West Tisbury


I was outside last night walking in from the studio when I saw my first firefly of this summer. Another milestone to mark the season. I don’t know why I am so focused on such things, the passing of seasons, even the passing of days, but I do enjoy noticing and being aware of nature’s progression.

Many years ago, Sandra Hillman gave us a tiny seedling of a tulip tree from her property on Middle Road. Mike planted it in a place of honor, the center of the circle in our driveway, befitting his total adoration of Sandra. It is the one thing in our yard he has carefully tended. This year it bloomed.

I had never seen a tulip tree flower before, even though our front yard in Connecticut was filled with them. They truly do resemble tulips. Yellow cups streaked with chartreuse and edged in orange, the flowers emerge from a chartreuse-colored bud. They are as large as a hybrid tulip. I can’t get enough of looking at them, every one different, and so miraculous a sight. They seem to last a long time, too. Several people have mentioned seeing them bloom for the first time this year.

Maybe some will appear in bouquets at the Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club Art & Flower Show this weekend at The Old Mill. Club members create floral arrangements inspired by the works of 30 Vineyard artists. Best are the commentaries of the designers, who write about what inspired them from the painting or piece of sculpture, how they chose certain plant material or containers. I always like to read how the arrangements came about. It appeals to art lovers and plant lovers alike. The exhibition will be open to the public Saturday, June 29, from 10 to 5, and Sunday from noon to 3 o’clock. Admission is $5.

Besides the art at the Garden Club show, West Tisbury’s galleries and artists are opening or expanding their hours. Allen Whiting’s Davis House Gallery on State Road will be open Thursdays through Sundays, 1 to 6 pm, showing Allen’s masterful Island landscapes. Kara Taylor, newly ensconced in the former Stanley Murphy/Gossamer Gallery building on South Road, is a painter of woodlands, oceans, figures, anything that strikes her fancy. Her gallery is open Thursdays through Sundays, noon to 6. The Field Gallery has had some large paintings on display outside their State Road building across from the West Tisbury Church. They are open every day, as is their sister Granary Gallery at the Red Barn on Old County Road. Nancy Cramer’s Shaw Cramer Gallery, though at 56 Main Street in Vineyard Haven, is West Tisbury owned and much of the art is by familiar names in town: Leslie Baker, Laurene Krasny Brown, Ruth Kirchmeier, Julia Mitchell, and Marie-Louise Rouff. I am honored to have been invited to join them; Nancy hung the first group of my paintings last weekend. I will be opening my studio this weekend, showing my paintings and Ruth Kirchmeier’s woodcuts, keeping Thursday through Sunday hours like Allen and Kara. I enjoy the time to be in my studio painting and the annual visits from summer and year-round drop-ins. Another mark of a seasonal rhythm.

Linda Alley called to say that the Wednesday Farmers’ Markets have begun. Hours are 9 to noon at the Grange. She mentioned Heidi Feldman’s Down-Island Farm sea salt, and Paul McDonald of Shearwater Farm as new vendors this summer. Paul will be selling lobsters and crabs at the Saturday markets.

I stopped by the Friday Antiques at the Old Grange Hall show last week. Both the hall and grounds are filled with the most attractive and enticing collections of antiques and collectibles. Hours are 9 to 3.

The West Tisbury Library Foundation is working to raise an additional $300,000 this summer for landscaping, furniture, and equipment not included in the design/construction budget for the building project. They have planned several events throughout the summer, and continue to sell bricks engraved with a personal message for the walkway for $125. They need help with events, ticket sales, brick orders. If you want to volunteer, check at the library or call Foundation Chairman Hunter Moorman at 202-309-4896.

Library story times for infants and toddlers are 10:30 am Tuesdays at M.V. Community Services and Thursday, June 27, at the Vineyard Haven Library; Thursday, July 11, at the Oak Bluffs Library.

Kudos to Beth Kramer who wrote a terrific column last week. I knew she would. Thanks, Beth, for filling in.

I came home from my trip to find a note that our niece, Elise Rubens, was arriving on Sunday. For non-parents, Mike and I enjoy nothing more than having young people in the house, to spoil and be spoiled, to enjoy their energy and enthusiasms. What a treat.

Mike has been working at houses with young children unaccustomed to dogs, especially ones the size of Nanuk, our golden retriever and carpenter’s companion. No one could have a better introduction to dogs than with Nan. Mike has come home at night with stories of nervous children who end up spending much of their days on the ground petting an inert lump of golden fur, rubbing her stomach and chest, nuzzling her nose, throwing tennis balls till everyone tires or goes home. Nan comes home exhausted, happy, and much-loved.