Plein air for this artist


I brake for artists when I find them working plein air on-Island. Last week I was heading up Middle Road and saw someone setting up an easel with a stretcher in place. I pulled over thinking it may be someone I know and wondering if they were a member of our local plein air group. I introduced myself to painter Tracy Burtz.

Tracy told me, “I have always painted and shown on Nantucket, been going out there for many years, and find this is a more like-minded place for me.”

Tracy had been to the Island maybe three other times during her life, just ended her contract with a big gallery, and was spending a week on the Vineyard doing rough scenes that appealed to her from Gay Head Cliffs to Katama in preparation for finishing a lot of work for next season. “I’ve always known I should be here and ended up on Nantucket for 15 years,” Tracy said. She had a home and studio there though she lives offseason in Westchester, N.Y. Her exuberance about finally getting to work on the Vineyard was palpable.

Seconds later, her friend Susan Ostrow, also from her hometown, pulls over on the side of the road and dismounts her bicycle. In fact they scheduled this side-of-the-road rendezvous. Tracy lifted her sweatshirt to show-off the paint-splattered apron she had purchased on her last visit to Martha’s Vineyard from the Navigator Restaurant and Boathouse Bar.

Tracy has worked full-time as an artist throughout her career and regularly exhibits her work. Her paintings were featured in two NYC summer exhibits, including one for alumni of the New York Studio School. Learn more about Tracy Burtz at We’ll be sure to let you know what gallery shows her work next summer.