Cabot Lyford, “Pemaquid Point Light,” a 1960 watercolor. Courtesy of Rachel Walls Fine Art

When Rachel Walls hunkered down last March, she knew she’d be hunkered down for a long time. Walls is immunosuppressed, and her doctor advised her to be extra careful with the coronavirus.

The proprietor of Rachel Walls Fine Art at Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, Walls used the pandemic as an opportunity to create virtual gallery tours of the artists she represents, including Dahlov Ipcar, Cabot Lyford and Robert Andrew Parker. While the gallery remains closed, the tours offer a chance to see art. “I wanted to create the experience people have when they walk in to the space and capture all the information they might learn when the walk through the exhibition,” Walls said. “I really wanted to represent good-quality information about these artists, to help people understand how they fit into the history of Maine art and why they were important.”

The four tours include a 12- to 15-minute video walk-throughs of the art as it appears in the gallery, detailed biographies and still images of the work itself. With Lyford – who died on Jan. 21, 2016 – there’s a section of still photographs of sculptures in public art collections across New England.

Cabot Lyford, “In the Engine,” a painting from 2001. Courtesy of Rachel Walls Fine Art

The virtual tour, “Cabot Lyford: War, Whales, Whimsy, Wings, Women and Workings,” offers an appreciation of the full scope of Lyford’s work. He was widely celebrated for turning solid rock into graceful whales, perky dolphins and soaring eagles. He was also a fine, tender painter of watercolors, a side of his art we see less often. To highlight that side of his work, Walls is showing a handful of lyrical landscapes, dense abstracts and soft nudes.

Walls worked with videographer Ross Bertran to film the gallery and the artwork in it, and collaborated with Melissa Chaput on the direction and editing. In addition to the three short videos on each artist, there’s also a 40-minute full-gallery tour. The virtual tours will live in perpetuity on the gallery website,, after the gallery reopens to visitors.

She has wanted to create virtual tours for some time. The pandemic created the opportunity. “There are always going to be people home with a broken leg or in a wheelchair or going through something where they do not feel comfortable going into public spaces,” she said. “I understand that.”

Walls suffered life-altering injuries in a ski accident more than a decade ago, leaving her immobile and temporarily unable to read, write or talk. Her recovery was long and difficult. The virtual gallery tours are a manifestation of the time she spent uncertain of her future. “I spent a lot of time lying on the bed or lying on the couch thinking about things but unable to do anything. I really did have a whole new perspective on what it was like to not be able to go out and do things,” she said.

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