Kate Flora here. One of the best parts of a Maine summer are the art walks–those special nights when artists open their studios and everyone goes from gallery to gallery, admiring the paintings, the sculptures, and the photographs by Maine’s wonderfully talented artists.
We always try to get up to Rockland once a summer, a trip down memory lane for me because Rockland was the “big city” when I was growing up in Union. It was where we went for doctors and dentists and shopping at Senter Cranes and visiting the bookstore. It was where we discovered Andrew Wyeth as kids at the Farnsworth Museum. Now the city is amazingly changed, and art is everywhere. A perfect summer night is strolling and sipping wine, meeting people, and then having a late dinner. artwalkmaine.org/rockland-first-friday-artwalk
Also at some time during the summer, we will get up to Damariscotta, to walk studios and especially to visit Lea Wait’s husband, Bob Thomas, at The Stable Gallery stablegallerymaine.com. Our Stable Gallery nights always put a dent in our purses and deck our walls, because the artists who exhibit there are simply amazing. Last summer’s visit put the notion of owning a new Bob Thomas painting in our heads, and we recently hung it on the wall. Sometimes art has to percolate, but it wouldn’t be summer without something new.
Galleries aren’t the only places to score art, either. Maine’s antique stores of full of treasures, small and large, to fill the empty spaces on your walls. Overthe years, we’ve come home with a lovely, unsigned Hudson River School painting, several small mountains, and a darling little gem that looks like an illustration for a child’s storybook.
But the title of this blog comes from decades of art walks, and from
having two parents who also loved and collected art. So, to whet your appetite for art, and hopefully to send you out to Rockland, or Damariscotta, to Belfast or to Portland, to find something great for your walls, here’s a
sampling of what I see when I walk through my own house.
One of the treats of walking my own “gallery” is knowing the stories of how each piece came to live with us. There are the paintings my father and my great aunt Kate, after whom I was named, did, including a painting of my grandfather fishing. There are the pictures that came back from Europe when my father returned from the war.
It isn’t just paintings, either. When I cleaned out my mother’s house, I found a stunning photograph by Neal Parent that he had signed and given her as a gift. My photo of his photo won’t do it justice, but it is so amazing that I never pass it without pausing and wondering how on earth he took it. Where he was standing when he took it and how it didn’t come out a huge blur. You can ask that question yourself when you visit his gallery in Belfast. www.nealparent.com
At the summer art shows that used to be a regular at Library Hall on Bailey Island, I first encountered Lee Hargadon’s photography. A friend bought one of her pictures as a cottage-warming present. Later we bought another one, and still later, when I was one of the editors at Level Best Books, we bought her photograph of boats in the fog in Mackerel Cove to use on the cover of one of our anthologies.
Art. A way to bring a piece of Maine home to savor all year long. It doesn’t have to be lobster pots or sunsets or a stand of rugged trees. It can be whatever speaks to you.