“Diamonds and Emeralds” by Neiley Harris. Courtesy of Neiley Gallery & Studio

Neiley Harris has shown her paintings in Bar Harbor each summer season for 17 years. It’s time to show them in Portland, she said.

Harris, a representational oil painter who lives in Auburn, has opened a new downtown gallery, Neiley Gallery & Studio, a second-floor space at 94 Commercial St. “I work through the winter to fill the walls in Bar Harbor all summer,” she said. “But I have a lot of other work that I would like to show. This gives me an opportunity to do that.”

Harris is a colorist. She paints purple trees, pink pigs and orange sidewalks. She’s drawn to painting farm animals, gardens in bloom and boats on the water. “I like to pick subjects that are colorful and bold – and then up the color values,” she said.

At Cafe This Way in Bar Harbor, Harris shows mostly Maine scenes. At Neiley Gallery, she is showing a range of work, including paintings of flora in Arizona, street scenes from New York and deep bodies of work where she explores a subject in depth. “I’ve never had a place to hang my palm trees,” she said. “People visiting Bar Harbor are not looking for palm trees. They’re looking for pine trees.”

The Portland gallery is a family affair. Harris is dedicating wall space for paintings by her mother, longtime Maine painter Annette Lavallee, and her brother, Ben Lavallee, who has lived with a brain injury since he was 4. Opening a gallery that has the space to hang the art of her mother and brother feels gratifying, she said. “My brother Ben is my rock. He puts life into perspective every day,” she said. “Ben joins me every Wednesday to paint, and his art has become an inspiration for many. It reflects his beautiful soul.”

Thanks to her mother, Harris grew up with art and has been painting since she was a teenager. She described her mother as her inspiration and mentor. “She is amazing, having spent her life, 24/7, as a caregiver of my brother. Mom spent her limited free time doing what she loves, painting,” Harris said. Lavallee’s paintings cross a spectrum, from quilts hanging on fences to coastal scenes.

In addition to showing her work, Harris has a studio in the Commercial Street space with paintings in progress on her easel.

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