It was a bustling, festive scene this past Saturday in the second floor gallery of L’Elegance Fine Furnishings on upper Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs. It seems a natural extension that the boutique of linens, furnishings, and home accessories — all of which more than lives up to its name under Gloria Lockett Collins direction — includes a gallery of original art whose first show of the season featured the paintings of seasonal Islander since the 1970s, Bettie Eubanks.
The striking Ms. Eubanks was beaming as the spacious second floor gallery filled with admirers. Her dramatic colorful canvases covered the walls with scenes of impressionistic florals, still lifes, harbor scenes and a few expressionistic interpretations — all exuberant images.
“I want people to experience the work in a joyous place,” Ms. Eubanks says. “The one thing you can guarantee in life is change. As you start to experience life as you get older, you look for the joy; and that’s what keeps me going.”
Ms. Eubanks, an award-winning artist who taught art for seven years, divides her time between the Vineyard and Palm Coast, Florida. A graduate of New Jersey State University and the Newark School of Fine Arts, she executes most of her paintings in the studio in her Vineyard home, capturing scenes from the Oak Bluffs harbor — her favorite site for artistic inspiration. “It has to do with what I want to see,” she says.
In addition to her use of vibrant color, Ms. Eubanks’ work is distinctive for the textural surfaces of all her large canvasses. “I’m not creating flat images,” she says. “I’m intending depth. It’s almost like intaglio,” she adds.”
She explains that all her paintings have a build-up of seven layers, from the gesso coating of the canvas to the layers of acrylic color to the final coat of liquid sealer. She develops the under-surface knowing what image she plans to paint on the canvas, so the texture supports the mood and feeling she strives to achieve.
Bettie Eubanks’ paintings at Upstairs Gallery at L’Elegance, 73 Circuit Ave., Oak Bluffs, runs through July 17. 508-696-9002.