Hey everybody — do you know that you have lifetime free admission to a local art gallery? Thanks to Boyd Place’s ambitious art committee, the Boyd Place Gallery has just hung another terrific exhibition, as it does three times a year. The exhibit is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and you don’t have to know a resident to browse the walls of the public spaces. There are even guidebooks available to help you along. The best part of this particular exhibit, for me, was the opportunity to spend time with the grown daughter of one of the two featured artists. I even got a private tour of some of her dad’s artwork, which gave it added life in surprising ways.

The title of the most recent show is “Maine Masters: Works of Vincent Hartgen and Arthur Thompson.” Neither of the two featured artists are still living, but the vitality of their artwork is undiminished. Their art was given even greater richness through the enthusiasm of Thompson’s daughter, Jane Sumner, who attended the opening reception. Sumner has long been a fan and promoter of her father’s artwork. I suspect she didn’t even realize it, but Sumner’s stories about her youth in Sorrento piqued my interest in her father’s work just as much as her more academic insights into her father’s art.

Sumner, the only child of Arthur and Rosamond Thompson, was 11 years old when her family moved into her grandfather’s home in Sorrento in 1947. She went from a large, Boston-area city school to a two-room schoolhouse that covered first through eighth grades. She loved it.

“It was the best schooling I could have had,” she said.

Jane remembers her first October in Sorrento, when the massively destructive 1947 fire hit Bar Harbor. The night of the fire, her father and grandfather decided to cross 5 miles of water in a 32-foot boat to try and help people get off the pier in Bar Harbor, where many had fled to escape the flames.

The Thompson family was well suited to Maine. They were very independent and “bohemian,” said Sumner, highly principled with simple tastes. They did a lot of camping and always brought along their dog, who carried his own food in a little backpack. Sumner’s mother, “an artist in her own right,” was skilled at drawing, became hugely adept at computer graphic artwork, and published and illustrated a book based on a true story called “Saco-Belle the Swimming Lamb.” Arthur Thompson, who spent a lot of time in architectural drafting jobs in order to make a living, loved the opportunity to do more creative work outdoors.

“He was very independent, and his art was different from the period he lived in. He worked really hard, always reading, studying, sketching,” Sumner said.

Sumner’s parents had very intense conversations about art.

“I remember hearing them when I was in bed, talking late into the night,” she said.

Her descriptions of Thompson’s canvases, hanging on the wall at Boyd Place, illuminated them for me.

“He could do realistic painting, but it wasn’t interesting to him. He liked the idea of painting multiple views on one canvas. His art is sometimes shocking to people,” she said. “It seems scattered. But if a picture is too perfect, you stop looking at it. You can live with his work for a long time.”

Some of Thompson’s paintings (many loaned to Boyd Place by Winter Harbor’s Littlefield Gallery) represent those multiview techniques. With the help of Sumner’s descriptions, I kept seeing more — “that’s our back yard, there’s the fire house, and there’s the view of the water, and that’s our clothesline with the laundry flapping. He loved laundry on the line.”

One scene on a rocky beach had figures in it.

“That’s my mom and the dog. Mom is probably foraging for food on the beach,” Sumner said.

Thompson never stopped experimenting. When he started spending winters in the Everglades in Florida, he adopted a whole new style with bold colors in acrylics. You can see a couple of those at Boyd Place, too.

My favorites, though, are the Maine scenes, the sense of constant motion, the textured skies, the flashes of color.

“There’s a lot of image in his work,” said Sumner, “and he was very optimistic.”

Ah ha! That must be why looking at his artwork makes you feel so good. Be sure to visit and let me know what you think. The show is up until June 5.

Robin Clifford Wood welcomes feedback at robin.everyday@gmail.com.