‘Summer Days’ Exhibit at Solace Gallery in Surf City
The “Summer Days” exhibit at the Solace Gallery in Surf City through July 24 combines the talents of two women painters: LBI artist Linda Ramsay and gallery owner Franny Andahazy.
Ramsay, from High Bar Harbor, has found the images that people want are what she likes to paint: beach bikes, umbrellas, empty shoreline vistas. She has been instrumental in keeping the LBI Artists Open Studio Tour going, lo these many years, all the while running her Willow Graphics business and painting up a storm.
Ramsay and her husband, Dave, own a home right on the bay near Barnegat Inlet, and her subject matter is literally out her back door or just down the street on the beach.
“We moved here in 2001, and I started painting (Island subjects) and exhibiting in 2005. But when people ask me how long I’ve been painting, I tell them since I was 10 because that was my first oil painting class.”
Her painting of the LBIF nature walk pathway is a new work done from a photo she took last year. “I liked the way the walkway was crooked, which made it a more interesting composition on the 24- by 48-inch vertical canvas.
“The Blue Crab is new, and I have been painting other sea animals earlier this year, including horseshoe crabs, jellyfish, – which sold at Viking Village – and starfish.”
Ramsay is also teaching a two-day Pine Shores Art Association workshop on sea creatures, Aug. 15 and 16. “I have been using dark, almost black backgrounds on paintings, both the sea life ones and new bike paintings, and these seem to be liked,” she noted.
Ramsay has been working very hard through the winter and spring on new paintings and exhibiting in all the LBI shows, the Open Studio Tour and also in Avalon. “It’s been unbelievable. I sold three big paintings in Avalon during a two-day show, and the show organizers were really nice to us – they fed us Friday night, breakfast and lunch the next day!
“The ‘Red Adirondack’ chair painting is being shipped to California; a painting I sold of a jellyfish is going to British Columbia! My paintings are traveling!”
She also met a woman at Frank’s vegetable stand in Barnegat Light who asked to see her paintings in her studio. “I was setting up late at Barnegat Light Day because I couldn’t find my car keys and we searched the house for hours until I found them, and she came to the house and bought a large painting for her bedroom – like the one I am painting now – a large bay scene from above, at dusk with a tiny boat, and I brought it to her house and hung it for her.”
This is the third summer for Franny Andahazy’s Solace Gallery, located at 2312 Long Beach Blvd. “It has been an amazing year,” she said.
“I have another business (she is CEO of PBD special events design company), so I’m in this business because I love it. It’s the happiness factor. I love making people happy. I love listening to what they are looking for and then finding them the artwork that works in their home.”
For this reason, Andahazy offers her services as a consultant. “I have the artists, and I can work with both artists and clients.
“My painting is a direct result of influences from many years of theatrical painting, in which bold colors, strong compositions and alternative points of view are a focus. I approach painting very methodically with many drawings beforehand, often creating a selection of compositions until I find one that captures me. I consider palette colors, underpaint, canvas sizes and think through a plan. I believe this is important to a good painting.
“My painting then emerges based on my emotional response to my subject, within a specialized environment. This may result in many levels of finish in my work, depending on the mood of the environment. The real fun comes in the act of painting, often changing my plan, and the end result often surprises me.”
For many years, Andahazy also had a gallery in Hull, Mass., and maintains a home there for the winter.
Her “New England Winter Still Life with Fruit” is one of her favorites in the show. “I painted it in one day but then came back to refine the painting twice more. It was a corner of my bedroom and has that cold winter, New England light that I love.
“You have to let a painting sit and then go back and paint again. Then the final work is to go back and soften edges; it usually takes three sittings. I paint using a combination of palette knife and brush.
“I use a big brush and add and scrape out passages – I feel the painting process is an additive and subtractive process. The painting ‘speaks’ to you, telling you what to edit. I am an active artist; I have to stand to paint.”
Andahazy’s newest experiment is to paint diptychs and triptychs. Her “Pipers Diptych” caused a bit of a bidding war during the artists opening on Saturday, she said. “I will definitely be doing more piper paintings.”
She also experiments with varnishes for different surface treatments.
Another experiment that is going well in the gallery: tables and benches that she has covered in surfing photos and then varnished. A popular bench of surfing decals can also be a wall hanging.
And that is part of Andahazy’s business sense; if a customer likes a painting but needs a different size, Andahazy said her artists on the whole could accommodate those needs.