The Port Clyde Art Gallery will feature the pastel paintings of Carol Abitabilo Ast from Wednesday, Aug. 24 through Sept. 11. There will be an artist’s reception Friday, Aug. 26 from 5 to 7 p.m. that will include music by Fred Scribner. The public is invited to attend.

Scenes of the Port Clyde area — waters, boats, islands — will dominate the collection. Although she lives in upstate New York, Ast is often in Maine, enjoying the sights and atmosphere of Hupper Island, Port Clyde and the Midcoast. Her realistic works express her desire to present to others those images of the area that are visually important to her.

Ast prefers to work with pastels, due to the direct, hands-on method of working and their luminous quality. The paintings in this exhibition have been made with pastels, a centuries-old art material that recently has been gaining increased awareness as a lasting and collectible medium. Indeed, the colors in a pastel painting have little binder, oils or additives that can yellow, fade, or crack over the years. The pastels of Degas, for example, still glow with the colors he originally used.

Ast has shown in the Port Clyde Gallery in the past, as well as in juried exhibitions in New Mexico, California, New York and most recently in the Pastel Painters of Maine’s International Pastels Only Exhibition, where she received the Degas Pastel Society’s Award of Merit.

The Port Clyde Art Gallery 2011 members include Erik Amundsen, stoneware pottery; Larry N. Bailey, watercolors, acrylics;  Gayle Briggs Bedigian, pottery; Amy Cornell, oils; Gillie Coyle, oil pastels, drawings and ink wash; Lydia Kaeyer, watercolors; Gail Kingsbury, acrylics and watercolors; Gena Neilson, oils, sculpture; Lowell “Si” Sibole, fine furniture; Gillian Sloat, oils; Bill Swittlinger, found object sculpture; and Marianne Swittlinger, acrylics and mixed media.

The Gallery is open every day except Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is located across from the Port Clyde General Store, in the barn at the Seaside Inn.

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