Ed Parker, “First Maine Moose Derby.”

Gleason Fine Art will open two new shows, “Ed Parker: Painting the Story II” and “On the Water with Michael Kahn,” on July 21. Both shows run through Aug. 16, with artist receptions from 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 5.

To view both shows online, go to gleasonfineart.com. For more information, call the gallery at 207-633-6849, or email info@gleasonfineart.com. Gleason Fine Art is at 31 Townsend Ave., Boothbay Harbor. Summer gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

ED PARKER: PAINTING THE STORY II

Southport artist Ed Parker is one of America’s leading marine painters. His paintings are influenced and informed by 19th century era graphics, early American paintings, historical photographs, and maritime traditions. Parker’s Yankee sensibilities, combined with a deep respect for history and a sophisticated sense of design, proportion and color all contribute to his unique position as a maritime artist with a sense of humor.

That sense of humor is delivered by means of a painted story. For instance, Parker paints “Dog Watch,” a maritime term for a late-night turn as the watch on a boat or at a lighthouse, quite literally as a tightly packed, alert group of dogs (a golden retriever, an English setter, a Labrador retriever, a French bulldog, and two terriers) crowded into the top of a lighthouse “watching.” Parker’s paintings often include something you don’t expect or that is hidden in plain sight. In “Dog Watch,” the surprise is a sleeping kitty, as oblivious to the goings on as ever a cat can be, off to the right-hand side of the lighthouse.

Another delightful example of Parker’s painting the story is “1st Maine Moose Derby.” In it we see four differently, but nattily dressed people on eager, long-legged moose galloping along a lake shore. A jockey leads the race, while a gentleman in boots, red plaid, and a deerstalker cap is at the rear of the group, trying his best, and the moose’s best, to catch up. A lady in the center of the racers is riding side-saddle, as if riding a moose weren’t already difficult enough. Parker swears there were actual moose races, domesticated, one hopes, that “1st Maine Moose Derby” is based on.

The artist himself best explains how his exquisite, humor-rich paintings differ from those of other maritime artists: “While most marine artists tend to capture a moment in time,” says Parker, “I seek to capture a moment of a story or event. It may be real; it may be just plausible enough to be real. It is visual storytelling, and the viewer gets to decide how the story began and ends. My intent is often a humorous or whimsical attempt to view our culture or our not-so-different past history from another perspective that perhaps, within the story, reveals something new about culture, our history, and our place in it.”

ON THE WATER WITH MICHAEL KAHN

Michael Kahn, a summer resident of Castine, Maine, is world renowned for his stunning, handmade, sepia-toned photographs of the maritime world. With skill, patience, and an intimate knowledge of, and interaction with, his subjects, Kahn has established a unique niche in the otherwise crowded field of photography. Whether hanging from the rigging to capture a racing yacht under way or waiting for the early light to be just right on a lonely beach, Kahn always brings his rare combination of immense talent and dogged persistence to bear on whatever he’s photographing.

In “On the Water with Michael Kahn” the artist has given the gallery photographs from a couple of different series: one focusing on boats and the other on dunes. Many of Michael’s Kahn photographs are meditative, but the dune series is particularly so. Kahn spent days on Martha’s Vineyard shooting the dunes, later in the studio turning a select few into sensuous, elegant photographs.

Boats, especially sailboats, were Kahn’s first great fascination. His photograph of the 34.4-meter, J-class racing yacht “Velsheda” will stop you in your tracks. The magnificent yacht is heeled way over, aiming for a bridge, which, to the viewer, looks too low to accommodate the towering mast. Kahn’s photograph is an ingenious expression of the thrill, and potential danger, of sailing.

“Dory in the Mist” is so lovely, one family looking at it actually teared up. Kahn’s photograph focuses on a single peapod dory suspended in the mist. The image is peaceful, serene; the dory itself is as perfect as an object can be — sculptural, balanced perfection. In fact, the dory was designed to be a working boat, but that hardly seems to matter in this stunning photograph.

Kahn’s process begins with a medium-format camera and black-and-white film. The film is processed, then projected through an enlarger onto pure fiber paper, which has a coating of gelatin and suspended light-sensitive silver grains. When the exposure sequence is complete, the print is run through a series of developing chemicals, washed, dipped into toning chemicals, washed again, and finally air-dried.

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