten artists, of whom Bob is one. But it doesn’t just show their work, as some co-op galleries do. Each spring it also juries in the work of about 30 other artists and high-end craftspeople, making it a destination for customers looking for Maine-made furniture, painted silk scarves,
rugs, jewelry, pottery, wooden wares, or stone decorations, as well as paintings and sculptures. Located in a real Victorian stable on Water Street in Damariscotta, the inventory is changed out once a month, and each changeover is celebrated by a Friday night opening with home-made food, libations, and live music.
Tonight was the first opening: the theme was “Re-energize.” Kevin James (who’s also one of the artists who shows there – Maine people are versatile!) and Wally Warren provided the music (rhythm, guitar, dulcimer and vocals,) and Bob and my contribution to the food table was my salmon mousse.
The artists have been at the gallery for the past couple of weeks, chasing out winter spider webs,
painting stands for the new season, inventorying work from the artists and craftspeople as it came in, and readying the gallery for the summer. One of the artists (thank you, Mary!) takes care of the gardens around the Gallery, which become showcases for sculptures. Tonight it all came together. The weather cooperated, more than 150 friends and customers, old and new, appeared and bought paintings, jewelry, and home decorations and promised to come again and bring their friends, and suddenly it really felt like summer.
If you get to Damariscotta this summer, stop in. The Gallery’s open from 10-5 seven days a week until mid-October. Openings are Friday nights, June 15, July 13, August 17, and September 14. And they’re wicked fun.