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. 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.