Haynes Galleries will open “Timeless Places” featuring 25 luminous landscapes by contemporary American realist Peter Poskas with an opening reception Friday, Aug. 5 from 5 to 8 p.m. The show will be on view through Aug. 31 at Haynes Galleries, 91 Main St./Route 1. Poskas will be on hand to discuss his work from Saturday, Aug. 27 noon to 2 p.m., an event that 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.

The works are at once exquisitely detailed and highly evocative. People are seldom present on Poskas’ canvases, but there always is a story waiting to be told, always the sense that there is life going on, just out of view. Poskas captures a vanishing way of life, to be sure, but these are not merely nostalgic pieces. Instead, they celebrate lives inextricably tied to the land. He has spent years — in some cases, more than four decades — getting to know these people, these places and the stories they have to tell.

These pastoral scenes are an endangered species as family farms give way to subdivisions and golf courses. On Monhegan, Poskas has seen the number of fishermen — families with centuries-long ties to the sea — decline. Such staples of rural New England living are slipping away and while there is no sense of urgency to Poskas’ paintings, there is a sense of reverence.

“It’s vanishing,” he said. “It increases my appreciation of these places, that’s for sure.”

Poskas was born and raised in the small city of Waterbury, Conn. It was his father’s dream to live in the country and Poskas has realized that dream, living in the village of Washington, Conn., and using the farms of Litchfield County as his muse. Coming to Maine — particularly Monhegan and other islands — has allowed him to paint year-round. The lush green of a Connecticut summer absorbs and flattens the light, but coastal Maine, with its rocky, sandy, relatively treeless landscape, has a purity and intensity of light that has attracted artists for centuries.

Haynes Galleries is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment. For more information about this exhibit or to schedule a private viewing, call 354-0605 or 615-429-1727 or visit hyanesgalleries.com.

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