Galleries : Art Of The Sea
The scenes may be familiar - Menemsha, Squibnocket, Vineyard Haven Harbor. What may not be so familiar are many of the artists whose work is included in Sail Martha's Vineyard's third annual Holiday Maritime Art Sale.
An exhibit of work by local artists - some established, some just becoming known - will be on display at the historic Sail Martha's Vineyard building on Main Street in Vineyard Haven through December 23. There will be an open house reception on Sunday, Dec. 14, from 4-7 pm.
The common theme that appears in each work? Water, in some way or another.
The sale is a fundraiser for Sail Martha's Vineyard, of course, but it is also a showcase for Island artists and a testimonial to the unique beauty of our shores. Says Administrative Director Hope Callen, "Sail Martha's Vineyard tries to connect the community with the sea that's around us, whether it's through sailing lessons, art, lectures, or loans of maritime books."
Photos by Susan Safford
Adds President Peggy Schwier, "Our primary mission is teaching kids to sail for free, but we're also involved in preserving maritime heritage. This show is a classic case of preservation."
Not only does the Vineyard have a rich maritime history, it also has a tradition of attracting and nurturing artistic talent. That tradition is in evidence in this show, featuring over 100 works by artists ranging in age from 23 to 93 - each one with a unique perspective on the theme.
Says volunteer Sandra Kingston, "Every year there's somebody who's not part of the gallery scene who just pops into it." Photographer Dick Clark became aware of the sale because he is a member of the Sail Martha's Vineyard Rowing Club. Watercolorist Lorraine Wells has a daughter who came up through the program and is on the racing team. Chrissy Kinsman was encouraged to participate by artist Ellen McCluskey, from whom she takes lessons.
West Tisbury resident Dan VanLandingham has been involved with the show since the beginning. Ms. Callen comments on how the 23-year-old painter has grown since the first show. His depictions of the ferry and of the Menemsha Harbor, both executed with confidence and maturity, are two of the show's highlights. The young artist has contributed 12 works, including some small, reasonably priced paintings.
An artist you won't find hanging in local galleries is Tim Winchell. He's been part of the show for the last two years and is exhibiting a number of affordable charcoal sketches of local scenes. Mr. Winchell's work is comparable to that by artists who demand much higher prices. He has an eye for perspective, and one of his sketches - a charcoal and colored pencil birds-eye view of Menemsha - is a unique take on an oft-rendered subject.
If you're Christmas shopping, there are lots of great bargains to be found. Charming watercolors by nonagenarian Millie Briggs are priced to sell. For $100 a wonderful Vineyard map by Dana Gaines makes a great gift. Surrounding the detailed black-and-white Vineyard map are snippets of history and sketches of local birds and wildlife.
There are also note cards and wreath ornaments made with local shells by Francesca Uranker. Ms. Uranker's husband, woodcarver J.P., offers his handmade boat hooks and gold leaf plaques.
Other gift items include a selection of boating wear donated by the Martha's Vineyard Shipyard, which is selling for just over wholesale, and a charming children's book by one of Sail Martha's Vineyard's founders, Nancy Haskell. There's also an assortment of Sail Martha's Vineyard merchandise and very reasonably priced jewelry by Karen English.
The show features a number of photographers, including Alison Shaw, Mark Alan Lovewell, L.A. Brown, and Louisa Gould.
The new Seaworthy Gallery owner, Jeffrey Serusa, has a few of his atmospheric photos displayed. "Coastwise Wharf" captures the magical early morning moment when the light just perfectly highlights the white spiles, while the mist-shrouded sailboats in the background appear almost like ghost ships. A single light at the end of the pier lends a perfect pinpoint to the melancholy scene.
An equally soft image of the Edgartown Lighthouse against an improbable lavender and mint-green sky is remarkable in that it appears to be hand-tinted but is not. A majestic ship in the background could easily have sailed out of the work of a Dutch Master.
The show includes a few of Ovid Ward's photorealist works and contributions by established artists Thaw Malin and Ellen McCluskey.
The historic building housing Sail Martha's Vineyard adds another touch of Vineyard tradition to the sale. Owned by The Preservation Trust, the building was originally built in 1824 as a carpenter's shop, later becoming a church, a schoolhouse, and headquarters of the local Daughters of the American Revolution. The simple whitewashed structure, with twin front doors, is a classic example of puritan simplicity. The interior features rough wooden floors and a brick fireplace.
Sail Martha's Vineyard Maritime Art Sale, daily 10 am-5 pm, 110 Main St, Vineyard Haven. Reception on Sunday, December 14, 4-7 pm.