Three for the road: Art shows worth abandoning the beach for

Besides the line at Red’s and mounting traffic on Route 1, there is another Maine mainstay in overdrive this summer — art shows. It’s tough to wade through the onslaught of openings between trips to the beach, but here are three shows worth ditching your blanket for on the coast. Rockland artist Eric Hopkins, known for playful paintings of Maine islands, hosts a retrospective at Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport called “Shells, Fish & Shellfish.” The varied solo exhibit, which opens this week, provides a deeper look into the beach detritus that has inspired the North Haven son of a fish monger. Anyone familiar with Hopkin’s abstract island-scapes will enjoy seeing these elegant wood and glass sculptures along with paintings and monotypes that are rarely on view. Hopkins3(1) Learning to blow glass from rockstar artist Dale Chihuly while a student at RISD, Hopkins jumps from the frame to the pedestal with ease. Like many artists he was informed by the surroundings of his childhood. “The rocks and shells and bones and branches were my play things,” he said in a prepared statement. “I’d see the patterns of clouds repeated on the waves on the water and later in the flesh of the filleted flounder.”

Opening reception Friday July 25 from 5 to 8 p.m. The Penobscot Marine Museum, 40 East Main St., Searsport.

From Scotland to Downeast Maine’s mystical landscape continues to be touted at The Courthouse Gallery Fine Art in Ellsworth, where Brooklin painter William Irvine and writer Carl Little invite the public to toast their latest creation — William Irvine: A Painter’s Journey. artblog

The book chronicles the life and career of Irvine, who captures the sea with a keen eye. The lifelong painter became enchanted with the Scottish coast before moving to Maine in the late 60s. The reception kicks off a solo show of Irvine’s latest work. Courthouse Gallery, 6 Court St., Ellsworth. Reception is Wednesday, July 23, from 5 –7 p.m
The sisterhood of the traveling quilt
Though wrapping up in a quilt is unfathomable on a hot August day,
the colorful patchwork from the rural town of Gee’s Bend, Alabama is elevating this historic means of warmth to the highest level.
The artistic quilts have been parading across the country with stops at the Whitney Museum of Art, in Boston and Houston. Next month they arrive in Searsport. “Do it Your Way Gee’s Bend Quilt and Quilters of Maine: runs from Aug. 2 to Sept. 7. at The Penobscot Marine Museum.
Kathleen Pierce

About Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.