The opening show at the Salty Dog Gallery includes a painting of dories by gallery owner Philip Steel.

Season opens with splash at the Salty Dog

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — The Salty Dog Gallery has opened its annual spring group show featuring the work of some talented amateur and a few professional artists, including proprietor Phil Steel’s own handsome marine and landscape paintings.

This gallery opening has become the big pre-season event in Southwest Harbor. More than 100 people showed up last weekend to see the artwork, listen to some good music provided by Chris Grey’s Celts and see who had survived the wicked winter with body, soul and talent intact.

Among the many highlights of the show are some impressionist-style seascapes by Beth Lambert, whose vibrant use of color and broad brushstrokes bring to mind the work of Cranberry Island artist Henry Isaacs.

An impressionist-style seascape by Beth Lambert

An impressionist-style seascape by Beth Lambert

Donna Parker’s large oil “Inner Light, Outer Light” is among the most intriguing pieces in the show, depicting a scene in which the interior artificial light is deconstructed into thousands of points of color, and the exterior light of a sunrise or sunset glimpsed through a window is softer, less fractured.

Sydney Roberts has one of the most fun pieces in the show, a wooden head made from found objects and titled “Satin Doll,” which also is the name of her IOD sailboat, and it just has to be a self portrait. She also has another piece in the show, one of the saddest, a photographic triptych of a tranquil twilit scene, on the sound perhaps, which she has hung on its side so the reflections of the mountains in the glassy water resemble three tall wine glasses. She has titled it “Sandro” in honor of a friend and fellow sailor who died a few weeks ago, Mount Desert resident Sandro Vitelli.

Among the “usual suspects” who often exhibit at these group shows is Marion Smith of Bar Harbor, whose light touch with watercolors gets more impressive each year. Her airily washed view of sailing on sun-dappled water, “Summer Sails,” is quite perfect. Maggie Johnson’s bold approach to the same medium and closer perspectives is equally pleasing, especially her elephant head done in muted grays and oranges, which looks somehow very specific, like a family portrait.

Ellen Kappes, Priscilla Keene, Nancy Homer, Flo Ervin and Sidney Salvatore also are well represented with their delicate watercolors, as is Jean Forbes, whose bolder watercolors have a very pleasing, somewhat illustrative quality. Her lobster boat “Julie Anne” suggests a story.

Painters Barbara Strubell, Chris Gray, Chris Rawls and newcomer Nat Fenton, and sculptors Jim Green and Greg Ondo help lend depth to this show. Steel himself, who navigates equally well in watercolor and oil, demonstrates his professional skill in a variety of peaceful landscapes and hair-raising marine scenes of small boats plunging through roiling seas.

The show at the gallery on Main Street will be on view for another two weeks. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Sunday.


Nan Lincoln

Nan Lincoln

The former arts editor at the Bar Harbor Times writes reviews and feature stories for The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander.

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