A painter’s paradise

Local artists help the Vineyard Conservation Society turn 50.

Plein Air artist Liz Taft paints the Gay Head Cliffs on Saturday. — Photo by Michael Cummo

As part of the Vineyard Conservation Society’s (VCS) 50th anniversary, the organization invited more than a dozen artists to create original works, including studio and plein air paintings. Last week, seven of the artists invited the public to come watch them create their work, live on location. Those paintings and several others will be on display for an auction preview at the Granary Gallery this Saturday, August 1, from 5 to 7 pm. The paintings will then be sold during a live auction on August 5, as part of a 50th birthday benefit dinner for VCS. Some of the artists involved in making the auction a reality shared their thoughts about VCS, painting, and the Island with The Times.

Artist Allen Whiting

“The efforts of the VCS provide all of us who reside or visit this finite and beautiful Island space to breathe, decompress, become inspired, and hopefully contemplate with some clarity our relationship to this earth we as humans inhabit. We are indeed privileged and fortunate to live here, and to have a fighting chance to find the balance we need to survive as well as thrive. … I chose to paint the south side of Moshup’s trail, looking west toward the Cliffs. It has been a challenging pleasure.”

Artist Rez Williams

“VCS is unique in the vibrant local conservation community in that it does the necessary and unglamorous work of fighting or educating those forces which would denigrate or destroy the Island’s natural fabric. … My painting of an unremarkable wetland in late winter on the ocean side of South Road at the Allen Farm was done to support VCS’ future work.”

Artist Valentine Estabrook

“Painting a piece of land made forever agricultural by VCS efforts almost 20 years ago made the experience special. I couldn’t help but think about the history of the big old barn, and the years it took for the surrounding trees to grow so very high.”

VCS Board Member Samantha Look:

“The artists have not simply given their time, they have created works that help remind one of the degree to which these iconic places are part of our experience here on the Island. They have captured, on canvas, the importance of the work of Vineyard Conservation Society.”