NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

July 10, 2014

An abundance of art

Saltbox Gallery presents weekend show on Plum Island

“The Art of Summer” is taking over Plum Island’s PITA Hall this weekend.

Hosted by the artists of Saltbox Gallery, the fifth annual Plum Island Art Festival opens tomorrow and runs through Sunday. Visitors are invited to view the collected works, watch demonstrations and buy original art by North Shore residents. Guests will also enjoy an artists’ reception tomorrow night with hors d’oeuvres donated by the Plum Island Grille.

The 15 artists who will display their work in the 2,000-square-foot hall are primarily oil and watercolor painters, but several other mediums will also be displayed and demonstrated. These include jewelry with semiprecious stones, bird carving and “woodturning,” a lesser-known method of woodwork that involves carving wood on a lathe.

The show will feature the works of Doreen Bolnick, a botanical illustrator who has done several books for the Smithsonian, according to Priscilla Lane Brown, president of the Saltbox Gallery. Bolnick will teach about botanicals and build a portfolio of island species during the festivals.

“It’s actually a very fun show for us,” said Brown, who lives in Newburyport. “The artists come and go, and there will probably be some new paintings, unframed for sale. ... We’ve had many people come in and say we have the best art on the North Shore, at the most reasonable prices. We have very, very good artists in the gallery at the moment.”

Brown is among the gallery’s founding members, and she continues to contribute her art and time to its upkeep. Her paintings are watercolors, with detours into pen-and-ink impressionism.

Although Brown focuses her work on seascapes and still lifes, she admits sheepishly that she also likes to draw buildings. She jokes that she’s just “a frustrated architect,” despite her impressionistic style.

“I do not do paintings that look like photographs,” she said. “I try to capture a mood or a feeling, the essence of whatever subject matter I’m painting, so I try not to have ‘tight’ paintings.”

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