“Evening of the Arts” in Edgartown

Willoughby Gallery's display has generated comment and conversation. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

Tonight in Edgartown, from 6 to 8 pm, the “Evening of the Arts” will take place at The Christina Gallery, Eisenhauer Gallery, North Water Gallery, and Willoughby Fine Art Gallery. The four galleries, no further than a block apart, offer a varied and distinct collection of Island and off-Island artists, many of whom will be at the galleries to discuss their work with gallery goers.

The Christina Gallery on the corner of Winter Street and North Water Street will be spotlighting Connecticut landscape painter Curtis Hanson, a painter for close to 50 years, who studied in New York, Boston, and Paris and finally settled in Connecticut in 1979. His work includes landscapes from Thailand and Southeast Asia as well as New England.

Mr. Hanson translates natural scenes faithfully with great craft, embellished with mood and atmosphere through his use of color. His serene canvases are both classic and evocative.

Just steps away is North Water Gallery, a unique, two-story gallery featuring sitting rooms and an impressive collection of art representing both traditional and contemporary styles. During “Evening of the Arts,” painters Ken Otsuka, Jeanne Staples, and Jonathan Ralston are being featured.

Jeanne Staples’ landscapes in oil capture New England and Canadian coastal scenes. Tokyo-born artist Ken Otsuka, will display his oil images that reflect the Island spirit, and North Water gallery manager Jonathan Ralston will display his architectural paintings in which light is used as a defining element of structure.

“The gallery stroll is a good way for us to encourage people to come to Edgartown,” says Mr. Ralston. “We expect to have a good turnout, and it is more about creating a buzz than about sales.”

On North Water Street closer to Main, is Willoughby Fine Art Gallery featuring “An Evening with The Learys,” two talented artists — Elizabeth Wadleigh Leary and her daughter Elizabeth Leary Strazzulla.

Ms. Leary has a long history of showing her rich earth-toned work at Willoughby’s, and has developed a following among Islanders and visitors. Her realistic scenes feature her glaze techniques and skill at applying layers of color washes to create depth and dimension. Her subject matter is often architectural in nature. “They are phenomenal,” says Marge Willoughby, who owns the gallery with her husband, Rick. “Her architectural drawings are known for their understated elegance.”

Ms. Strazzulla, a graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in music, has established a career as an artist both in painting and bronze sculptures of animals. For her paintings, she focuses on nature scenes and objects. She sketches on-site in oils, and completes her paintings in her studio, bringing out surface textures and forms with natural realism.

Across the street, sharing a porch with The Colonial Inn, is Eisenhauer Gallery. The bright gallery is a testament to the fact that an urban theme art show can make it on the Vineyard. The attractive space is full of color and life, as is the work by the night’s featured artists: Rebecca Kinkead, Justin Taylor, Kathy Jones, Jylian Gustlin, Melinda Morrison, and Carol Bennett.

Rebeca Kinkead’s oils are bright and exciting, applied with a palette knife, while Kathy Jones’ very personal urban abstracts seem saturated with her memories and attempts to portray the human experience. Justin Taylor’s paintings of nudes, painter Melinda Morrison’s belly dancers, and Jylian Gustlin’s impressionist portraits and figure studies contribute to the stretch and variety of the show. Carol Bennett, whose provocative paintings of swimmers (her painting “Salmon” sold the day it went on the wall) combines realism with unusual and striking perspectives.

All in all, “Evening of the Arts,” will be a night to remember.

The Edgartown Gallery Stroll is from 6-8 pm. The next Edgartown Gallery Stroll will be August 12.