In a collaboration among artists and local tech pros.
On the evening of August 17, two Island artists celebrated the Commander and Chief and the first lady using acrylics and a $7,000 telescopic projector. Working side by side at the edge of Edgartown Harbor, Kenneth Vincent and Traeger di Pietro painted a romantic portrait of the Obamas on an easel-mounted canvas. As they did so, their brush strokes were projected over the sand onto the Edgartown Lighthouse thanks to a Sony 5000 lumen telescopic projector loaned by Thomas Bena and Brian Ditchfield, the executive and managing directors of the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival. Local film technology pro Chris Mara operated the device while Vineyard photographer Geoffrey Parkhurst captured the painting’s progress toward completion in a time-lapse sequence using a Nikon d800e camera. Mr. Mara also operated a Sony XDCAM loaned by Tisbury resident Len Morris, editorial director of Media Voices for Children.
The giant painting projection could easily be seen from the Harbor View Hotel and along North Water Street between 8 and 10 that night. The completed painting was subsequently brought to the Granary Gallery in West Tisbury where it is currently for sale, with the proceeds going to charity.
“Traeger thought it was the perfect subject matter to help us draw attention to our Projected Painting Project and raise money for the causes we were looking to support,” said Mr. Vincent. “Traeger had personal reasons to support the National Breast Cancer Foundation and I was motivated to help raise funds to support the art program at the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School where I teach middle school and high school art.”
Originally the two artists hoped to paint on the brick side of an Edgartown tavern.
“We were both trying to find a project to collaborate on and we initially thought of asking the Port Hunter to do a mural on their exterior wall,” said Mr. Vincent. “The problem was that the town wouldn’t allow them [the Port Hunter] or us to do that and when we started brainstorming how to get around the town restrictions I suggested using a projector with a live feed camera to project onto the wall. We both realized the potential of the idea and thought if we could do that why not the lighthouse?”
After town administrator Pam Dolby relayed okays from various Edgartown departments and Martha’s Vineyard Museum executive director David Nathan gave his blessing, the artistic duo ran a test projection against the side of Chris Mara’s house. Then they were set to paint large.
“I have always admired Kenneth as a person and as an artist,” Mr. di Pietro said. “We work really great together. He’s more subtle, calm, and technical and I’m more animated, sloppy, and goofy. We have a blast together and are constantly laughing and making jokes.”
Mr. di Pietro sees bold things ahead for him and Mr. Vincent. “Most definitely we will paint and or create together again,” he said. “Hopefully our next project is the Steamship ferry. We are going to paint the whole Island. Ideally things you would never think were possible.”
And on Saturday, there was no golf. The President and First Lady, referred to by the White House press pool at least, as POTUS (president of the United States) and FLOTUS, went to a private beach on Martha’s Vineyard’s south shore.
The President and First Lady then returned to their Chilmark rental home to rest and, presumably, rinse the sand off.
The press pool had a lovely dinner respite at the Homeport Restaurant in Menemsha, reported MV Times staff reporter Steve Myrick, where Chef Josh Aronie got seafood orders out for hungry poolers on a tight deadline.
The first couple moved on to State Road restaurant in West Tisbury, a frequent stop during their Vineyard vacations, where they dined with friends.
Meanwhile, in Edgartown, there were antics afoot at the lighthouse, where, according to Times correspondent Rich Saltzberg, well-known Island artists Ken Vincent and Traeger di Pietro collaborated on a portrait of President and Michelle Obama. During the entire process, film and video specialist Chris Mara projected the work in progress onto the lighthouse, to the cheers of the assembled.
It’s no surprise that given a blank slate, an artist will fill it, or find a way to make something remarkable.
Hard boiled eggs turn out to be no different. We asked some artists we know to share past Easter egg creations. We got emails of etchings and photos of egg-shaped earrings; when we got Traeger di Pietro’s very interesting hand-drawn egg, we envisioned him opening our email query, walking to the refrigerator, and — Sharpie in hand — drawing his vision.
Claudia Lee, owner of the eponymous jewelry stores, shared photos of the Easter eggs created by her late husband, the beloved Island artist Richard Lee. Mr. Lee made the eggs pictured here just months before his death, for the 2012 Easter Egg hunt that Elise LeBovit holds each year at the Duck Inn in Aquinnah. “They’re hard boiled eggs,” Ms. Lee told the Times recently. “All dyed with gold leaf and copper and silver leaf.” Each year, Mr. Lee decorated 20-30 eggs, slowly, over a week’s time. The morning of the event, Mr. Lee and their son Hudson hid the eggs in the Ms. Lebovit’s field.
“He just loved doing it. They were gorgeous! I hated to part with them,” Claudia Lee said. “Each year, I managed to get a few the kids missed. Over time, I’d keep out six or eight each Easter.”
In 2013, Claudia Lee decided to keep up the tradition, and decorate the eggs herself. “It took me forever,” she said. “I had to ask my son to help. I’m not as good with the gold leaf.” The children, she said, didn’t seem to notice the difference between the Mr. and Mrs. Lee’s eggs.
“I’ll be doing it again this year,” Ms. Lee told us. Her son is away, she said, so she’ll invite friends over to help.
The Martha's Vineyard Times is a weekly newspaper on Martha's Vineyard.