Spring Street Gallery Labor Day Weekend CelebrationSunday, Sept. 1, from 5-7 p.m.
The Spring Street Gallery is holding a reception on Sunday, Sept. 1 from 5 to 7 p.m. This is an opportunity for gallery members to give thanks to friends, patrons and supporters for a successful season, and to introduce the gallery to first-time visitors. We’ll have refreshments, hors d’oeuvres and the wonderful music of Glenda Luck. Please join us for this special occasion. Everyone is invited!
For more than 30 years, Spring Street Gallery has successfully operated in an abandoned horse barn that was given new life as a gallery by community members who wanted to contribute to improving the economy on Block Island. The artists are a diverse group who create beautiful and unusual works of art that range from paintings and photographs to ceramics and jewelry.
The co-op gallery is staffed by artist-members, providing a knowledgeable and personalized shopping experience in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
— Gerard Closset
Here’s the lineup of artists and some thoughts about work they are presenting:
1. Baba-Vulic Aleksandar
Pictured artwork: Vaill Beach
Quote: “Block Island has very complex glacial topography, reshaped by waves and tidal current flow during the prehistoric rise in sea-level. Any time I go to Vaill Beach, it inspires me to capture its beauty, and it makes me wonder how this place looked millions of years ago. The varieties of rock and clay formations make it one of the most beautiful seascapes on the Block.”
Aleksander was born in the 1980s, in the era of communism in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. As a young man, Alex was fond of the outdoors, spending many hours with family and friends, fishing, camping and hiking in his native home of Serbia. He was first introduced to photography when his grandmother, who was stateside, sent him a Polaroid camera for his sixth birthday. Soon after, he graduated to a 35mm Voigtlander that his father gave him and his passion for photography was set. His photographs can be seen in many Serbian books and magazines. While studying biology and natural sciences at the University of Novi Sad, Serbia, Alex had the opportunity to come to the United States during a summer break. His first and only stop was Block Island. It was there that Alex fell in love with the beautiful landscape of the island and is also where he purchased his first digital camera. Currently, Alex spends his time traveling all over the world photographing landscapes and objects.
Contact: email@example.com; (401) 533-8113
2. Kate Bird
Pictured artwork: Bucket of Clams
Quote: “I am a clam fan. I am attracted to the abstract quality that this cropped view of a bountiful bucket of cold blue clams provokes. The texture of the smooth plastic bucket against the rough shells is something I aimed to capture.”
After 15 years as a graphics illustrator for a large medical teaching facility, Kate began painting in watercolor, water soluble oils and acrylics in earnest more than 10 years ago. Her use of color is inspired by her love of the ocean environment. Kate has had solo shows for the last five years at the Spring Street Gallery, and has been a resident artist at the Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts in Concord, Mass. She has also studied painting at Concord Art Association, Decordova Museum School, Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts and Academy of Realist Art in Boston. Many of her frames are handcrafted from weathered cedar.
3. RaeLyn Burns-Dutra
Pictured artwork: Block Island
Quote: “It’s the sense of calm that these photographs evoke. I try to capture the ‘quiet’ places that Block Island harbors. In the chaos that descends on this place a few months of the year, I hope to provide solace and tranquility within these images.”
RaeLyn’s photography has evolved several times since setting foot on Block Island more than 30 years ago. As a student of Rhode Island School of Design, her concentration was on hand-printed, black and white photography. She began hand-coloring those images with oil and pencils and developed the multiple-image format for which she is now known. Upon graduating from RISD, RaeLyn moved to Block Island full time and has been photographing the Island since. Although still hand-printing, she has begun to use digital imagery as well, incorporating the old with the new and continuing with her multiple format. RaeLyn can be contacted directly through the Spring Street Gallery. Consignments and special requests will be accepted for “off season” only.
4. Karen Capuciati
Pictured artwork: Pottery
Quote: “With pottery there is much that is beyond our control, it is rare when the form, design and glaze all exceed expectations. There is something about the combination that pleased me.”
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 year she began to pursue the creation of functional pieces. At the Spring Street Gallery, you will see hand-built and wheel-thrown plates made with white stoneware. These unique pieces are both durable and functional.
5. Gerard Closset
Pictured artwork: Fishing Boats and Fog at Old Harbor
Quote: “I took this photo very early in the morning when the fog had not completely lifted and the light was magical. The breeze was still very light, creating tiny ripples that made the boat’s reflections dance softly in the water.”
Gerard has been an avid photographer since he was young. He’s travelled extensively off the beaten path to photograph beautiful landscapes and exciting wildlife, yet Block Island remains his favorite place. He is passionate about using his camera, not merely as an object to record images, but as a tool to capture the island’s wonderful, subtle beauty in ways that evoke the feeling and mood of the place in time. For example, the vivid colors in “Old Harbor Fishing Boats and Fog at Sunrise” make the scene come to life by capturing the vibrant, shimmering beauty of fishing boats and their reflection in Old Harbor. He also uses black and white photography to best express different, more reflective moods as in “Stone Wall and Trees in the Fog” where the oft-present Block Island fog transformed an everyday landscape into a mysterious, ghostly, vanishing scene. Every year he tries to find new ways to capture the island’s essence and uniqueness, and year after year he discovers new perspectives even in places he knows well. Please visit exoticwildlifephotos.com to sample more of his work as a nature, wildlife and underwater photographer. You also may want to take a look at his book of Block Island photographs — “Block Island, One of the Last Great Places” published in 2012 that is on sale at the Spring Street Gallery.
Contact: http://www.exoticwildlifephotos.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; (845) 548-2452
6. Susan Coffin
Pictured artwork: The Old Town Road Gang
Quote: “Usually my favorite painting is the one I’ve just finished, but I also like the ones that bring back a good memory or tell a story. The “Old Town Road Gang” was painted last fall after an early morning drive to town. I came to the stop at Old Town Road where it meets Connecticut Ave. The sun was shining on the bench by the side of the road and the cats were luxuriating in the sun. I stopped to take a picture as did a car coming the other way. I look every time I pass it but have never seen the bench occupied again.”
Sue has been showing in the gallery for four years and divides her time between Vero Beach, Florida and Block Island. She loves to paint, and is currently working in oils; spending her spare time taking photos of things she wants to paint, or painting. “I love the Gallery, the artists and the people that I meet who love Block Island too,” she said. “It’s a fun place and we inspire each other!”
Contact: Susan Coffin
7. Jane Emsbo
Pictured Artwork: Black and White
Quote: “Once in a while, after using lots and lots of color, I paint in black on white. Some clutter is often cleared before I gladly open all my other colors again.”
Jane is a self-taught artist who has been painting for 10 years. Her abstract expressionist paintings are mixed media and reflect her delight in the natural world. She lives on Block Island with her husband and golden retriever.
8. Jennifer Freund Gasper
Pictured artwork: Race Week, Mohegan Bluffs
Quote: “This photograph is important to me because it is quintessential of Block Island’s beauty, as well of race week, which kickstarts the tourist season for the summer. This photo was also taken at the second bluffs, which holds special memories for my husband and me, as we had our wedding photographs taken here.”
Jennifer has always been fascinated with the arts. She received her first camera at the age of five and has been taking photos every since. Jennifer spent a few summers working as a counselor at Camp Hazen in Chester, Conn. teaching children arts and crafts. She then attended York College of Pennsylvania as a fine arts student, with a major in photography. She then changed her major to behavioral sciences because she didn’t think she would make a living as a photographer, and instead received an associate’s in fine arts for photography and her bachelor’s in behavioral science. A turn of events brought Jennifer to Block Island for work during the summers, and she eventually moved to the island year-round. She is currently attending the University of Phoenix for her master’s in secondary education for mathematics and art. Although Jennifer has a diverse educational background, her camera has never left her hands. Through her photographs, she is now able to share her view of Block Island’s unique landscape with others. Jennifer has been a member of the Spring Street Gallery since 2009 and hopes to continue sharing her view of island life with art lovers around the world.
Contact: email@example.com; (860) 961-3149
9. Becca Hollaway
Pictured artwork: Horseshoe crab
Quote: “I created molds from the exoskeletons of horseshoe crabs that I found on the beach during the winter. I’ve had so much fun this summer sharing the horseshoe crabs with guests and friends at the gallery. It’s allowed them to take a tiny bit of Block Island home.”
Becca is a self-taught ceramicist who has lived on Block Island for four years. She creates hand-built pieces inspired by organic shapes and materials, working in her studio on the third floor of Harbor Church.
Contact: (401) 536-4609
10. Tom Kalb
Pictured artwork: Low Tide Mansion Beach
Quote: “Block Island is so full of big beautiful vistas that we can sometimes miss the beauty of the small images that define this place. A good photo suggests in two dimensions a link to a treasured internal image, and the pleasure comes with that matchup. I think an even better photo entices our minds to work a bit, to examine back and forth and fill in detail between the flat and three-dimensional objects. If things really click, we add emotion to the shades and light, and that is the real joy. What is special about Block Island is that there are so many ‘perfect matches’ to our internal trove of ideal images that it makes the photographer’s job of enticement quite easy!”
Tom and his family have been coming to Block Island each summer since the mid-1990s, and extended that to the shoulder seasons over time. As Tom puts it: “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.”
11. Robin Langsdorf
Pictured artwork: Island Grown Eggs
Quote: “As shown in my recent ‘Island Grown’ exhibit, I am interested in creating and sharing a series of images that highlight color, texture and simplicity. There are many possibilities and opportunities for capturing beauty in ‘Island Grown’ on Block Island.”
Robin has been experimenting with photography for more than 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.
“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,” she said.
You can see more of Robin’s work at www.robinlangsdorf.com.
Robin is available for hire during the summer months on Block Island and can be reached at (401) 466-5055 or (917) 855-1797.
12. Sharon Lehman
Pictured artwork: Block Island Cottage
Quote: “I like this painting because I love this house and had the feeling of peeking through the bushes to see something wonderful. The painting flowed easily for me and I was completely happy with it when I was finished.”
Sharon Lehman has taught art to high school students, done layout and graphic design for 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 by 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.
13. Wendy’s Wearable Art
Pictured artwork: Necklace and earring combination
Quote: “I created this necklace and earring set with the idea that the Boro Glass beads reflect the beautiful color of the ocean surrounding Block Island.”
Wendy has been a member of Spring Street Gallery 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,” Wendy said.
She has been making jewelry for years, but it was not until she retired from a career in health care that she 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,” she said. “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.” She has participated in many jewelry workshops in Massachusetts, Santa Fe and most recently Phoenix, where she usually spends part of the winter. The rest of her time is spent either on Block Island or in Norwell, Mass.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; (781) 771-4599
14. Grace Bochain Luddy
Pictured artwork: Great Salt Pond, 5:56 a.m.
Quote: “While out on Great Salt Pond one morning, I took this photograph and many others. Like Gerard, I love the stillness, the early fog and the silvery gold of the light on the water. I am reminded that for me, the connection to nature comes first. I feel lucky to live here where I have many chances to experience the island as it presents its many beautiful faces and I want to point out that only photography will get me up at this hour. ‘Great Salt Pond, 5:56 AM’ recalls for me one glorious morning chasing every reflection and change as light emerged for the day.”
Grace is a fine art photographer with work held in private and public collections in the U.S., Japan and Trinidad. Her recent book, “Waves: Living with the Ocean on Block Island,” is a collection of photographs of ocean waves and essays about the island. Grace is also an adjunct professor in the Lally School of Management and Technology (Hartford Campus) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, teaching courses at the graduate level in international business, culture, and negotiation.
Contact: email@example.com; www.blockislandlight.com
15. Ted Merritt
Pictured artwork: Rogue Wave
Quote: “Grace Luddy’s wave photos are my inspiration. I try and create in the abstract what she finds in reality. Waves make the beach fun, the winter scary — beautiful, and the ferry ride a challenge. Surfers and sailboats ride the waves. Block Island loves its waves, and so do I.”
Ted is an acrylic artist who paints in Arizona in the winter and on Block Island in the summer. With a passion for sailing and Block Island nautical heritage, his work includes maritime themes. He also creates abstract themes and specializes in “Abstracts to Go.” In this program he uses fluid acrylic on Lupo paper to create 20” x 26” framed paintings done according to the color and theme ordered. As an example, a buyer can pick desired colors and order an abstract according to a desired theme. The painting can be done and framed within an hour while the new owner watches. Shades of color can be pre-mixed, approved and utilized. These originals cost $100.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; (401) 330-0625
16. Eileen Miller
Pictured artwork: Water and Light
Quote: “’Water and Light’ is a current favorite of mine because it has a lot of texture and shimmer. I like the contrast of dark to light and the purple hues which I don’t often use.”
Most of Eileen’s paintings are nature-based. “I love tangled swirls of seaweed, 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,” Eileen said. The process of painting for her involves a love of color and texture and the qualities of oil paint. She likes 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,” she said.
She describes her process this way: “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.
17. Ron Munschy
Pictured artwork: Bronze necklace
Quote: “This piece is made with a Turkish bronze pomegranate pendant. The gemstones in the pendant are quartz, ruby, amethyst and malachite. The necklace is made of rich blue lapis lazuli with speckles and lines of pyrite with vermeil spacers between each stone. I like the piece because it is of fine quality lapis lazuli, and the bronze pomegranate with its gemstone jutting off of it.”
Ron Munschy has been a member of the Spring Street Gallery since it opened some 30 years ago. He started making jewelry when he was very young. “As a child I was always creating. My parents went to work and I went to my grandparents and they always had me creating with my hands,” Ron said. “Being around all the creative energy in Arizona and I started to do my own thing.” He gets the majority of his materials from the Tuscon Gem and Mineral Show, the big event that happens every year. His favorite pieces to make are necklaces. His store, East of the River Nile, has been open for the past seven years.
He’s a native Rhode Islander, but spends his year going back and forth between Block Island and Arizona.
18. Jerry Powers
Pictured artwork: Pebbly Beach
Quote: “I’m particularly fond of this painting because Pebbly Beach is one of my favorite locations on the island (many good fishing memories) and because the textures, colors and flat shapes of paint come together in a way that is equivalent to the mixture of sand, sky and sea.”
Ever since he can remember, Jerry has felt compelled to make paintings, and when something seizes his attention, his instinct is to capture that initial impression. “I’m impatient, yet I often enjoy going to inordinate lengths and taking lots of time to mine that initial response more deeply. I haven’t settled on a single method for doing so, nor do I limit myself to any particular type of subject or genre,” he said. “I mostly use water-mixable oil paint and acrylics because they are handy, flexible and less toxic.”
Contact: (401) 466-9922;
19. Leah Robinson
Pictured artwork: Visiting
Quote: “I love this painting because one of the dinghys is a dear old friend of mine, if we could only listen to what they are saying to each other.”
Leah Robinson checked another one off her bucket list when she became a member of the Spring Street Gallery. Leah is a different kind of watercolorist, using only four colors to paint with, red, green, blue-purple, and yellow-orange. All other colors are created from these four — called a tetrad. Many layers of glazes are used to create the brilliant colors.