The Jonathan Frost Gallery, 21 Winter St., will present an exhibition of new paintings by Tenants Harbor artist Phoebe Bly beginning with a gala artist’s reception with refreshments and live jazz by Steve Lindsay & Friends Friday, Aug. 5 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Bly has shown annually on the Midcoast for the past six years, acquiring a devoted and enthusiastic following. She said she started oil painting 11 years ago in desperation; she had started out as a photographer but lost her darkroom when she moved to Islesboro. She is basically self-taught, inspired by several painters.

Bly’s parents were back-to-the-land hippies in the 1970s, she said. The family lived in a tiny hand-built cabin in the woods without running water or electricity.

“Although I felt freakish among my peers at the time, living and playing in the woods gave me a huge respect and love for nature. It’s been a never-ending source of inspiration for my painting,” Bly said, adding that most of her paintings have some human element because “it’s hard to avoid in the world we live in.”

The show presents 34 works in oil, including several of the night scenes for which the artist is especially known, large paintings of single bird feathers, a blazing bonfire, frosty winter scenes, gas tanks and tractors tucked into verdant landscapes, and lots of roads. Swirling expressionistic shapes, photographic darks and diffused light define work that combines mystery with joyousness and a touch of sly humor.

Throughout the season, the gallery exhibits work by an outstanding roster of artists in all media including Joseph Adolphe, Siri Beckman, Barbara Beebe, Susan Beebe, Phoebe Bly, Carolyn Caldwell, Jonathan Frost, Kathryn Frund, Liz Gribin, Gints Grinbergs, Peter Haines, Alison Hildreth, Constance Kiermaier, Richie Lasansky, Mary Lennox, Steve Lindsay, Holly Meade, Gary Milek, Jessie Pollock, Steve Porter, Phil Schirmer and Gretchen Dow Simpson. Beckman will be featured in a solo show in September.

Bly’s show will run through Aug. 27. Nan Mulford is the gallery’s director. Hours are Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 596-0800, send email to or visit

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to