Feeling ‘Blue’ at Old Sculpin Gallery

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Margaret Emerson’s show, “Blue,” at the Old Sculpin Gallery, July 14 through 20, is designed to elicit the feeling of floating in a sea of blue, but invites the viewer to personal interpretation.

Emerson explains in a press release that while all of the works in this show are about water, they depict it from a variety of perspectives. “We are surrounded by water, and this becomes a personal relationship. Some of us like to be in it, while others like to watch the ocean, write about it, or use it as a landmark in our daily lives,” she says.

“Blue Edge,” a 30 x 30-in. acrylic on wood panel, could be a close-up of the inside of a wave or a distant view of the water from above. The addition of bubble wrap gives the piece a sense of foaming, and a touch of metallic silver adds sharpness.

Both “And Blue” and “Ferry” are cubist in style, and give the impression of land or waterscapes with hints of sky and horizon. “And Blue” has an urban slant, according to the release, while the familiar transportation to Martha’s Vineyard is obvious in “Ferry.”

Emerson began college as an art major, but switched to nursing. Her career was very satisfying, she says, but when she retired from nursing education at Northeastern University in Boston, she returned to creating art. Living on the Island since 2009, Emerson took classes at Featherstone in watercolor and pastels. She says she loved the colors produced by pastels, and the close feeling of the pastels in her hand as she painted. These experiences, as well as working with several abstract artists on Martha’s Vineyard, encouraged her to explore this painting method. “I found myself being more expressive with abstracts than I was with other methods,” she writes in the release. “I mostly paint with palette knives, again feeling the closeness of my hands to the medium.”

“I was taking swimming lessons this winter while painting these watery scenes,” Emerson says. “Being in the water is therapy for the body, and painting it is therapy for the soul.” Her affinity for color and the Island inspired this show.

An opening reception will be held at Old Sculpin Gallery on Sunday, July 15, from 5 to 7 pm.