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Artist Linda Thompson, descended from generations from farmers, enjoys the rural countryside. Photos by Jeremy W. Smith
Place to paint
Landscape artists have of course been around since the era of the cave paintings, although they've learned a lot about light over the centuries. Later, the religious painters needed a landscape, however flat, as a backdrop for their stories. And all those Adam and Eve paintings are landscapes, usually jungles bristling with seductive symbolism. But through the generations, and with the development of perspective, not to mention digitalization, landscape painting has become an art in and of itself, especially, perhaps, on Martha's Vineyard.
in the almost abstract, "Lucy Vincent Beach Grasses," the landscape is infused with a mystical quality.
This month Linda Thompson, a relatively recent addition to the ranks of Vineyard landscapists, is showing new oil paintings at the Chilmark Public Library. Her landscapes are not generic but, rather, place-specific, and she so titles them. In her four versions of "Road to Beach" and two paintings of the path to "Lucy Vincent Beach," she focuses, she says, on the approaches to water. These paintings claim the viewer's feeling right away. Anyone looking at her "Lucy Vincent Beach," for example, can feel the August heat and see and smell the skunk cabbage and other rampant growth on the way to the beach through the soft hot sand. It could only be Lucy Vincent. A few slats of the snow fence precariously keep the dunes in check on the right and a hazy mist of colors on the other side of the path reminds viewers of the marshy vegetation flourishing there. She does not paint the ocean, per se, but indicates its presence ahead. The scene suggests the fragile balance between man and nature, and perhaps even the futility of man's ceaseless efforts to tame it, however kindly and gently he tries.
In her oil painting, "Walking the Fall Road," the artist conveys the atmosphere of the season.
Linda Thompson, a graduate of Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie Mellon University) in industrial design and art, and of the Pratt Institute, is a plein air painter, "Except in the summer when all the beach people, all the kids, stop to watch me paint and get sand all over my stuff."
Opening reception for Linda Thompson, Saturday, Nov. 25, 3 to 5 pm, at the Chilmark Public Library, South Road.