Fall is my favorite time of year to be on Cape Cod, as most of the crowds have left for the season but all of the beauty that surrounds this special place remains. It’s this unique natural beauty that brings so many artists to the Cape – they come here looking for inspiration and boy do they find it! Brewster is home to many talented painters and sculptors, several of whom have works displayed right here at the Captain Freeman Inn, and some of my favorite galleries are sprinkled throughout Cape Cod and the Islands.
Karen North Wells is an award winning painter of both watercolors and oils, and she has one of the most interesting galleries you will ever see. The Underground Art Gallery was designed by her late husband, renowned architect Malcolm Wells, back in 1988. It is an earth-covered structure that was built to demonstrate environmentally sound construction practices, and it houses both Karen’s studio and her exhibit space. They are open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 12-5.
Timothy Jon Struna works with the mediums of watercolor, oil, acrylic and copper plate engraving. Over the past four decades he has developed his own characteristic style, incorporating subtle abstract qualities into traditional realism. His work reflects a great appreciation for this area – focusing on the beaches, marshes and cranberry bogs as well as classic studies of Cape architecture, all with an apparent absence of people. “I rarely put figures in my paintings because I want myself, and in turn the viewer, to be the human element in the painting. I want my viewers to experience the scene on their own, just as I painted it in the studio. To see the subject as I am seeing it, like the beach at sunrise before there’s another footprint in the sand.” To see his subjects in person, visit Struna Galleries in Brewster, open daily from 11-5.
Addison Art Gallery in Orleans is a rare and special place that cultivates relationships between artists, collectors and gallery staff to create a truly memorable experience. Set in a classic half-Cape full of natural light, the gallery has a comfortable atmosphere and feels more like a private home than a business. There is a sculpture garden in front, cathedral ceilings upstairs to display more contemporary art, and a fireplace so people can see what a painting would look like over a mantle.
Also in Orleans is Tree’s Place, one of America’s finest contemporary art galleries specializing in realism, impressionism, and post-modernism. Their goal is to recognize and support those artists whose work demonstrates the competence of classical training while simultaneously depicting the modern world, and they are committed to presenting traditionally rendered original works which preserve the integrity of fine art.
And though the Quidley & Company Gallery is located all the way over on Nantucket, I would be remiss to leave it out of my list of local favorites. Their featured artist, Peter Quidley, is a personal friend of mine and truly one of the most talented people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. As one critic said “The first thing you notice about Peter Quidley’s oil paintings is the shimmering, lustrous character of the light which seems to radiate from the inside out, as if each picture is infused with its own individual incandescence.” Trust me, it is definitely worth stopping by this gallery the next time you are on the Islands!