Carol Abitabilo Ast Submitted photo

DAMARISCOTTA — A pair of pastel artists, Barbara Vanderbilt and Carol Abitabilo Ast, combine their paintings in a show titled “Down East Meets Southwest” beginning Thursday, Sept. 24, in the River Room at River Art. The show runs until Wednesday, Oct. 7.

Barbara Vanderbilt Submitted photo

Connecting through their interest in the landscapes of coastal Maine and the Southwest region of the United States, both artists look to the natural world for their inspiration. Vanderbilt and Ast have spent considerable time traveling in the Southwest and live in mid-coast Maine.

Vanderbilt, of Whitefield, received a degree in art from the University of Maine at Augusta. She works professionally as a clay artist and sells her reliefs and sculptures worldwide through Ann Sacks Tile and Stone. In her artist’s statement Vanderbilt said, “I try to convey the interplay between strength and delicacy. The contrast between the peacefulness of the moment and the rough changes that nature brings in the way of seasonal variation, erosion and storm gives me endless material for painting and meditation!”

Ast, of Damariscotta, received bachelor and master degrees from Pratt Institute as well as a PhD in education from Cornell University. As a teacher, Ast brought her knowledge of landscape painting to students of all ages in Maine, New York and the Southwest. Speaking of her inspiration, Ast says, “I love landscapes. The land, sea and sky offer enormous, fascinating variety of beauty, which I believe is valuable for the well being of people.”

Superbly beautiful and finely crafted, this exhibition of expert pastel painting is designed for close-up scrutiny. Vanderbilt and Ast surely convey their love of place in this show “Down East Meets Southwest.”

River Arts, 36 Elm St., has regular hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call the gallery at 207-563-6868.

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