Haynes Galleries presents “Peter Poskas: Summer Lights”
August 31 to September 29. Reception: August 31, 6 to 8 p.m.

THOMASTON, Maine — Haynes Galleries is pleased to present “Summer Lights,” the luminous landscapes of contemporary American realist Peter Poskas. There will be an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31, and the show will be on view through Sept. 29 at Haynes Galleries, 91 Main St., Thomaston. The event is free and open to the public.

Poskas’ canvases are an ode to rural living — gritty winter scenes in the farmlands of New England and the tranquility of a coastal Maine summer. However, the true star of these paintings is the light — gauzy and golden as the sun sets over Stonington, incandescent as the fog lifts over Monhegan Island, cold and sharp on a barren winter morning in Connecticut.

Though Connecticut is his year-round home, Poskas can’t resist the call of the Maine coast come summertime. While the lush green of a Connecticut summer absorbs and flattens the light, coastal Maine, with its rocky, sandy, relatively treeless landscape, has a purity and intensity of light that has attracted artists for centuries.

The sunlight in Maine is a tempestuous muse — white and thin at midday, soft and dappled in the morning mist, glowing and golden as the sun slips behind the horizon. Peter Poskas has mastered every facet, distilling the incandescent glow after a passing shower, the soft, clear reflections of a Port Clyde morning; a gilded sunset over Stonington.

For Poskas, light is everything. And in his landscapes — scenes that celebrate lives tied to the land and sea — a narrative emerges through the way a weathered clapboard reflects the setting sun or the way the morning light hits a faded patch of red paint on a dairy barn.

“It brings to light the life that’s inside these buildings,” Poskas says. “These are real people in real places and I hope they cause people to see and appreciate the beauty in small things.”

“Clear Morning, Monhegan Light” is a study in stillness and simplicity. A solitary lightkeeper’s house, a quiet bell. Look a little more closely, and signs of life emerge —spartan white curtains, frames on the walls. And beyond, a glimpse of the Atlantic.

“Legacy” is quintessential Maine — whitewashed Adirondack chairs overlook the harbor as the rising sun burns off a silken fog. A woman sits pensively, straw hat shading her eyes, L.L. Bean bag at her side, watching the lobster boats and dories at their moorings.

Poskas pays homage to the legendary Rockwell Kent — another master of light — in the most fitting way. In a series of paintings of Kent’s Monhegan home, Poskas captures a sun-dappled afternoon, the soft evening shadows, the clear, almost white light of high noon.

Though the light is always the star of Poskas’ paintings, place is equally important. In Poskas’ hands, a simple white farmhouse becomes an icon of a fading way of life. A clutch of tiger lilies punctuates the landscape, showing Maine’s untamed beauty. A lightkeeper’s cottage becomes a study in solitude.

There is poetry in his brushstrokes, and on every canvas, Poskas coaxes the extraordinary from the ordinary. In doing so, his work inspires the viewer to look more closely, to see more deeply, to cherish these fleeting Summer Lights.