Elissa Turnbull at Chilmark Library

Elissa Turnbull's acrylic painting on Masonite at the Chilmark Library. — Photo courtesy of Elissa Turnbull

This month will be an especially bright one at the Chilmark Library. The colorful abstract drawings and acrylic paintings art of Island artist Elissa Turnbull will be displayed there through Friday, July 22.

Ms. Turnbull’s show, Overlapping Systems, refers to the artist’s technique of layering her images. “I never know where these paintings are going,” she says. “I just start with one simple pattern, and that pattern usually tells me what to put down next…the painting slowly reveals itself to me. It’s a very exciting process, since I never know what I’m going to get in the end.”

The drawings on display are a series of 10 small (7-inches by 10-inches) colorful abstracts in pencil crayon and graphite on paper. They make subtle references to familiar objects, and take on a narrative quality.

“I have never used pencil crayons before, and neither am I accustomed to working small. I got these supplies before going to Indonesia last winter because I needed something clean and portable to work with.”

The artist explains, “While drawing I was thinking about tools and machines and processes. And most of my ideas for shapes just come from everyday objects around me, like kitchen utensils, the truck engine, patterns on a brick wall, or even just flowers in a garden.”

Ms. Turnbull came to the Island seven years ago as a deckhand on a cargo ship delivering cobblestones from Portugal. Since then she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at NSCAD University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, while returning every summer to work as a gardener.

Overlapping Systems, the work of Chilmark resident Elissa Turnbull, is on display at the Chilmark Library until July 22.