A fun new little art gallery: “You’re going to love it!” Those were the words of local artist Elaine Eskesen, speaking exuberantly on the phone after telling me about the new art gallery inside Pine Tree Yarns, her little shop in downtown Damariscotta.
Well, as it turned out, she was right.
I headed over to A Gallery at Pine Tree Yarns last Thursday, June 28 to check it out. From the get-go, I became immersed in a fun swirl of hubbub as a continuous flow of people ducked inside from the pouring rain, mixing with the busy little chatting group consisting of Eskesen, painters John Neville and Mary Winkes, and an enthusiastic woman from Seattle named Sally Wolf.
Eskesen’s new gallery makes its home in the cozy room adjoining the single room that has served as her shop for specialty yarns since 1990. In early May, this second room, which used to be a living space for a tenant since departed, became A Gallery at Pine Tree Yarns (but skeins of yarn can be found among the artwork there as well).
“The reason we started doing this gallery is because Jeff Robinson stopped doing his gallery,” Eskesen told me. Until late last year, Robinson headed up the former River Gallery, which was located in what is now Wooden Alchemy, directly across Main Street from Pine Tree Yarns.
Works by Eskesen, Neville, Winkes, wood carver Charles Buzby, and metal artist Roger Panek populate the walls (and nooks and crannies) of A Gallery at Pine Tree Yarns. Eskesen’s paintings are largely abstract – and colorful, like many of the yarns she sells. (Eskesen said she specializes in locally sourced yarns, including the beautiful recently arrived yarns made by hand from sheep’s wool that were so wonderfully “fresh” they still smelled like the farm.)
Neville, who lives part of the year in Nova Scotia, Canada, offers a collection of paintings focused on maritime life both on the Midcoast and in Nova Scotia. His bright, delightful, sometimes quirky paintings captured the attention of Wolf so much that she purchased three of them while I was there – not something she had intended to do when she came in the store, she said.
Neville, a friendly man who shied away from being photographed, was quick to praise Winkes as a “wonderful painter” before pointing out to me the attractive metal fish made by Panek from such recycled materials as used roof flashing that “swim” along the upper reaches of the walls of the gallery.
In between talking to customers about yarn, Eskesen, who is also a rug hooker, took me upstairs to show me the rugs she (impressively) made based on some of her paintings. A show of her hooked rugs at the gallery is on tap for later this summer. Eskesen also took the time to point out Buzby’s finely carved small bird sculptures.
One wall of the gallery is devoted to paintings by Eskesen and Neville. New work will be rotated onto the wall every couple of weeks, they said.
“I would like to invite other artists to have some space here,” Eskesen said. Stay tuned.
A Gallery at Pine Tree Yarns is located at 74 Main St., Damariscotta, and can be reached by phone at 563-5003. Pine Tree Yarns is online at pinetreeyarns.com.
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