Kanta Lipsky of West Tisbury wears many hats. As a massage therapist, yoga instructor, and chi kung teacher, she helps Vineyarders to find balance, harmony, and joy in their lives. What some may not know is that Lipsky is also a talented painter whose healing practices extend to her artwork.
Speaking of the chi kung classes that she offers for free at the West Tisbury library, Lipsky says, “The calm and the depth of that practice is seen in the paintings. I like to have a feeling of lively ease in my work.”
Right now, through the end of the year, the West Tisbury library will host a solo exhibit of Lipsky’s oil paintings, titled “There & Back Again,” featuring a variety of work based on the artist’s travels throughout Europe, as well as paintings Lipsky has worked on en plein aire (onsite outdoors).
“Before COVID, I had the opportunity to go to Greece, Italy, and Spain, where I created a body of work,” says Lipsky. Upon her return from her European journey, the artist continued her work of capturing serene scenes from around the Island, her home for the past 25 years.
The paintings all share a sense of quiet meditation, although there is also a liveliness in the colors and quick brushstrokes. Whether she’s capturing a classic European cafe scene or a quiet path through the woods, there’s a sense that the viewer is invited to enter the scene and enjoy a moment of calm and serenity.
Also on display will be a series of small paintings of sunflowers, the national flower of Ukraine, which Lipsky created in support of the people of the war-torn country. Thirty percent of sales of these paintings will be donated to the World Central Kitchen for Ukraine.
Lipsky is a member of an artistically talented family. Her late husband, Jon Lipsky, was an acclaimed playwright and teacher who served as resident playwright at Reality Theater in Boston, and taught at the Boston University College of Fine Arts for many years.
Their son Adam is a talented musician and composer who performed his original arrangements frequently on-Island before relocating to New Paltz, N.Y., where he and his wife own and operate a mushroom farm (sugarshackmushrooms.com). Son Jonah Lipsky is a playwright and actor whose work has been presented on the Vineyard at the West Tisbury library and the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse.
Kanta Lipsky holds a master’s degree in expressive therapy and holistic studies from Lesley University. She has been teaching yoga for 20 years, chi kung for 40 years, and she practiced massage therapy for 40 years. Throughout all of that time, Lipsky has pursued painting as a means of meditation and therapy. “Everything that I do right now brings me delight,” she says.
When her husband was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, Lipsky rented a studio to serve as a sort of temporary retreat from the stress of caretaking. “I couldn’t wait to get in there,” she says. “Everything else fell away. It was very energizing and restorative.”
Lipsky continues to paint as often as possible. Her most recent project was illustrating a children’s book titled, “Chloe and Bolivia Search for Puddles,” written by her brother-in-law Michael Lipsky. The artist has found that painting the bunnies who serve as the book’s protagonists has offered a fun alternative to her usual subjects, and she would welcome the opportunity to illustrate more books for children. The book will be on sale at the library during Lipsky’s exhibition.
“There & Back Again,” a round-the-world art show of paintings by Kanta Lipsky, will hang at the West Tisbury library throughout the month of December.