THOMASTON – From 4 to 6 p.m. May 27, Frost Gully Gallery in Thomaston celebrates the opening of an exhibition of oil paintings and watercolors by Laurence Sisson.

Sisson, 84, has been associated with Maine most of his life, yet this is his first gallery show in the state. Boston born, Sisson came to Maine for the first time at age 21, settled in Boothbay and scratched out a living doing anything he could to earn money. Early in his career, he bartered small paintings for food, clothing and medical services.

He began with Vermeer-like landscape paintings, and began experimenting with a range of styles and subjects. He had his first major show in Boston in 1951, and won numerous awards for his work.

Sisson helped sustain what is now Maine College of Art during difficult financial times.

Gallery owner Tom Crotty said Sisson belongs in the same conversation with William Keinbusch, Fairfield Porter, John Laurent, Dahlov Ipcar, William Thon and others — “associations of artists who energized the formation of a group of nonprofit galleries that made the work of many Maine artists available here for the first time.” The Barn Gallery in Ogunquit, the Maine Art Gallery in Wiscasset and Maine Coast Artists — now the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport — set high standards for artists and audiences alike, Crotty said.

In the early 1980s, Sisson began painting in New Mexico.

“As the artist has moved farther and farther away from the actual Maine tide pools that fascinated and motivated him in the beginning, he has evolved a very personal, unique, if less realistic, vision of his primary subject,” Crotty writes.

This exhibition explores the current range of his interpretation of his subject.

His work is in the collections of Bowdoin College, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the New Britain Museum in Connecticut, among others.