In Maine, art is all around. From colorful harbors that shimmer by day to pristine white houses standing alone near fields of wild blueberries. Artists flock to the region for inspiration, and those of us who love to shop are rewarded with delightful renditions of what artists see and, in turn, share with us. In one day alone, we found three places we’d love to see again in Boothbay Harbor and Edgecomb.
Gleason Fine Art
31 Townsend Avenue, Boothbay Harbor
Perhaps it was the sculpture outside that led us into this attractive gallery filled with local contemporary art, but it was the quality and the artful display of paintings that kept us there. Located in a restored 19th-century farmhouse in Boothbay Harbor, Gleason Fine Art showcases some of the region’s best, and we were drawn in immediately to a scene from Monhegan by Peter Sculthorpe that literally took our breath away. Hanging in the entrance hall, the piece defines what Sculthorpe senses and then shares through art — the dreamlike, almost all-alone feeling you get when you’re in Maine on Monhegan Island. And the painting sets the tone for the Gleason gallery.White walls form the perfect backdrop for the variety you see at Gleason, and you move through the gallery as you would in a home furnished with tasteful Oriental rugs and quality art. We were familiar — well, at least a little bit — with the work of Kevin Beers from our stay at Spruce Point Inn where a number of his clear-colored paintings of the Monhegan Light hang. His paintings inspired us to travel to Monhegan Island (and write a post that we’ll be sharing soon.) Among the traditional colors of Maine homes and landscapes, though, were the fresh, new colors of Henry Isaacs’ work. An artist living in the Cranberry Islands, Isaacs offers a refreshing take on the usual harbor scenes with lively pastel colors and broadly impressionistic brush strokes. Be sure to check out Gleason’s website for more contemporary art as well as 19th and 20th century acquisitions. But if you’re in Boothbay Harbor, don’t miss the opportunity to view (and purchase, too) some of the region’s best art.
Alison Evans Ceramics
93 Townsend Avenue, Boothbay HarborAe Gallery in Yarmouth, but the place in Boothbay suited us just fine with retail displays and a place for Alison and company to work their magic right there in the shop. According to the brochure you get with every purchase (and yes, we’re bringing something home with us!), the “work is hand molded and hand glazed, making each piece unique.” One firing turns pieces into bisqueware which are then glazed by the artists. A second firing liquefies the glaze causing crystals to grow and form little detailed spots that even the makers of this ware can’t predict how they’ll turn out. Needless to say, each piece is unique. And it’s not just the “spotty” pieces that make you want to touch and hold. Oversized molded bowls and platters caught our attention for their unique forms and representations of nature’s creations.
727 Boothbay Road, Edgecomb
You’ve got to admire Richard and Chris Hilton who, in 1976, purchased a one-room abandoned schoolhouse to pursue their love of pottery-making full time. During the first summer, they even slept on the schoolhouse floor and took showers at local campgrounds and the YMCA to make ends meet.But as a testament to their faith and perseverance, Richard and Chris not only endured, they succeeded. And today, the huge gallery of Edgecomb Pottery invites locals and tourists in to see various lines of pottery, jewelry, glass, wood, metal, and lighting. Artfully designed displays show off the hefty pieces that sport one-of-a-kind spattered glazes in a variety of colors. But other pieces just invite you over to check ’em out and marvel at this store filled with enticements. Stroll through the schoolhouse to read about the history of Edgecomb Potters, and then check out the rooms of utilitarian and decorative pieces. It’s a trip worth taking to Edgecomb, Maine. For more Maine-inspired posts, check out our Travel Series: August Down East. And be sure to click on the links above to read more about these artsy places to see!