Blue Water Fine Arts, Main Street/Route 131, will present “Barbara Ernst Prey: Soliloquy, Meditations on the Environment” Saturday, July 24 through Sunday, Aug. 15. Prey, an internationally renowned artist, has created powerful, compelling views of her surroundings for more than 30 years.

This exhibit explores the importance and urgency of maintaining our environment and showcases a stunning collection of 40 poignant watercolors and dry-brush watercolors -the soliloquies of the title – as well as early works for The New Yorker Magazine and The New York Times; and paintings exhibited in her 2008 Paris retrospective. The paintings fill the former 100-year-old Village Inn. A 200 page book, “Barbara Ernst Prey: An American View,” with critical essay by Sarah Cash, Corcoran Gallery of Art Curator, is available.

Prey was appointed by the President of the of the United States to the National Council on the Arts, the advisory board of the National Endowment for the Arts. Members are chosen for their established record of distinguished service and achievement in the arts. Previous members include noted artists Leonard Bernstein, Marian Anderson, John Steinbeck, Richard Diebenkorn and Isaac Stern. With work in the White House’s permanent collection, her appointment to the National Council on the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as a long list of important private and public collections, her place as a significant American artist is secure.

In this exhibit, Prey’s monumental paintings take a new direction as she explores the islands off the coast of Maine settled by her ancestors in the 1700s. In each soliloquy there is an awareness of the islands and life on the islands as a model of sustainability -meditations on the environment.

“My commissions with NASA have given me a cosmic appreciation of the world and the necessity and importance of being responsible for what we have,” the artist said.

Prey was invited with four of the top players in the American art world including the curators of The Whitney, Guggenheim, New Museum and Walker Museum to participate in the Women at the Helm of American Art panel. She was honored in January by Raynham Hall Museum for her accomplishments and contribution to American art. Her Paris retrospective was selected by The Wall Street Journal as their European Paris museum choice. Prey’s painting, one of several NASA-commissions, of the x-43, the fastest aircraft in the world, is included in the traveling exhibit “NASA | ART: 50 Years of Exploration,” which celebrates NASA’s 50th anniversary. Organized by the Smithsonian Institution and the National Air and Space Museum, the exhibit is traveling to 12 museums and will conclude at the Air and Space Museum in 2012.

Prey is an artistic ambassador for her country, chosen in 2004-2010 to participate in the United States Arts in Embassies Program. She was the only living American painter in a recent exhibit at the U.S. Embassy in Paris with prominent American masters Homer, Ryder and Sargent. The U.S. Ambassador to Spain requested a special exhibit of her paintings at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, and Prey was invited by both the ambassadors to Paris and Spain to lecture about her work to the cultural leaders of France and Spain for the opening of their art collections.

Prey’s paintings are included in some of the most important public and private collections in the country including The White House, The Brooklyn Museum, The Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Farnsworth Art Museum, Williams College Museum of Art, The Taiwan Museum of Art, New York Historical Society, the Henry Luce Foundation and The Reader’s Digest Collection. The National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. invited her to lecture on the watercolors of Winslow Homer and at the Corcoran Gallery of Art for its John Singer Sargent exhibit.

Prey graduated from Williams College where she studied with Lane Faison and has a master’s degree from Harvard University, where she was able to continue her art history studies. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and a Henry Luce Foundation grant for her work, which enabled her to travel, study and exhibit extensively in Europe and Asia.

Exhibition hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The public is invited to a reception Friday, July 30 from 6 to 8 p.m. For more information, call 372-8087 or visit bluewaterfinearts.com.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.