The sky was so clear when I took the dogs out tonight. Stars sparkled. Even from inside with the lights turned off, they punctuated the night sky, making pictures outside our windows.
The holiday season continues with a Christmas Concert at the West Tisbury Church this Sunday afternoon, December 21, at 3:30 pm. The program includes a prelude and carols sung by the church choir with guest performers led by Director of Music and organist David Rhoderick and guest conductor Phil Dietterich. A reception follows the concert. Tickets are $15, free for students. The doors open at 3 pm.
On Christmas Eve, the Church’s Annual Christmas Pageant will begin at 5 pm at the Ag Hall. The story of the Nativity is re-created and re-told by candlelight. Music is by the Joyful Noise Choir, made up of children from all over the island, directed by Brian Weiland. There is plenty of parking in the Ag Hall field. Do plan to come early.
The 10 pm candlelight service will be held at the Church.
Happy belated birthday good wishes to Jessica Haynes, who celebrated on 12/12 with a weekend of parties, and to my fellow-columnist from West Tisbury, John Alley, whose birthday was December 4.
Don’t forget the book talk and music this afternoon at the library from 4:30 to 6, Tom Dresser and Jerry Muskin and the Long Point 5. On Saturday afternoon, December 20, there will be an artist’s reception for Billy Hoff from 4 to 5 pm. Billy’s paintings are on display in the Program Room through the month of December.
Congratulations to John Early, recipient of the 2014 Spirit of the Vineyard Award from Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard. The award ceremony will be Sunday, December 28, 2 pm, at the West Tisbury Library. I cannot begin to list all of John’s accomplishments and contributions to West Tisbury and the island. He was well-known as one of our selectmen for many years, an assistant chief on our fire department, an EMT, a member of more committees than I can count. Come to the library to hear more and to congratulate John in person.
Please keep an eye out for a seemingly stray cat, named Alyssa, who is gray with beige markings, notably a beige spot near one eye. Alyssa has been missing from her home with David and Bonnie Steere on State Road near the West Tisbury cemetery. She is very shy and will probably be skittish and fearful. She was a feral kitty who was learning to be affectionate with Bonnie and David. She is much loved and missed. Please call them or Joannie Jenkinson if you see her.
Candy Shweder has an exhibition and sale of her pottery at the Santander Bank in Chilmark through December 26. She also sells seconds in her studio. Call her at 508-560-0324.
The Winter Farmers’ Market continues at the Ag Hall this Saturday from 10 am to 1 pm.
Some sad news from Long Island City: Ann Leggett died the morning of December 12. Ann was a well-known painter both on Island and off, a classical painter of polished brushstrokes in this age of loose, interpretive mark-making. She was proud of her Art Student’s League training, where she studied with Frank Mason, and she exhibited regularly. On the Island, Ann showed her work at the Granary Gallery when it was owned by Brandy and Bruce, then at my gallery for many years. Ann never missed the Ag Fair; she was here this past summer.
When I met Ann, her parents Stan and Barbara Leggett, still lived in the Greek Revival house on Edgartown Road across from Old County. Barbara was a sculptor and shared her studio space in the barn behind their house with Ann when she came from New York for the summer. They had wonderful parties in that barn, filled with art and artists and sparkling conversation. Fittingly, they sold the house to artists Rez Williams and Lucy Mitchell, who now have their studios in the barn.
I walk around my house, looking at years of Ann’s paintings I have collected and loved. I remember her sitting at my dining room table with a still life set up on a rainy day, a cigarette dangling from her lips, intent on her work, then stopping to show it off.
Ann had her passions. She painted scenes around the Island, many with recognizable people posed carrying a mattress or walking horses across a barnyard or sitting on Alley’s porch. She also painted wherever she traveled, always from life. Mexico, Libya, Italy, Japan. She drew and painted, never photographed, immersing herself in the life and language and culture that interested her.
She was active at the United Nations, active in politics, active in life. It’s difficult to imagine her not living it, not waving her hands and talking in her articulate, enunciated, energetic way. It’s impossible to imagine her not painting.