Authors Posts by Hermine Hull

Hermine Hull

Hermine Hull
Got West Tisbury news? Contact Hermine Hull here.

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Posters courtesy Martha's Vineyard Museum

A visit to the Martha’s Vineyard Museum exhibition of Tashtego posters is like a trip down memory lane. Although it is only a small selection, a dozen posters in all, arranged in a small room, I could feel the remembered excitement of wondering what “this year’s poster” would be, what owners Ted and Jane had come up with this time. They were always eagerly anticipated, sought-after treasures collected year after year by devoted fans of art, good design, Ted and Jane Farrow, and their store Tashtego, a colorful and modern home furnishing store with upscale furniture, kitchen gear, and treasures from near and far, that was a fixture on Main Street, Edgartown, for almost 30 years.

Tashtego was already a legend when I moved to Edgartown in 1982. Ted Farrow had started the store in 1967, the same year I began studying interior design at Pratt Institute. One of the early posters features the following list written in Ted’s hand:

“Again, Tashtego brings to Martha’s Vineyard contemporary furnishings and accessories of distinction…Representing Knoll, Georg Jensen, Herman Miller, and for the first time Dansk and Bonniers … New lighting from Italy, flatware and china from Denmark, bedding and seating from Norway … From Memorial Day through Columbus Day. Tashtego Associates, Edgartown, Massachusetts … Ted Farrow, Marre Squier, Jane Damroth”

Reading this list was like reading a course syllabus on the best contemporary design from the Bauhaus era right up to those exuberant 1960s. I can remember going on field trips to the Museum of Modern Art and the Decorating & Design Building to see displays of furniture designed by Mies van der Rohe, Charles Eames, Warren Platner, Marcel Breuer, textiles from Jack Lenor Larsen and Anni Albers, Noguchi lamps, and Georg Jensen flatware that looked like pieces of modern art. And here it all was, right on Main Street, Edgartown, offered by a young designer who looked like a piece of modern sculpture himself.

Blue Cullen and Nancy Rogers both worked at Tashtego at different times during the late 1970s and into the 1990s. We met there, and they have remained among my oldest friends on the Island. So it was only natural that I called them to meet me at the museum, where we began trying to remember what year which poster came out, which ones Ted designed and which were done by his friend and cohort, artist Don Carrick. We decided to call Jane to help us. It was great fun to show her everything via Blue’s cell phone and to hear her comments and reminiscences.

So, to begin. As you enter the room, the first poster on the right is what became Tashtego’s logo. It was done by a friend of Ted’s who lived in Chicago. Although it looks printed, like a woodcut or stencil, it was actually hand-drawn and has Herman Melville’s quote from “Moby Dick,describing “the Gay Header, Tashtego.” Ted’s brother, Rod, mentioned their boyhood fascination with “Moby Dick, and thought that was why the name was chosen. Regardless, it is a brilliant piece of design, instantly recognizable, that performed its job of being associated in viewers’ minds with the store. The image was blown up to hang on an interior wall of Tashtego, presiding over its realm, as the spear-wielding figure regarded the sea beneath him.

IMG_0176.JPGAs you might imagine, several years’ posters use the theme of Tashtego and/or whales. My favorite is a deceptively simple graphic, three colors only, of a black whale and white birds on a blue background. Simple, but perfect.

Another shows a humpback whale breaching multicolored waves, softly painted in watercolor washes by Don Carrick. And another is Don’s painting of Tashtego as a weathervane, standing tall as he did in reality atop Ted and Jane’s shed on Abel’s Hill.

Some of the posters have nothing to do with whaling at all. One year, Ted and Don went searching the Island for a wood lily, to bring attention to it as an endangered wildflower. Don painted a large red wood lily with arching leaves. His painting of a blue lobster became a children’s book, written by his wife, Carol Carrick, with whom he collaborated on many well-known books for children.

A curlew by Chilmark carver and fisherman Herbert Hancock was photographed by Mark Lovewell. Ted photographed a pre-Columbian mask, rather a haunting image. One not in the show is of a seagull against a dark background, a composition of grays, photographed by William Damroth. One year, Don Carrick painted a rather moody composition of a seashell, a cloud, and the moon; another year, a colorful map of the Island with a flock of birds swooping overhead.

The first year, 1967, Ted sent out an announcement of the opening of Tashtego. The second year, he sent the above-mentioned whale/birds/blue ground poster as a thank you to his customers. People liked the image, but complained that they didn’t want it creased and sent through the mail. That was the idea for an annual poster. Every Memorial Day the new poster appeared in the center of the store’s window on Main Street. It was always an occasion.

IMG_0179.JPGMuseum director David Nathans told us how the poster exhibition came about. “We had a couple in inventory, pulled them out one day, and said, ‘These are wonderful contemporary images.’ A couple of years later, we connected with Rod Farrow about digitizing old films he had, and asked about Ted and Tashtego.” Rod referred him to Jane, now living in Florida, and Jane told him to call her son, David Damroth, who had many of the remaining posters. Sadly, Ted had died in 2011. He would have enjoyed the project and sharing his stories.

It would be wonderful to have a complete set of posters from all the years of Tashtego. So far, the museum has 14. If Tashtego was in business from 1967 to 1995, and they didn’t begin printing posters till maybe the third year, Blue and I figured there must be 28. So there are more out there to discover.

Tashtego eventually stayed open year-round, and their stock expanded from designer furniture to lots of other things, as well. They had Copco cookware and kitchenware, unusual objects Ted and Jane discovered on their travels, wonderful Christmas ornaments, Don Carrick’s oil paintings. It was the place to go for the perfect wedding present or something for your own house. It was special and unique, like the posters that surprised us every year, and remain as a visual tribute to a time when good design was sought out and truly mattered.

Tashtego posters, currently on display at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum through the first week of November. For additional information, call the museum at 508-627-4441.

Lynne Whiting referred to our recent weather as “a nice New England welcome!” She, Allen, Bea, Asa, and Patrick Ruel returned last week from a visit to Salt Lake City, where they attended the wedding of Lynne’s nephew, Dominic Franciose, to Laurel Carnes. Lynne described “a wonderful reunion for me and my three siblings, our nine children and their partners/spouses, and four grandchildren. We also had a lovely gathering remembering my mom, Mary Erickson, as we spread her ashes in the Memory Garden at Holladay United Church of Christ. The weather was dry and hot, so coming home to the current wind and rain was a nice New England welcome!”

Some might describe it differently, but I agree with Lynne. I have always loved a storm, and last week was several days of wind and, finally, good soaking rain. Reports range from 3½ to 5½ inches around town. I guess there were some branches down, but no major damage, and we really needed this rain. Ponds are looking replenished. The landscape is no longer crackling underfoot. I hope our water table will be sufficient to maintain trees and shrubs through the coming winter.

During Pope Francis’s visit to America, he spoke repeatedly about climate change and the need for all of us to care for our natural environment. The Rev. Cathlin Baker and David Fielder of the West Tisbury Church have planned a series of three weekly meetings in response to the Pope’s encyclical. “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home” begins this Thursday, Oct. 8, and continues Oct. 15 and 22. All are welcome to attend; friends from our community and other congregations are invited. Cathlin’s group will meet at 11 am, and David’s group will meet at 7 pm. Please sign up at or on a sign-up sheet in the Parish Hall.

Last Saturday’s Living Local Harvest Festival seemed hardly daunted by the weather. The Ag Hall and tents outside were filled with visitors, vendors, displays, and information. It was fun to watch children trying experiments, making electricity light up and power toys. There were the most beautiful vegetables, Kate Warner’s bread-making demos, blankets and garments from the alpaca farm, charts for saving electricity and free night lights at Cape Light Compact’s table, and a whole tent full of seed-saving information and supplies.

The Antique Engine Show was on, too. Michael Cutler brought his 1933 Dodge pickup, polished to a fare-thee-well and complete with hood ornament. The museum was full of guys discussing the benefits and drawbacks of different pieces of equipment. All in all, a pretty good day.

We ran into Tommy Thomas there. His first words were, “She was tickled pink all day.” Mike had brought Nanuk over for a visit the day before. Nan knew right where she was. She ran down the hall and jumped up on Mari Harman’s bed, where kisses and hugs ensued. Nan had been Mari’s dog before we adopted her, but when she and Mari see each other, it’s always a love fest.

Before I forget, welcome back to Gail Gardner, and all good wishes to Linley Dolby, whatever you decide to do next. Edgartown was my first home on the Island, and I have been a devoted reader of both of your columns.

I ran into Tim Boland the other day and heard the beginning of the story of his annual trip to visit his family in northern Michigan. He very kindly sent this detailed version to share. This was Tim’s 25th consecutive September going to Lake Leelanau, a small town near Lake Michigan. The past few years have included trips to either South or North Manitou Island. This year was no exception. Tim and his sister, Shane, who teaches science at a nearby charter school, took the 1½-hour ferry ride to North Manitou Island, part of the National Park System since 1984. The island features virgin uncut forests, immense perched dunes, and spectacular views back to the mainland and to the islands beyond. Although accommodations have been restricted to backcountry camping since the island became a national park, this year Tim and Shane stayed in a friend’s cottage, the only one on the island: “To have a bed, electricity, stove, and running water seemed like the Ritz Carlton in comparison to tent camping.” They hiked over 20 miles of trails the first two days. On the last day, Tim took a solo trip to the southern portion of the island, beachcombing and looking at dune plants unique to the island. Many grass species are the same as on the Vineyard; however, the entire flora is much different, with very few oaks. Trees grow over 100 feet tall, spared from the lumberman’s saw during the great timber clearing of 1850-1900.

Back on the mainland, Tim visited his sister, Maura, in Traverse City, then went on to his hometown, Grand Rapids, to see his brother, David, and extended family. Tim will return in mid-October to lead a group of oak experts on a botanical foray to southwest Michigan. “The largest sugar maples and native beech grow in this area, and should be in peak fall color. Don’t be surprised if I come back with seeds!”

Rosalie Powell is starting a new class, Rug Hooking for Beginners, at her West Tisbury studio next Wednesday, Oct. 14. Classes will meet from 1 to 3 pm, continuing Oct. 21 and 28. Cost is $15. Please preregister: 508-693-1984.

Don’t forget that the library, schools, and town offices are closed for Columbus Day on Monday, Oct. 12.

The good news is that next weekend, Oct. 18, the library begins Sunday hours, 1 to 5 pm. Special events this week are: Saturday, Oct. 10, 10:30 to 12:30, come build a fairy or troll house. The library has graciously given over its back garden as a haven for their homes. Some materials will be provided, but participants are asked to bring some to share. Bark, feathers, shells, seed pods, sticks, carved-out pumpkin shells, fur, pine cones, mosses and lichens, dried plants, and anything else you think might do. Call the library that morning if the weather looks iffy; the rain date is Thanksgiving weekend.

At 2:30 Saturday afternoon, botanical artist Elaine Searle will present “Floral Adventures: A Talk on Women Botanical Artists.” She will talk about both historical and contemporary artists, and include her own work. The program is in collaboration with Polly Hill Arboretum.

Thursday, Oct. 15, from 5 to 6 pm, there will be a conflict-resolution discussion in honor of National Conflict Awareness Day. Katherine Triantafillou, Richard Barbieri, Peter Melaney, and Roland Miller will lead the conversation about how mediation, restorative justice, peace circles, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution offer new ways of solving conflict.

Martha’s Vineyard Democratic Council will meet this Saturday, Oct. 10, 9 to 10:30, at the Howes House. The agenda includes updates and discussion of the presidential campaign and state convention, energy bill, study committee, and issues relevant to Island voters. Bernie Sanders’ campaign will be discussed at this meeting.

Of interest to Bernie Sanders fans, “Island Bern” is the Vineyard’s local chapter to get Bernie Sanders elected president. Their meetings are at the Howes House every first and third Monday at 7 pm.

Drinking tea with a friend is a good rainy-afternoon activity, so I was happy to be invited over to Chris Gruelich’s last week. Her house was warm and smelling of the chocolate confection heating in the oven. We had barely seen each other all summer, so this was a good opportunity to talk and catch up on everything. I don’t know where the summer went.



I just don’t know where to begin this week’s column. Nothing feels right, like the world is in total upheaval. Maybe it’s some weird effect of the full moon or the eclipse, although it was amazing to watch. Maybe it’s the feeling of shorter days, less light, impending winter. I don’t know, but I feel out of sorts, and everyone and everything around me seems that way, too. The house seems messier than usual, the dogs both need baths, I need to go grocery shopping, and one of our best friends has died. It all feels overwhelming.

The town did turn out in full for the memorial service for Ernie Mendenhall on Saturday. It was an extra-beautiful day, perfect early autumn weather. Ernie’s blue truck was parked right out front of the Ag Hall; vehicles of similar vintage and careful restoration arrayed in the circular drive. An honor guard of West Tisbury firemen and policemen stood respectfully at the hall’s entrance. Bill Logue, Kathy’s brother, welcomed everyone and introduced Ernie’s brother Lee, his oldest friend, George Wanner, son-in-law Erik Lowe, grandson Aaron Lowe, and son Brad Mendenhall, all of whom spoke with warmth and affection and humor. Erik and Cheryl Lowe, Megan Mendenhall, and Marie Betit, Ernie’s eldest granddaughter, sang and played guitar. Afterward, the potluck was astonishing. All in all, a tribute to Ernie and his family by members of this community he so well loved and served.

This week, another member of our community has died. George Hough was a thorough gentleman, dapper in the old-school way, with the beautiful manners and speech we all used to be brought up with. I remember getting to know him when he ran for a position on the library board, and I became quite fond of him and his wife, Mary Lu. He was devoted to conservation issues, served on the Sheriff’s Meadow Board for many years, and also as West Tisbury’s Land Bank representative. Mary Lu told me the family plans a memorial service at a later date. My condolences to Mary Lu and their family, and to their many friends.

Mary Lu also told me that her granddaughter had just called to announce that she and her husband are expecting twins. I look forward to writing about their arrival when the time comes.

Don’t forget the Living Local Harvest Festival and Antique Engine Show this Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Ag Hall. It’s always a great day.

I hope everyone got to see the plein air painting show in Vineyard Haven last week. It was quite wonderful. The artists had all gone to spots chosen all around the Island, and it was interesting to compare their different views of the same places. They had a lovely opening, where I met Kim McCarthy, who was here from Ojai, Calif., visiting her sister and brother-in-law, Valentine and Rick Estabrook. It was a fortuitous time for a visit, as Kim was a big help to Valentine and the other painters hanging the show and organizing the opening and related events.

The library’s Lego Club will meet this Saturday afternoon, Oct. 3, from 2:30 to 4:30. All ages are welcome.

Julie Prazich is the library’s artist of the month for October. She is a printmaker, making monoprints “inspired by her experiences with people facing life transition and the caregivers, professionals, and family and friends who support them.” She is a retired hospice physician. She will also be exhibiting fish made from wood or fused glass. Later in the month, she will teach a fish-painting class, and there will be an artist’s reception so we can all meet her and hear about her work.

I hope people read this early enough to attend Cape Light Compact’s information session today, Oct. 1, 5:30 to 7, in the Martha’s Vineyard Commission office at the Stone Building in Oak Bluffs. They will present their Energy Efficiency Program for the next three years. The EEPs are what homeowners, small businesses, and town governments use when they get audits and recommendations about tightening up their buildings. If you can’t make it, information is online at The contact person is Maggie Downey, at 800-797-6699 or

Anyone wondering why Scotchman’s Lane was closed off part of Sunday or why they saw plumes of what appeared to be smoke along Old County Road, rest assured that it was nothing bad. Island firefighters were participating in a course, Pumps and Hydraulics, at Station 2 in West Tisbury. Their field practice was what you saw. Instructors from Massachusetts Firefighting Academy were on the Island to teach the weekend course. West Tisbury firemen who took the class were Kenny Mastramonaco, Russ Hartenstine, Eric Medeiros, Brynn Schaffner, Greg Pachico, and my husband, Mike Hull. Mike came home both days with tales of new methods and equipment, but one highlight (Mike said there were many) of the weekend was pumping 2,100 gallons per minute from Factory Brook. Kent Healy was on hand monitoring the water level, which at times looked as if it might run dry.

I suppose many of us spent at least part of the weekend watching and reading about Pope Francis’s visit to the United States. What a remarkable man. I had to laugh, though, at the image of myself on Friday evening as I watched him chanting the beautiful Catholic Mass in Latin at Madison Square Garden, my Sabbath candles lit and glowing on the table by my side.


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The art historian enlightened readers with her knowledge of the famous painter at the Chilmark library.

Right, painter Mark Rothko, the subject of Annie Cohen-Solal's recent book. – Photo courtesy

“What should I say about this place where the sky turned into a Rothko?”

That is how Annie Cohen-Solal ended her talk about the painter Mark Rothko at the Chilmark library on a recent Saturday afternoon, and where I will begin. The image on the screen was of an Island sunset, two blue rectangles of ocean and sky divided by a fiery orange line. Or a fiery orange space. The edges where the colors met shimmered and vibrated against one another, light-lit, the design reminiscent of Rothko’s most iconic canvases. Of course, you would have had to be outdoors in that all-encompassing color and light and space to experience the effect of Mark Rothko’s work.

By the end of his life in 1970, Rothko was able to carefully integrate his paintings to the place where they would hang and how they would be viewed. The canvases were huge, to envelop the viewer, to close out all but the painting in the viewer’s sight. Benches were placed in the center of the room to invite contemplation. The lights were dimmed to just the right brightness to allow the painted surface to glow from its own layers of thinly glazed color, one atop the next, a mixture of eggs and pigment and medium the artist devised. He invited the viewer to enter the world he created. The most famous is the de Menil Chapel referred to in the title of Ms. Cohen-Solal’s book.

I have always loved Mark Rothko’s paintings, introduced to them when I was in art school in New York City in the 1960s. I had never seen or imagined art like that. Indeed, most of the world hadn’t either. So it was with great excitement that I heard about this new biography of Rothko by Ms. Cohen-Solal. Even better was the news that the author would be speaking at the Chilmark library. I told all of my artist friends about it, and made plans to attend. Then I contacted the author and asked if we might meet. She agreed.

Ms. Cohen-Solal’s book was not at all what I expected. There are hardly any reproductions. It’s small, 8½ by 6 inches, standard book size. It’s not a coffee table art book, but truly a biographical study from the well-researched perspective of an historian. It is her third book in a trilogy that explores the migrant in society, how the personal history shapes the story. The other titles in the series are “Leo and His Circle: The Life of Leo Castelli” and “Sartre: A Life.

Rothko was born in the Jewish Pale of Settlement in 1903. His family, though secular, decided to educate young Marcus Rotkovich in the rigorous, traditional Talmud Torah. That time of Talmudic study, though brief, seemed to affect the way he lived and painted — the intellectual questioning and rigor with which he approached both his personal and his art lives. It was this quality of Rothko that attracted Ms. Cohen-Solal to write about him: “I had always loved his work. He represents a type of intellectual painter.”

"White Center" (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose) by Mark Rothko.
“White Center” (Yellow, Pink and Lavender on Rose) by Mark Rothko.

Briefly, the family emigrated to America when Marcus was 10 years old. They ended up in Portland, Ore. He was admitted to Yale, where he and three friends from Portland all left early on, intimidated and excluded by the anti-Semitism they encountered. Rothko decided to become an artist, moved to New York City, studied briefly, but was mostly self-taught. He met and became friends with some of the most influential artists of the 1950s and ’60s. He wrote a book called “The Artist’s Reality: Philosophies of Art” in the early 1940s. It remained a pile of handwritten pages until his children found and published it after his death. It is difficult reading at times, but exhilarating to read the words and thoughts of a brilliant artist and philosopher on the history of art, the development of his own theories, set in a period of great intellectual and artistic exploration.

But back to Ms. Cohen-Solal’s book. She describes her study of Rothko as “my way of exploring a cultural agent’s impact (be it a writer, an artist, an intellectual whose impact is a symbolic one) is to connect her/his ‘productions’ to the context in which her/his experiences are settled. Thus, in the case of Rothko, it slowly became evident to me that being a migrant and suffering rough times both in Russia and in the U.S. (pogroms, anti-Semitism, rejections, downward social mobility, Jewish anti-Semitism as well) prompted him to react as an activist by refusing to become a victim of the situation and rather by fighting, writing, expressing his own opinions. For an intellectual kid raised in the Talmud Torah with a high respect for education, the disappointment after leaving Yale drove him to look for other ways of finding an identity in U.S. society, and he decided that this other way would be art…. And for me, Rothko becomes one of those passeurs (“bridgers” in English) who can cross boundaries between cultures, genres, and societies. Besides, can’t we say that the blurred borders in his paintings (rectangles of colors floating on top of the other one) remind us of the blurred borders of the geographical territory where he was born?”

All very stimulating. I like using my mind. Reading and speaking and corresponding with Ms. Cohen-Solal provided me with not only a new perspective on the work of Mark Rothko, but ideas to expand my own thoughts about painting, art, artists in society. I think anyone reading this book will find it so.

I have a very vivid memory of the first time I saw Mark Rothko paintings. I am sitting in a room, dimly lit, surrounded by paintings of enormous size and power. It was 1967. I remember it as clearly as if it just happened. I remember it being a room at the Jewish Museum in New York. I have told people about this in the context of writing this story. But I can’t find any mention of a show at the Jewish Museum or even anything in New York at that time. Still, it remains in my mind. The size, combinations/juxtapositions of colors, the luminosity of the surfaces, the ambiguity of the image/nonimage, the unexpectedness of it all. I learned a lot about painting that afternoon, even as it remains a puzzlement of a memory.

It feels like a perfect fall day. It was cold this morning when we took our walk. The dogs still went into the water, but I walked along the beach wearing a cozy flannel shirt and observing the colors changing along the shore. Beach roses have huge red hips. Poison ivy and sumac are turning red, too. Grasses are fading, and the landscape is framed in a thicket of goldenrod.

I begin this week’s news with the passing of Ernie Mendenhall. Building and Zoning Inspector, fireman, EMT, sailor, builder, tinkerer with almost anything mechanical, husband, father, dear friend. I don’t know why, but my mother’s description of Heaven when we were young kids came into my mind. She told us that in Heaven everyone had their own cloud. You would have everything special that you wanted on your cloud. So I started thinking about Ernie’s cloud.

His youngest daughter, Megan, helped me, and I think we covered everything. Here goes: Ernie’s cloud will be set as an island in the ocean, with a beautiful port, a sailboat tied to the dock, always a good wind. On the island itself would be a library of endless new books, a comfortable reading chair, strong coffee, BLTs made with iceberg lettuce, good steaks perfectly cooked, a workshop with every tool he could wish for, and a used car lot next door.

I was glad Ernie got to the Ag Fair this summer, glad that the Ag Hall will be the place his memorial service will be held this Saturday, Sept. 26, at 3 o’clock. There will be a potluck after the service, so please bring a side dish or dessert to share. Bring your memories and stories, too, and if you like, Kathy asks other car and truck aficionados to drive their oldest or favorite vehicle to the service. A fitting tribute to Ernie, the ultimate gearhead.

Sincere condolences to Kathy Logue, Megan Mendenhall, Brad Mendenhall and Lisa Strachan, Cheryl and Erik Lowe and their children Emily and Aaron, Trish and Herb Pelkey and their children Marie Betit, Caitlin and Nash Pelkey, and Ernie’s brother Lee and his wife Mary Anne and their daughters. And to Margaret Logue; Ernie really did love his mother-in-law.

One of the nice things about September is catching up with friends you haven’t seen or talked with all summer. Linda Alley was one of those friends. I found out that she had stopped making mustards and concentrated on her jams and jellies. Two new flavors, grapefruit marmalade (made at the request of Dan Waters — it’s his favorite) and lavender nectarine, have been great successes. Linda has been busy making beach plum jelly. She picked over 200 pounds of beach plums that made about 120 jars. She has made batches of choke cherry jelly, too. Autumn olive comes next.

I asked about Linda’s brother. Jamie directed “The Cat’s Meow” at the Footlight Club in Jamaica Plain. Linda actually went off-Island during the summer to see it. “My brother directed it, and it was great, a murder mystery about William Randolph Hearst, set on his boat.”

Sunday afternoon I went to Lia Kahler’s benefit concert for the homeless and veterans. She was joined by Richard Gordon on the piano, Phil Dietterich on the organ, and Cesar Atzic Marquez on the viola. The concert was fabulous. Loads of familiar West Tisbury faces, including Debby and Harry Athearn, who invited me out to dinner after the performance. We had a great time and caught up on all the Athearn family news. I had commented on how nice it was to see Simon raising his family in his great-uncle Leonard’s house down on Town Cove. The whole Athearn clan had gathered there on Sept. 15, to celebrate what would have been their father, Mike’s, hundredth birthday had he lived. Four siblings and their children and grandchildren: Harry and Debby Athearn; Jim and Debbie Athearn; Connie and Bob Taylor; John Athearn. Also attending were Great-Uncle Clifton Athearn, cousin Charlie Kernick and his wife, Stevie, and Connie’s friend Karen Kidder, who grew up in West Tisbury.

Several West Tisbury artists are exhibiting at the former Beadnik’s on Church Street in Vineyard Haven. The group has been out painting en plein aire at several sites around the island. It’s a beautiful show. They have planned several events: Paint With an Artist on Thursday, Sept. 24, 6 to 8 pm; Music in the Gallery Friday, Sept. 25, 6 to 8 pm, and Tuesday, Sept. 29, 6 to 8 pm; and An Artist Demonstration next Sunday, Sept. 27, 6 to 8 pm. The nine painters are Leslie Baker, Lowely Finnerty, Judith Howells, Kanta Lipsky, Marjorie Mason, June Schoppe, Kate Taylor, Liz Taft, and Valentine. The show will be open daily from noon to 5 pm through Sept. 29.

The West Tisbury library, in collaboration with the Healthy Aging Task Force, will host a discussion on hospice care on Martha’s Vineyard on Monday, Sept. 28, at 5:30 pm. Ellen McCabe, director of professional education at Hope Health/Hope Hospice, and Terre Young, executive director of Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard, will speak and answer questions.

The Friends of the Library have written the following statement: “As year-round sorters of books donated to the library book sale, we would like to thank all who bring us their clean, intact books. Lately, we have received a lot of books that are moldy, mildewy, or have missing covers, pages falling out or bindings torn or missing. In less than a month we have filled a large dumpster almost to the top. Even though these books are recycled, it costs a lot each time we have to have the dumpster emptied. This is money the library could use. So please look over your books before you bring them over, and if they are in poor condition, put them in your recycling and save us the time and money. Thank you. P.S. Textbooks, Bibles, magazines, phone books and travel books older than two years are also not acceptable.”

I have noticed the light changing. It’s dark enough by 7 o’clock to put the porch light on for Mike when he comes home. The sliver moon is growing into a half moon. The last couple of nights have been cold enough to pull up the quilt. Time to look for the flannel sheets. Mike has been working on our woodpile, getting ready for the eventual nightly fires in our woodstove. Every simple dinner of fish, salad, and corn on the cob feels like it will soon be the last till next year.

We finally had much-wished-for rain. Four inches, give or take. Although I sympathize with anyone with a flooded basement, or roads or driveways washed out, I am so grateful for the rain and the misty days that have followed. Also the drop in humidity and cooler temperatures. What a relief.

Compliments to the West Tisbury School for the new plantings by the driveway, bright cushions of chrysanthemums. What a cheerful welcome to returning teachers, students, and parents.

Kathy and Norman Lobb have just returned from visiting their daughters off-Island. Dee and Doug Quesnel live in Huntington, Vt., and Amanda and Roger Clary in Rouse’s Point, N.Y. Kathy said, “We had a great time hiking, kayaking, visiting a winery and a couple of microbreweries. Now we’re ready to settle in for the fall.”

Buffy Weber, Rob Stevens, and Allison Hepler were all at the Slocum House over the weekend, having a last bit of family and Island time. Rob and Allison returned to Maine on Sunday. Buffy will drive her and Rob’s mom, Dorothy Barthelmes, back home to Bethesda, Md., after Dorothy’s annual visit. Six weeks didn’t seem long enough for us to do everything, but I hope Dorothy enjoyed her West Tisbury sojourn. We are already looking forward to her coming back at the beginning of August 2016, although we tried to convince her to just stay right through the winter.

David and Libby Fielder are busy “playing tourist” with Libby’s brother, Mike Wade, who arrived from Washington State for the week. They have a full itinerary planned. The highlight will be a trip to Aquinnah to see the newly moved lighthouse.

I saw Robert Herman at the Hebrew Center Sunday evening and asked how Fia was doing. You may remember Giulia Fleishman going to study in Israel and looking for a home for her dog while she is away. Robert and his wife, Madelyn Way, agreed to take her in. Robert reports that “Fia is definitely in charge of the household, getting along just fine, but Giulia will have trouble getting her away from Madelyn.” Apparently Fia and Madelyn have bonded. “She’s a great dog.” But, of course, we knew that before.

Sunday evening was the beginning of the Jewish New Year. The sanctuary at the Hebrew Center was filled with worshipers, music, and good cheer. The world around us feels particularly filled with challenges. I know that the refugee crisis in Europe was on everyone’s mind. I cannot begin to imagine leaving my home and everything I have ever known to get into a boat or to just begin walking, not knowing where I would end up, or even if I would be alive to end up anywhere. I hope this New Year brings some resolution and peace to our beleaguered world.

West Tisbury friends of Marie Burnett are invited to a memorial service and champagne reception this Thursday afternoon, Sept. 17, from 4 to 6 o’clock, at Grace Church.

This Sunday, Sept. 20, the Island Clergy Association is sponsoring “A Place for Us,” a concert to raise money for Island homeless and veterans. The concert, which will feature mezzo-soprano Lia Kahler, begins at 3 pm at the Old Whaling Church.

Pam Thors wants to remind anyone interested in applying for a Community Preservation Grant that applications are due this Friday, Sept. 18. You can find application forms and information online at Applications can be sent online to or with Pam at Town Hall; her phone is 508-696-0100, x120.

Polly Hill Arboretum is offering an Introduction to Grasses workshop given by Dennis Magee, author of “Grasses of the Northeast.” The two-day workshop will be held Wednesday, Sept. 23, from 9 to 4, and Thursday, Sept. 24, from 9 to 2. It will include labs, lectures, and fieldwork. Cost is $120, $100 for PHA members, and $80 for professionals with island land management or conservation organizations. Preregistration is required.

At the West Tisbury library this week, Dr. Elliott Dacher will talk on Monday, Sept. 21, 7 pm, about “Happiness Without a Reason.” Friday, Sept. 25, six of the 87 contributors to “The Widows’ Handbook” will speak and read from the anthology of poems by contemporary widows. Speakers are: Jacqueline Lapidus, Susanne Braham, Donna Hilbert, Susan Maher, Christine Silverstein, and Holly Zeeb.

The Derby started Sunday at 12:01 am, and will run through Oct. 17. Avid fishermen and women will be out all hours of the day and night, onshore and off. Be extra kind to anyone you see looking particularly ragged over the next month, and hope for euphoric victory for yourself or someone you love.


Mike and I just came back from our morning walk on the beach with our dogs. Lots of dogs around this morning, so lots of play. Getting out of the car we met Buddy from Albany, a jolly black shaggy fellow, very well-behaved, who we later saw going by in a kayak paddled by his owner. Nanuk began swimming along following her new friend, but came back to shore when called.

Nanuk has developed an ear for Mike’s fire pager. For a while she was waking us up in the night if any fire call was heard. Mike would pet her head and tell her it wasn’t West Tisbury, to go back to sleep. She did, but has gradually learned to differentiate West Tisbury’s tone from the others. On a walk the other morning, a call for West Tisbury fire alarm personnel stopped her in her tracks. She looked up at Mike, turned tail, and ran straight back to his truck, ready to go. What a great dog she is.

Lest Talley get her nose out of joint, an accolade for her: She is my perfect companion. She has always walked by my side, even without a leash, stayed close by when I’m out painting or working around the house or garden. She is quietly wherever I am. Playful and silly, as dogs should be, and certainly capable of getting into mischief, but also capable of lying on the sofa when I’m reading or writing. Maybe not on the sofa so much, anymore; her stiffening hips keep her on the floor beside the sofa these days.

Last week, someone told me it was National Dog Day. Whenever it was, it is always Dog Day at our house.

There must be a National Cat Day sometime, too. Nelson is the ruler of the world, at least of the world as he knows it. He is the handsomest orange fellow, totally full of himself; indulged by Mike and me, feared by Talley, played with and loved by Nanuk (he’s really her cat.) He swaggers. He announces his impending arrival by yowling as he crosses the yard and appears at the door. He still bites.

Anyone who has pets accepts them and their foibles into their homes and hearts. I can’t imagine a life without two dogs and a cat, the arrangement Mike and I have had throughout our years together. There were times with three dogs (never again) or two cats (that was OK), but two dogs and a cat feels just right.

Not sure where this is all coming from. It may be from hearing David Crohan at Long Hill Sunday afternoon. One of his songs was written for his, Collette’s, and a friend’s dogs, in their voices, from their points of view. Very poignant. And witty, of course.

Julia Humphreys told me that Lee DeVitt died on August 11. Lee lived on Oak Lane when she was still in town. She moved to Racine, Wis., several years ago to be near her daughter, Patty Blakesley. Lee and Julia were great friends, so kept in touch. I remember Lee as an artist and a wonderful gardener. My condolences to Patty and to all Lee’s family and friends.

Joanne Scott, Mike, and I were invited to dinner with Sue Hruby and Jared Hull last Saturday night for an always delicious dinner and to see pictures of Sue and Jared’s trip to Iceland. I was jealous to see them shivering in parkas as the temperatures and humidity here were horrible. Iceland was surprisingly beautiful. Very green. Even some of the houses’ roofs were grass-covered and seemed to blend into the surrounding landscape. There were some surprisingly modern steel and glass buildings; we saw a commercial on television that showed an iconic structure Mike immediately recognized. There was also a museum built to honor author Thorbergur Thordarson, the structure made up of red-painted wooden “books” representing everything he wrote. There were mountains and icebergs, waterfalls, rock-filled rapids. Sue and Jared both proudly held up the salmon they caught. It looked like they had a pretty good time.

I went into Edgartown last week to look at the Tashtego poster exhibition at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. It was wonderful, small — only a dozen posters — but beautifully displayed and so nostalgic. Many happy times at Tashtego with Jane and Ted Farrow, Blue Cullen, and Nancy Rogers. The show will be up at least through September, so do go.

Also at the museum is the 2015 Island Faces exhibition of portraits by Island artists.

As I walked around, I saw an odd little painting, “Mabel Johnson in Her Garden, 1955″ by Stan Murphy. Mabel Johnson was adored by the women in our family; indeed, on one of our car trips to Florida, Janice Hull told me all about Mrs. Johnson’s being sent out west on an orphan train, her very hard childhood, her years on the Vineyard living on the corner of State and Old County Road (where Louise Bessire lives now), her beautiful braided rugs, and the flower gardens that were her greatest pride. Many West Tisbury children remember weeding in Mrs. Johnson’s garden under her watchful eye.

On a somber note, I saw Doug Brush and Emily Fischer at the Artisans Festival this past weekend, and asked how their son, Milo, did with his farm stand this summer. Turns out, Milo (age 5) had put out about $30 worth of produce on his stand, and at the end of the day everything was gone, including all but $2 or $3. Needless to say, he didn’t do it again, but sold his produce to Cronig’s for the rest of the summer, earning a tidy sum. I am outraged, a term I don’t use lightly, that anyone would rip off anyone’s honor system farm stand, but especially that of a 5-year-old boy.

The Artisans Festival was a great place to run into lots of people I hadn’t seen all summer. Andrea Gabel-Jorgensen, Lisa Strachan, Liz Taft, Helayne Cohen, Candy Shweder, Dan Waters; all talented artists. The weekly Artisans Shows continue Sundays through Columbus Day weekend at the Grange Hall.

Valerie Sonnenthal and her son, Sawyer Klebs, were there, and we got into a conversation about feet. Valerie has been trained in MELT method work for hands and feet, and does classes at her Peaked Hill Studio. Sawyer is making shoes. I had never met anyone who makes handmade shoes, customized to the buyer’s own feet. They look so comfortable, and nothing like the bespoke English shoes advertised in the New Yorker or the New York Times.

Annie Cohen-Solal has written a biography of Mark Rothko, one of my favorite artists. She will be speaking about him this Saturday, Sept. 12, 5 pm, at the Chilmark library. I am telling all my friends, and can hardly wait to hear the reading and lecture.

Martha’s Vineyard Democrats will meet Saturday morning, Sept. 12, 9 to 10:30, at the Howes House. Lots to discuss as this presidential election season is underway.

Two one-act plays will be staged at Artspace (State Road across from Tea Lane Associates) next Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, Sept. 15 and 16. Jill Jupen is the author of “The 50-Minute Hour,” and Wayne K. Greenwell of “Marth Vader: The Vineyard’s Dark Side.” There are no tickets, and only about 25 seats, so come early for the 7:30 productions. A $10 suggested donation, although more will be gratefully accepted, will help pay the actors a small remuneration.

Joan Smith will be exhibiting a collection of her watercolors at Vineyard Playhouse Artspace. “Playwrights” will be on view from Sept. 18 to Oct. 16 during box office and production hours, and by appointment. A reception for the artist will be Saturday afternoon, Sept. 19, 4 to 6 o’clock.

Currently at Artspace is an interesting show by Paul Brissette, a collection of tools and shelves called “Artifact Shelving.”

At the West Tisbury library this week:

Saturday, Sept. 12, an artist’s reception for Lucy Mitchell, from 4 to 5 o’clock. Her new work, “Books, Albums and Papers” is a collection of accordion-folded books. They are beyond beautiful, based on Lucy’s observations of the natural world, her love of mark making, scripts, illumination, and some of the forms that books can take.

Monday, Sept. 14, Tweed Roosevelt’s 12-week reading club begins at 10 am. The first book is Paul Gallico’s “The Snow Goose.” At 7 pm, the monthly Writers Read group meets.

Wednesday, Sept. 16, meet members of the Martha’s Vineyard Cultural Council to ask questions and get help writing a grant proposal for their 2016 grant cycle. The workshop meets from 6:30 to 7:30.

I have saved the best for last. If you have always wanted to make your own beer, ACE MV is giving you the opportunity. The three-session class begins this Saturday afternoon, Sept. 12, 3 to 4:30. The $139 fee includes materials. Check out or call 508-693-9222 for information.

A dear friend died today, maybe while I was writing this column. Everybody knew Buzzy Blankenship and he knew everybody. He will be greatly missed.

Happy birthday wishes to my mother-in-law, Bobby Hull. We will all be having dinner and birthday cake tonight, Sept. 7, and singing for you.


After watching the opening into the Tisbury Great Pond remain open for a full eight months, it was surprising to see how quickly it closed, seemingly overnight. The pond is noticeably higher, the beach a little narrower, but still a nice walk with plenty of room for Talley and Nanuk and whatever other dogs are there to have a good romp.

Jessica Estrella and I had a leisurely visit at the library. We both commented that neither one of us was looking at the clock or rushing off. Nice to have time for a conversation. She mentioned the surprise party she had just given to celebrate her husband Manny IV’s 45th birthday. Guests were friends who had been in their wedding party, Manny’s groomsmen and their wives and children: Greg and Heidi Pachico with their daughters Amanda and Andrea; Kirk and Kelly Metell with sons Cody and Owen; Sean and Jocelyn Broadley with their son Garrett; Darin and Amanda Welch. Manny and Jessica’s children, Alley and Morgan, were there, too, having kept their mother’s secret. The kids played outside, while the grown-ups sat on the deck, ate and drank, and told funny stories about their high school days. Wishing you many happy returns, Manny.

Jessica mentioned that school is starting on Sept. 8, that Alley will start high school and Amanda Pachico is already a sophomore. We started talking about all the kids we know growing up. It seems so fast.

Megan Mendenhall will turn 21 this year, a sophomore at Smith. Soul Donnelly is starting third grade. Bianca Stafford just turned 2, and her cousin Olivia Bent will be 2 in December. Bizu Horwitz is studying for his bar mitzvah. Julian and Rose Herman and Violet Cabot are teenagers. Reed Cabot is in first grade. Mya O’Neill. Annabelle Brothers. Mark Clements. Natalie and Isabella Larsen. Jean and Oscar Flanders. The Morse girls. Maggie and Mark Bernard. Emily and Aaron Lowe, both in college. Hunter and Emmett Athearn. Everett and Kent Healy. I could go on.

Maciels, Rezendes, Belains, Fischers, Hayneses, and Thurbers — kids when I moved to town, all have children of their own. The day I met Tom Hodgson, he was carrying Lucy on his shoulders. It’s one of the nice things about living in the same place for so long, watching children grow up and begin their own families.

Maureen and Bob Fischer gave a party for Maureen’s mother, Marguerite McDonough, celebrating her 90th birthday. The Fischers’ daughter Collette and her two daughters, Lily and Ana, rounded out the guest list. Happy Birthday, Marguerite.

Gialle Ruhl has been here from Peninsula, Ohio, visiting her daughter, Salissa King, and grandchildren Emily, Noah, and Owen. Everyone seemed busy all the time, especially playing with BooBoo, their very adorable puppy.

 Dorothy Barthelmes invited Mike and me over for drinks last Saturday evening. Her son and daughter-in-law, Rob Stevens and Allison Hepler, were visiting from Bath, Maine. We were particularly eager to hear Robert tell us about his latest project, restoring the Ernestina. Rob is a master boatbuilder, and full of stories of his projects, construction details, the history of the ships, and the trips he has taken in the completed vessels.

The Ernestina was a Gloucester dory fishing schooner built in 1894 in Essex. Her original name was Effie M. Morrissey, after the daughter of her first captain. Over the years, she sailed out of Nova Scotia to Labrador and Newfoundland as a coastal trader, and between Providence, R.I., and Cape Verde transporting cargo and passengers. Her most famous voyages were to the Arctic under Captain Bob Bartlett from the late 1920s to the 1940s. Captain Bartlett took teenagers on his Arctic explorations, among them Fred Littleton of Chilmark, who sailed the Ernestina to the Vineyard and through Buzzards Bay as part of the reunion of the 1940 crew of “Bartlett Boys.” Her name was changed to Ernestina in 1948, after the daughter of new owner, Enrique Mendes.

At the moment, the newly renamed Ernestina-Morrissey is on a railway platform in Boothbay Harbor, sitting on keel blocks with cribwork to support her while her keel is replaced. She will be totally rebuilt, making modifications to fit current Coast Guard regulations, “to last for another 120 years,” as Rob said. She is currently owned by the State of Massachusetts, “the official tall ship of the commonwealth,” used for education and sailing training. Rebuilding will take approximately four years. If anyone has any information, or personal memories of the Ernestina, please let me know!

“Island Faces,” an exhibition of portraits of Island residents by Island artists, will open at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum Friday evening, Sept. 4, 5 to 7 pm. Also at the museum is a collection of posters produced by Ted and Jane Farrow for their Edgartown store, Tashtego, during the late 1960s-1990s.

Lucy Mitchell will show “Books, Albums and Papers,” a collection of accordion-folded books made this past year, at the West Tisbury library through September. There will be a reception next Saturday, Sept. 12, at 4 pm. The new work reflects Lucy’s interests in natural history, markings, scripts, illumination, and some of the forms books can take.

Lucy is currently also showing at A Gallery in Oak Bluffs. “Book Arts: Lucy Mitchell, Stella Waitzkin, and Carol Barsha” continues through Sept. 14.

Sign up at the library if you are interested in Steve Maxner’s 20-week Beginning Folk Guitar course. It’s free, and guitars will be provided. There will be a $20 fee for instructional materials.

Tweed Roosevelt will lead a 12-session reading group on overlooked gems, some of his favorite books. The first book will be “The Snow Goose,” by Paul Gallico. See the complete list and sign up at the library.

There will be drop-in crafts and movie matinees this Thursday and Friday, Sept. 3 and 4, at the library from 10:30 to 12:30.

Chris Fischer will give a cooking demonstration and Emma Young will show her original illustrations for “The Beetlebung Farm Cookbook: A Year of Cooking on Martha’s Vineyard” at the library on Saturday, Sept. 4, at 4 pm.

The Friends of the Library are asking anyone interested in joining to let the librarians know at the Circulation Desk or call 508-693-3366. The Friends provide support for so many programs, extra materials, special events, and outreach.

Condolences to Steve, Martha, and Emma Vancour for the loss of Mary Vancour last week. The Federated Church was filled to bursting with so many people who will miss Mary.

It will be busy in town this weekend with a special Artisans Festival at the Ag Hall. It’s Labor Day on Monday, the unofficial beginning of Fall. I saw a first big pumpkin on display at Green Island Farm. The Derby will start, nights will cool down and shorten, sweaters and quilts will soon be brought out from storage. Seasons change.

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"Structure II," 52 x 70 inches, acrylic on linen. Art by Jennifer Christy
Artist and Chilmark town clerk Jenny Christy.
Artist and Chilmark town clerk Jenny Christy.

Jennifer Christy grew up on the Island from the time she was 7. During our conversation she spoke of paddling around Quitsa Pond in an old canoe, observing the shorelines and inlets, the edges where water and land meet, where rocks and water or land come up against one another.

Edges. Space. Connections. Boundaries.

These are some of the words that Jennifer uses to describe what her paintings are about. As many abstract painters do, she sees landscape and landforms as simplified combinations of shapes and colors, brushstrokes, sweeping openings and closings, the places between things, the tension as those edges meet. “What I see in nature is extremely abstract, but when you live on this Island with all these boundaries, especially the edges of these forms, it’s a way I translate nature. Forms and edges, water to Island forms. Sky and island, water, cliffs, sand. The interstices between them interest me.”

Jennifer’s parents were both artists, and after they divorced, her stepfather too was an artist. She began making art as a sculptor. Art school in the 1980s was an exciting place to be, and Jennifer chose Franklin Marshall because of its proximity to New York City. Her teachers would teach for a few days, then go back to their city lives as working and exhibiting artists. She admired Eva Hesse, a postminimalist who worked in fiberglass and plastics, creating work that dripped and glowed, and looked like nothing else one had ever seen.

Jennifer began using fiberglass and resin to make translucent forms that were lit from within. She became Carol Kreeger Davidson’s studio assistant, immersing herself in the creative, working life of an artist and the vitality of SoHo when it was still filled with galleries and artists. In 1988 she attended the School of Visual Arts, where she took her first painting class and began to focus on painting and drawing in daylong studio sessions.

Back to the Island after school, Jennifer became absorbed with all the things one needs to do to work and live here. She worked at Marianne’s, her mother’s design and printing business, then at Bramhall & Dunn (the Main Street, Vineyard Haven, clothing and furnishings shop that shuttered in 2011 after 28 years in business). A master’s degree in art education from UMass gave her the credentials to teach middle and high school–level art at the Charter School. She went to Florence, Italy, to paint, then worked at the Chilmark and Aquinnah libraries, had three children with her husband (Todd Christy of Chilmark Coffee Co. fame), and began her current job as town clerk in Chilmark. In her mind there were always images to explore.

Even when painters are not painting, they are always painting in their minds; painting at night, carving out time “to get back to making physical things from the forms and images in my head,” says Jennifer. “Once you see it on the canvas, it becomes alive, and I can start to know what to do with it. The edges are a result of multiple layers of paint, eight to 10 maybe, to build up what I need to see there, the way I’ve developed to give a shimmery depth to the forms. My paintings happen organically rather than strategically. I sketch, settle on a form that I like, then sketch it onto the canvas. Then I start by painting the form, next painting the background — and back and forth, back and forth, until I’ve built up an edge that is the result of the ebb and flow of the background painting and the form painting,” says Jennifer.


This is the best part of painting, and Jennifer described it well. I asked about her mark-making and what I call “the story of the painting,” the bits of all that came throughout the process, just enough left for the viewer to see. If you look up close, it’s all there. Maybe the forms were laid in in yellow or orange or red. A soft, light, neutral background gets painted up to the colored shape, pushing it forward, defining it by painting over it, up to it. Another color refines the form, broadening it or lengthening it; then back to the neutral background color to cut into the form, to soften or strengthen the edges. The forms relate to one another, pushing against or pulling back, the spaces between them tension-filled. Bits of the underpainting remains, brushed-out remnants of all the colors that came before. They make a fuzzy sort of tale. The heavy, solid form itself feels massive, even in the smallest paintings, all those layers of vertical and horizontal brushstrokes thickly evident. The surface may be shiny or matte, depending on what the painting needs.

She has begun making sculpture again, small bronzes. “One informs the other,” she says. “The sculptures are like the paintings in 3D.” She will continue working in both, and plans to show them together.

Jennifer exhibited her first paintings at the Gay Head Gallery in 2014. Owner Megan Ottens-Sargent had watched Jennifer grow up, and she took great pleasure in showing her paintings. She said, “Jenny builds a beautiful surface with evidence of a wide range of color subtly shining through. Her edges — the borders — are ephemeral, and at the same time connect and define the shapes that are themselves hard to define.”

This year Jennifer has moved to the Field Gallery. That is where I first saw her work, hanging outside along the long side wall facing State Road. They made a dramatic statement, and I wanted to know more, to see them up close. I found work that made me want to explore its subtleties.

In a conversation with Field Gallery director Jennifer Pillsworth, who is also an artist, we spoke about showing and selling more abstract art on the Island. “I find it so fascinating that artists who are here, and like Jenny who grew up here, and who are painters working with the landscape but with a more abstract, less literal quality. We become filters. Our work is based on constantly looking at the landscape and filtering it into something else.”

I realize that Jennifer is part of this next generation of Island artists, and how exciting it will be to see where they will set their bar.

The fair is over, the Obamas have left, and we have had some rain. Everyone is awash in tomatoes and zucchini or summer squash. White mallows are blooming along the edge of the marsh that was Parsonage or Whiting’s Pond. Peegee and ‘Limelight’ hydrangeas, joe-pye weed, dahlias, and wood asters are all having their turn to star in the garden. Somehow it feels quieter already, time to breathe. I will be grateful to get out of my driveway without a 10-minute wait for traffic to go by.

Mike and I will miss the state policemen who have lived across the street at Station 1 these past two weeks. I will miss the sight of their polished-to-a-fare-thee-well motorcycles, and the sound of them roaring off throughout the day and evening. I have always loved motorcycles — their speed and noise and power and shine. Maybe next year one of them will take me for a ride. At least, I can ask.

 The overcast skies and occasional precipitation kept the fair at a pleasant temperature. Not so dusty, either. A perfect fair. Now all that’s left is the picking up.

 Of course, Talley and Nanuk will miss Mike coming home smelling delicious, covered in hamburger and hot-dog flavor. They were all over him at the end of his shifts.

 I saw Ken Edwards at Cronig’s early last week. He had been visiting his family in Canada, enjoying being well-fed and spoiled, but “had to” get back home in time for the fair. Ken is one of the fireman-chefs who did shifts in the hamburger booth. Good to have him back.

 A small group of family and friends gathered to remember Bob Henry, enthusiastic golfer, bridge player, opera aficionado, raconteur, and summer visitor to West Tisbury. Bob fit right in to our group when he began coming to the Vineyard as the new husband of Dorothy Barthelmes, a friend of the Hull family who has been coming here for over 50 years. They stayed at Rosalie Powell’s B & B at first, then settled into the Slocum House as though they had always lived there. Bob met folks here who became bridge and/or golf partners and, ultimately, friends. Some carried the friendship to Dorothy and Bob’s winter home in Bethesda, Md. Bob died this past spring. He is greatly missed.

 ACE MV is publishing its fall catalogue as an insert in next week’s Martha’s Vineyard Times. There will be no mailing of printed catalogues this year, so everyone who is interested is asked to save the newspaper insert. This will make their class offerings more widely known. You can still check their website:

 Flatbread Pizza will donate a percentage of its sales on Tuesday, Sept. 1, to benefit the West Tisbury Congregational Church. The money will go to outreach for community suppers this January through March. Stop by Flatbread between noon and 9 pm for a good meal and to lend a helping hand. Thanks.

 Nicole Galland will be at the West Tisbury library this Saturday, August 29, reading from her new book, “Stepdog.” This is Nicole’s first contemporary novel; all her others have been historical stories of troubadours and court jesters set in medieval times. All wonderful, and I expect “Stepdog” to be, as well. The program begins at 4 pm.

 Three short documentaries will be shown at the library on Monday evening, August 31, from 7 to 9 pm. Filmmakers Liz Witham and Ken Wentworth will present “The Secret Life of Conch,” “Goatscaping,” and “The Story of Seeds,” part of their series, Sustainable Vineyard.

 Mac pro Paul Levy will be at the library Wednesday morning, Sept. 2, from 10:30 to 12:30. He will discuss and answer questions about “Today’s Technology for Seniors of All Ages.” That’s most of us. Find out about all the options that exist and how to use this fancy equipment.

 Then, from 5 to 6 that afternoon, Tom Dunlop will talk about and sign his new book, “Reflections on Martha’s Vineyard,” a collection of essays by William A. Caldwell, Pulitzer Prizewinner and columnist for the Vineyard Gazette.

 Several familiar West Tisbury faces are currently on view at Stina Sayre Designs in Vineyard Haven. Artist Elizabeth Whelan is exhibiting “Island Women in Paint,” portraits of Geraldine Brooks, Stephanie Mashek, Karen W. Finley, Greer Thornton, and Tara Kenney. Her other portrait subjects include Julie Robinson, Mikel Hunter, Stina Sayre, Howie Attebery, Nat Benjamin, Ross Gannon, and Eli Dagostino. The show runs through August 28.

 The Living Local Harvest Festival is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 3, this year. Vendors and volunteers are needed. If interested, please sign up by Sept. 15 at

 I cut a big bouquet of peegee hydrangeas from the tree outside our living room windows. It sits on the table where I write, arranged in a gray and white pottery pitcher of modern design. The panicles are huge, warm white turning to a bright chartreuse at the ends where the buds are still unopened. They make a dramatic and fragrant display. When I get up and turn around to look across the room, I will see the bouquet duplicated in the tree outside. It provides a contrast that always amuses me, one I have enjoyed painting over and over again.