Pam Cabanas’ “Peace on the Beach 2,” a 60-by-60-inch charcoal diptych. Courtesy of Salt Pond Studio

Hiking at a nearby beach last year, Friendship artist Pam Cabanas came across a peace sign made of rocks in the sand. It made her feel good that people around her shared a reverence for the ideals of the 1960s, and also a little sad.

“Everything our generation stood for seems to have been co-opted or rendered meaningless,” she said, by “this crazy era of perverted politics” that we’re experiencing now.

Pam Cabanas in her studio. Courtesy of Salt Pond Studio

Cabanas, 68, used the peace sign as inspiration for new drawings and paintings, some of which she is showing at her Salt Pond Studio, 522 Cushing Road, Friendship. She opened the gallery a year ago July in a charming former schoolhouse. It’s classic seacoast Maine, with the straight lines of clapboards on the exterior and wainscoting on the inside. Cabanas was ready for a big year when the pandemic slowed her momentum.

She opened for the season cautiously in July with an exhibition of paintings by Graham Walton and followed up that show with an exhibition of her own large-scale paintings and drawings, on view through August. Hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and by appointment.

“Peace on a Beach 2” is a 60-inch by 60-inch charcoal diptych of the scene she encountered on the beach. She also did an acrylic painting of the same scene, at the same size, but she’s not showing the painting in the gallery.

Another large piece is “Jersey Barrier,” a charcoal diptych of a large beach rock resembling a modular concrete barrier commonly used in highway construction. The rock also looks like a lumbering seal cow, rising from the sand and dividing the beach. There’s a double entendre at play with the name, referring to both the highway dividers and the summer tourists who sometimes are found on Maine highways and beaches.

Cabanas captures the serenity of sand and rocks and the still water of tide pools. There’s a quietness to this work and a sense of calm – and much-needed peace.

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