DAMARISCOTTA — River Arts will present a pair of pastel artists in the River Room beginning Thursday, Sept. 24, at 36 Elm St. Barbara Vanderbilt and Carol Abitabilo Ast combine their paintings in “Down East Meets Southwest.” The show will run until Oct. 7, according to a news release from the gallery.

Connecting through their interest in the landscapes of coastal Maine and the Southwest region of the U.S., both artists look to the natural world for their inspiration. Vanderbilt and Ast have spent considerable time traveling in the Southwest and currently live in mid-coast Maine.

“Down East Meets Southwest” by Barbara Vanderbilt at River Arts Gallery. Photo courtesy of River Arts Gallery

Vanderbilt, of Whitefield, received a degree in art from the University of Maine at Augusta. She works professionally as a clay artist and sells her reliefs and sculptures worldwide through Ann Sacks Tile and Stone.

In her artist’s statement Vanderbilt expresses, “I try to convey the interplay between strength and delicacy. The contrast between the peacefulness of the moment and the rough changes that nature brings in the way of seasonal variation, erosion and storm gives me endless material for painting and meditation!”

Ast, of Damariscotta, received Bachelor and Master degrees from Pratt Institute as well as a doctorate in education from Cornell University.

As a teacher, Ast brought her knowledge of landscape painting to students of all ages in Maine, New York and the Southwest. Speaking of her inspiration, Ast said, “I love landscapes. The land, sea and sky offer enormous, fascinating variety of beauty, which I believe is valuable for the well-being of people,” according to the release.

This exhibition of expert pastel painting is designed for close up scrutiny.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.