True story. My photographs were always straight-up landscape shots. Then last year, I signed up for a photography computer course. But it turned out, we made ads. My computer was supposed to cut pictures to smithereens, color them hot pink and make ads for the Bahamas.
The class did not go well. I thought about ocean, and then my computer stitched water and banks of clouds into wild panoramas. It stacked linear blocks of color. Very confusing ads. Everything changed.
The computer could make digital abstracts. And it could be forced to honestly translate what I see in my head to the page. I make reverse ads, they show my essence of an idea, not the conventional fantasy. I make my computer break landscapes, sea, water and sky into pieces and weave the pieces back together. There is lots of color, especially blue—by the sea, blue is everywhere. Rushes fill my eyes and fade. Piers stand alone and yet connect. Things go in and out of flat planes. It takes weeks and sometimes months, up to 60 versions before it’s right. Each work is a personal artistic truth about the one idea and the one emotion of one image. They are digital.
I am a doctor who lives part time in New York City and Block Island. I have studied at the School of Visual Arts and the International Center of Photography, both in New York, and the New England School of Photography in Boston. In 2016, I was a winner of the Rhode Island State Council of the Arts award for photography. I have shown my work for the last few years at the Spring Street Gallery, on Block Island.
After fifteen years as a graphics illustrator for a large medical teaching facility I began in earnest over ten years ago painting landscapes in watercolor, water soluble oils and acrylics. I take inspiration and my palette from a love of the ocean environment. I am an exhibiting artist at the Spring Street Gallery on Block Island where I have had solo shows for the last five years as well as a resident artist at the Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts in Concord, MA. Many of my frames are hand crafted from weathered cedar. I have studied painting techniques at Concord Art Association, Decordova Museum School, Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts and Academy of Realist Art in Boston.
Karen Keller Capuciati has been working with clay for more than 10 years. Up until recently, her work has been hand-built, sculptural pieces, influenced by her affinity for ritual objects, her spiritual journey and her travels.
Over the last couple of years she has began to pursue the creation of functional pieces. At the Spring Street Gallery, you will see hand-built and wheel-thrown plates and bowls decorated with layers of glaze, wax and carving. Each piece is unique.
After earning a BFA in Graphic Design, Michael worked for many years in design and marketing in Washington DC. Ultimately corporate life was satisfying but he was looking for more and moved to Ithaca, New York— which he identified as a hub of forward thinking and cultural practices that resonated with his own developing internal principles.
Painting and design were always woven through Michaels professional career and personal life - never missing a moment to explore and challenge his artistic curiousities. Michael has always exercised a dualistic approach in painting, if he's not working on the challenges of realism, he's finding his edge in abstract expressionism.
Today, Michael resides in the NYC area and Block Island, he embraces the duo effect of small New England island living and the NYC cultural scene. After working as executive director of the Block Island Conservancy for nearly three years, he has moved on to further his passion in environmental causes where he founded rootbi.org -- a holistic hub for Block Island residents and visitors.
The Spring Street Gallery gives me the opportunity to share with others what I love to do and to learn from the other artists and the people who come in, who are most often artists as well.
Block Island is a special place and I hope to show that in my paintings and my jewelry.
I have been studying color and the masters in an effort to discover my voice and what I want to say. It's a process but that is the fun of it!
Pamela Gelsomini is an artist, entrepreneur, avid cook and foodie, who grew up every summer on Block Island embracing all that our beautiful island has to offer. She graduated in 1989 from Syracuse University with a BFA in Illustration. Pam worked at Finn’s every summer growing up and, in the early 90’s, she had annual art shows showcasing her Block Island watercolors at the Ragged Sailor Gallery. Her passion for art led her into a career in footwear design which eventually brought her into sales. In 1997, she founded her own company making comfort insoles, OrthoLite, for the world’s biggest footwear brands like Nike, Adidas, and Clarks. After 20 years of nurturing and growing that business, she retired and is now back at her easel once again painting scenes that explore the beauty and nature of her favorite place, Block Island. Her work explores some of her favorite summer scenes and hazy day memories in acrylic.
Pam also just launched a cooking and lifestyle blog which features her food that is inspired by local Block Island, as well as international flavors from her travels. Her love of both art and food allows her to embrace, not only the sights, but also the flavor of local ingredients like striped bass, mussels, and blackberries. Check out her recipes on the blog!
We’ve been coming to BI each summer since the mid-90’s, and extended that to the shoulders as time goes by. Pre-dawn stripers started things, but the way the early morning light merges sea with land competes for my attention and I often bring on the kayak an old clunky film SLR with a 50mm lens and wait for minor inspiration. Colors are muted as my eyes adjust, so mostly black and white to match the instant. If I have to put a name to it, I would say that my eye/frame is drawn to the edges where you have to work a bit to absorb the image.
My interest in photography began in my youth when I had the great good fortune of spending summers here on Block Island. I was captivated then and continue to be by the light and the weather and how they change and interact with the sea and landscape.
In 2002, I created Images of Block Island in Photographs and Words, a calendar that combines photographs of the island with passages of poetry or lyric of songs. The seventeenth edition is now available in stores and various locations around the island.
I retired this past June 30th after a career spent in government, non-profit organizations and philanthropy with a recurrent focus on the natural environment, land conservation and historic preservation. I live now on the island full time where I hope to further explore photography and other artistic endeavors.
Having just retired, I have not had time to put an exhibit together of my island photos. I am working on it now and hope to incorporate images from the late sixties to the present. In the meantime, these current photos focus on mainland conservation areas in the Borderlands of Western Rhode Island, a natural area near Providence and the Cape Cod National seashore.
Robin B. Langsdorf has been experimenting with photography for over 20 years and works as a photographer on Block Island and New York City. Robin specializes in using alternative processes including photographic transfer, encaustic wax, oil paint and pastel to create her fine art images.
"In celebration of my interest in the sustainability movement, I have created a body of work called "Island Grown on Block Island." Much of the work you see here was grown on Block Island. The pieces are painted with encaustic wax, giving it texture and depth or printed on fiber based paper and framed in vintage ceiling tin or reclaimed wood."
"As the world moves forward with digital photography, I enjoy using some of the older, film based processes and am carving out a niche exploring a range of artistic materials to create my fine art images."
Sharon Lehman has taught art to high school students, done layout and graphic designfor a newspaper and acted as assistant to the owner of a fine art conservation business while she cataloged his large personal art collection. She began drawing and painting "House Portraits" as her own business. In addition to House Portraits, studying at workshops and classes led her from painting in watercolor to oils and, recently, to pastels. She's won an array of awards, and enjoys commercial success.
Commissions are welcomed for all paintings. House Portraits may be completed using photographs taken by the artist or supplied by the client.
Sharon is a Signature Member in both the Georgia Watercolor Society and Alabama Watercolor Society.
I have been a member of Spring Street Gallery on Block Island for many years. It has been an inspiring community of artists all of whom love Block Island and are inspired by the ever-changing beauty seen there every day. I have been making jewelry for a long time but it was not until I retired from my career in health care that I had time to fully explore the various methods of jewelry making. I have always enjoyed color and creating unique, one of a kind pieces of jewelry. I try to capture the colors of Block Island, mostly the blues of the sky and ocean and the many shades of green of the land. As I search for unique beads and stones whether I am home or traveling, I always have these two elements in mind. I have participated in many jewelry workshops in Massachusetts, Santa Fe and most recently Phoenix where I usually spend part of the winter. The rest of my time is spent either on Block Island or in Norwell, MA.
I am fortunate to live here on Block Island and to be able to build my life around taking pictures in this beautiful place. All images are limited edition, signed "giclees." I use only the highest grade of archival, museum quality materials; papers, mats, backings, inks, and frames.
My book "Waves, Living with the Ocean on Block Island", is a fine art book, printed in Rhode Island. 10% of the profit from the sale of this book goes to projects to protect and renew the ocean.
I've lived here full-time with my husband for 20 years. I have many new images to show you this year, from the island and from some of my wanderings to the mainland. You can see them here and in my blogs:
I have a passion for painting from life. My style focuses on light and what it does to color and form. I'm inspired to capture the ethereal quality of light on land, architecture, and everyday objects. As a plein air oil painter, I love the challenge of being outside to create vibrant, spontaneous works. Early morning and late afternoon are my favorite times to paint because the colors and shadows are more intense.
My paintings evolve from feeling connected to a place. As a regional New England painter I'm lucky to be surrounded by so much natural beauty and inspiring subjects are always close to home. Block Island is a favorite destination with it's unique island light, Victorian buildings, and sweeping views. I believe there are images in nature that have a universal appeal, and through my works I wish to share that vision.
I attended the Cleveland Institute of Art and graduated from the Philadelphia College of Art, with a degree in Industrial Design. I worked at Fisher Price as a toy designer, then owned my own design studio, inventing toys and products for young children. I an now enjoying a second career as a painter, illustrator and art teacher.
Ted helped his parents sail to Block Island from his nautical crib lashed securely to the main cabin bunk. He has memorialized that moment and many other nautical experiences from his life as a worldwide sailor and island resident.
His work, done primarily in acrylic, usually revolves around maritime themes.
Merritt thinks of himself as a colorist and likes to work with bold brush and knife strokes.
Many of his paintings wind up as donations to island non profits, particularly with a maritime orientation. He continues to be an active sailor.
sue ann millikin
I am a lifelong resident of Block Island and learned at an early age the importance of repurposing and recycling. Most of my jewelry pieces incorporate something that has had a past life. The glass items are bottles broken and images melted into them. Bracelets are from job site leftovers of stainless steel cable. Much of my inspiration comes from nature. Beach stones that have been perfectly rounded by the sea and drilled and some inlaid with various materials.
Most of my paintings are nature-based. I love tangled swirls of sea weed, layers of cloud and color at sunset, and the translucence of the sea. We see it every day ~~ if we are lucky enough to live here ~~ our on-going Island miracle. The process of painting for me involves a love of color and texture and the qualities of oil paint. I like to vary the thicknesses or the paint, using light washes, thick smudges, streaks, drips and splashes. I might make a sweeping mark of orange, then ground it with some cooler washes of green and blues. Colors are a form of light and are very nourishing to us on an unconscious level.
Always working with what is appearing on the canvas, I may try to find the right gestures and color combinations to evoke something I saw during a recent beach walk-- a bunch of flowers scattered down a fallen patch of clay bluff, the cool of a secluded salt marsh with its burst of red winged blackbirds, or how it feels swimming underwater with eyes open. This form of painting is a mixture of pleasure and experiment. Working from heartfelt and sensory levels makes it easier to bypass the insistent ego, and the creative process gains ground. In this way, a more direct relationship between nature, self and creativity align with a quiet and expansive source of being, a very big freedom.
I’ve been creating these one-of-a-kind, up-cycled lamps for more than twenty years. I started making and giving them as gifts to family and friends--using vintage household items I had on hand, and it has grown from there. I often make several of them at once, trying to balance and combine items in a whimsical way, and to make each lamp unique.
John Warfel has been living on Block Island since 1981 when he arrived with his wife, Joanne, to teach at the Block island School. He taught Industrial Arts there for 29 years. During his tenure he started a ceramics program, initiated a K-6 program, and expanded the high school program to include CAD, welding, motorcycle mechanics, and boatbuilding. After retiring from teaching he built and opened Dunn Town Studio where he makes raku, pit-fired, and terracotta pottery. He also does custom woodworking and steel fabrication. He received his training in ceramics at SUNY Oswego, Penn State, and Rhode Island College.
Eileen has been quilting for many years and can often be found selling her gorgeous quilts at the farmers market. We are so fortunate to have her join us at the gallery this season. But don’t be fooled- these quilts are “art pieces to to be displayed on a bed, not a bed spread”.