BATH — One of the tricks to taking in all the Bath ArtWalk and Trolley Tour has to offer is knowing where to look.

Behind the Subway sandwich shop on Water Street, you’ll find an iron staircase that runs up to the top of the three-story building housing Byrne’s Irish Pub, Subway and Bath Natural Market. This is where you’ll find Brunswick-native Tom Paiement’s studio, two generously-windowed rooms bathed in a color palette that is Paiement’s own—dark hues of wine-red, murky, bottomless pools of blue, and subdued yellows and golds that feel like reticent sunshine.

“I don’t get a whole lot of visitors coming up here during ArtWalks, but I do get a handful,” he said when asked if people manage to find him. “I enjoy it, and if my art speaks to even a few people, well, that’s great. I plan to keep doing it.”

You’ll find a sign for Paiement’s studio, where he works every day, posted at the stairwell behind Subway. “Every day, and sometimes on Saturdays,” he said, looking over an unfinished work. Canvases are stacked, leaning two and three deep against the walls and open spaces.

Two impressive, large works dominate. One, “Fret Series No. 48,” is a precise, thoughtful piece, a study of guitar fret boards, notes and music, with muted LED lights embedded on a panel representing a guitar neck. It’s roughly five-by-six feet, and makes one long for a room at home with tall ceilings and open space in which to hang it. You somehow feel the many hours of thought that went into the piece.

The other work, “Entropy 2,” is an intense and intricate collage piece, six-and-a-half-by-seven-and-a-half feet, a comment on poverty and wealth. It feels black and white, but is studded with color. It seems to foreshadow an apocalyptic future, but it also conveys some joy.

“If you look carefully, there is something like a trail here, where one image follows another, and takes you through the piece,” Paiement said, pointing to a faintly narrative trail that is clear to his eye, leading to two dancing figures. It’s a mesmerizing work, one that filters a number of images into a powerful, cohesive whole.

Looking at Paiement’s chronological output, one sees a clear and bold arc of transformation over the years. “I don’t see the reason in doing the same thing over and over again, for years and years, I just don’t understand that. I’m affected by things, and my work reflects that, it changes.”

Indeed, the ways in which his paint, collage and printmaking techniques have morphed and looped over the years is fascinating. His recent Venice Beach drawings are all light and air and life,

while the “Soldiers” series feature darker editorials on war and loss. The “Fret” series filters his love of music (he plays guitar) into pensive Musique Concrète soundscapes you can almost hear.

Tom Paiement’s “Entropy Aftermath 5621” Courtesy Photo

Portland Museum of Art’s Susan Danly referred to Paiement’s famed “Entropy” series as “one of the most important pieces of contemporary art to come out of Maine in recent years.” It’s a trilogy that comments on war, environmentalism, technology and more.

Paiement, once a mechanical engineer, remembers as a young man in Southern California seeing an artist at work in his studio. As he says, “That was that. That was what I wanted to do, it was that simple.”

That was 40 years ago, and he’s been making art ever since.

Bath’s monthly Art Walk & Trolley Tours runs from 4 to 7 p.m., on the third Friday of the month, beginning June 16. This year’s walks include a cluster of artists housed at the new Park Street Studios, off Washington Street in the North End. The trolley can take you there, and to other studios in outlying areas.

Live music will once again enhance the evenings, at the corner of Front and Centre streets, where Karen Gray will perform on June 16, and at the Park Street Studios. Bring your camp chair and enjoy the Gazebo Concert Series after each ArtWalk at City Park, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Check the Main Street Bath calendar ( for live events at the Chocolate Church, as well.