Art exhibit

By Heidi Sutton

What inspires you? Perhaps the color blue? From now through March 21, the Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Mills Pond Gallery in St. James is featuring a unique juried exhibit centered around this calming color. Titled Inspirations in Blue, it highlights the talents of 46 artists from Long Island and beyond with 57 pieces in mediums including acrylic, ink, colored pencil, mixed media, oil, pastel and watercolor. 

The call for entries challenged artists to enter artwork that reflected the captivating power of the color blue, and how it has enhanced the subject, theme or mood of the artwork. Allison Cruz, executive director at the Mills Pond Gallery, credits her staff member Irene Tetrault with coming up with the original idea of using a color.

“Blue represents the sky and sea. It is associated with freedom, imagination, sensitivity … I have seen many shows about colors and knowing how common the color blue is, especially in local landscape paintings, but I wanted this exhibit to look just a bit deeper into the color,” she explained.

The result was overwhelming. “We received over 183 pieces for this show! The exhibit was only posted locally,” said Cruz. “Sometimes I wish I had double the space to fill in the gallery so we could accept more work! On a whole, most entries were Long Island artists (or past Long Islanders who heard about the exhibit). There is such an abundance of talent on Long Island and we are so lucky to have so many wonderful spaces to show their work!”

Cruz is pleased with the result. “It is a beautiful show to look at … very pleasing to the eye. Viewers will find exactly what the call for work asked for: entries may range from serene landscapes to vibrant abstracts and anything in between,” she said.

Exhibiting artists include Lucia Alberti (Smithtown), Amal (Port Jefferson), Tina Anthony (Northport), Shain Bard (Huntington Station), Ernest Bellico (East Northport), Karen Bennett (Medford), Ivy Michelle Berg (Smithtown), Marlene Bezich (Middle Island), Joyce Bressler (Commack), Linda Ann Catucci (St. James), Gail L. Chase (Stony Brook), Donna Corvi (Montauk), Karin J. Dutra (Port Jefferson), Paul Jay Edelson (Poquott), Ellen Ferrigno (Port Jefferson), Vivian Gattuso (Ronkonkoma), Rhoda Gordon (Port Jefferson Station), Joyce Greenbaum (Smithtown), Jan Guarino (East Northport), Maria Hansson (Ronkonkoma), David Herman (East Meadow), Katherine Hiscox (Commack), James Kelson (Stony Brook), Lynn Kinsella (Brookhaven), John Koch (Hauppauge), Liz Kolligs (Glen Cove), Terence McManus (Mount Sinai), Margaret Minardi (Northport), Roni Murillo (Valley Stream), and Gail Neuman (Islip Terrace).

Also exhibiting are Robert Roehrig (East Setauket), Irene Ruddock (Stony Brook), Anita Schnirman (Kings Park), Joan Schwartzman (Maryland), Joan Sicignano (Central Islip), Gisela Skoglund (Kings Park), Mike Stanko (Valley Stream), Irene Tetrault (East Meadow), Susan Trawick (East Setauket), Oxana Uryasev (Port Jefferson), Nicholas Valentino (North Babylon), Mary Ann Vetter (St. James), Don Weber (Freeport), Nancy Weeks (East Setauket), Patty Yantz (Setauket) and Theodora Zavala (East Meadow).

The winners were announced at an artist reception on Feb. 22. First place was awarded to Gail Neuman for “Birches in Blue,” second place went to Karin J. Dutra for “Pria do Norte.” Honorable mentions were Shain Bard for “Birches in Blue Bottle,” Karen Bennett for “Tis the Season,” Marlene Bezich for “Your Colors,” Liz Kolligs for “Little Guide in Deep Winter,”  Margaret Minardi for “Summer Blue” and Nicholas Valentino for “Shades of Blue.”

Because of all the positive feedback, Cruz is considering a similar theme in the future. “I’m already thinking about one with a much less common color! We really like to challenge artists to stretch themselves … to try something new.”

The Mills Pond Gallery, located at 660 Route 25A, St. James, will present Inspirations in Blue through March 21. Up next is Hand Drawn:  A Juried Exhibition of Drawings opening April 25. The gallery is open Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

'At the Gallery' by Ludovico Abejar

Celebrate the exceptional talent of Long Island artists at the Annual Invitational Exhibition at the Atelier at Flowerfield, 2 Flowerfield, Suite 15, St. James. The juried show runs from March 5 to April 30.

Exhibiting artists  include Ludovico Abejar,  Lucia Alberti,  Ross Barbera, Marta Baumiller, Marlene Bezich, Nariman Boyle, Al Candia Kenneth Cerreta, Anthony Davis ,Paul Edelson, Dan Fusco, Shelley Holtzman, Frances Ianarella, David Jaycox, Jr Laurence Johnston, Liz Jorg Masi, Raymond McGraime, Jane McGraw-Teubner, Fred Mendelsohn, Joseph Miller, Annette Napolitano, Meriel Pitarka, Irene Ruddock, Oscar Santiago, Lori Scarlatos, Ilene Silberstein, Rosario Stine-Barry, Judy Stone, Angela Stratton, and Helena Weber.

Meet the artists at an opening reception on Thursday, March 5 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

For more information, call 632-250-9009 or visit www.atelierflowerfield.org.

'Black Opal,' acrylic on canvas, by Bill Durham

By Melissa Arnold

Running a museum is far from simple. Consider this: The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook is home to more than 2,500 pieces of artwork done on paper, 500 paintings and 100 pieces of three-dimensional art. Each piece must be catalogued, maintained, protected and stored. It’s a delicate and meticulous process that takes a lot of work.

Recently, the LIM received a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts to expand and upgrade its storage facilities. They’ll need to clear out some of their existing storage space to prepare for renovation, and fortunately its visitors will reap the rewards of the process.

From Feb. 22 to June 26, the museum will present Off the Rack: Building and Preserving LIM’s Art Treasures, an exhibit of approximately 90 works of art from its permanent collection, in the main gallery of its Art Museum. Many pieces in the exhibit are only put on view rarely, if at all.

‘Dance of the Haymakers,’ 1845, oil on canvas mounted on wood, by William Sidney Mount

“We could have taken the artwork to off-site storage, but we thought, ‘Why not put it on display?’ In order to make more space, we thought this would be a great time to assess the state of the collection and share its history and highlights with our visitors,” said LIM Deputy Director and Curator Joshua Ruff. “This is an opportunity for people to see things they may not have seen before.”

Ruff said that choosing pieces for Off the Rack was a team effort by the museum staff, who sought to put together a cohesive story of how the museum’s collection has grown and evolved over the years.

Visitors will be able to explore a time line of the LIM’s conservation efforts. In addition, each work in the exhibit will include its accession number, which will help teach visitors how the museum keeps track of each piece.

Off the Rack is divided into loose sections celebrating particular themes and standout artists. Not to be missed is a section dedicated to one of the museum’s “anchor” artists, William Sidney Mount. Among Mount’s included works are an 1841 painting of Crane Neck Marsh, which Ruff says is “an example of his extremely detailed craftsmanship while creating a natural setting,” and “Dance of the Haymakers,” a painting of a fiddler playing music for dancing farmhands, which made Mount a household name in 1845. 

Other high-profile artists with dedicated spaces in the exhibit include Arnold Hoffman, Samuel Rothport, Winslow Homer, Joe Reboli and Helen Torr, among others.

There are also sections of artwork focused on coastal and marine environments, abstract work and contemporary artists, including some local Long Islanders like Janet Culbertson, Bruce Lieberman and Dan Pollera.

Ty Stroudsburg of Southold also has artwork at the LIM — her 2000 oil painting on linen “Pumpkin Field at Sunset” is one of many views that have caught her eye on the North Fork.

“I love color. I used to drive around with a sketch pad in my car, and it was always color that would lead me to pull over and either do quick sketches with pastels or take a photograph to use for later,” said Stroudsburg, whose work has hung in exhibits and museums throughout New York and New Jersey for more than 60 years. 

“I didn’t strive for notoriety, I just painted because I love to paint and it keeps me going. I feel extremely fortunate that curators believe my art is worth being a part of their museums,” she added.

For LIM Executive Director Neil Watson, Off the Rack provides the chance to see their continuously evolving collection in a new light.

“As we began to do the work required for the renovations and take pieces out of storage, there were things in the collection I hadn’t seen in several years, and even some pieces I didn’t even know we had,” he recalled. 

“That’s the beauty of this exhibit -— we get to share parts of our collection that people may have never even seen before. Of course, there will be plenty of ‘old friends,’ like the work from William Sidney Mount, but there is so much more to see. Ours is a living collection — it’s not sealed or stagnant, and it continues to grow.”

The Long Island Museum, 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook presents Off the Rack: Building and Preserving LIM’s Art Treasures, from Feb. 22 through June 26. The museum is open Thursdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Admission for adults is $10; discounts are available for children, college students, seniors and the disabled. For more information, visit www.longislandmuseum.org or call 631-751-0066.

Music and Art by Naomi Diracles

By Melissa Arnold

Looking at a beautiful painting, photo or sculpture can sometimes evoke strong memories or emotions. For many people, the same is true when listening to music. It’s even possible to have a piece of music conjure up an image in the mind’s eye, or for artwork to seem musical.

The Huntington Arts Council is exploring the intersection of visual arts and music in its newest exhibit, Sights and Sounds: Rhythms and Scales, on view at its Main Street Gallery from Feb. 7 through March 14.

The unique subject has been on business manager Kieran Johnson’s mind for some time.

“The overlap of music and visual art has always been a fascination of mine with my favorite visual artists, both contemporary and historical, having their background in music,” Johnson said. “I was reviewing video and listening to tracks from our monthly Singer-Songwriter Night and decided I wanted to do [an exhibit] about auditory and visual art.”

Artists were asked to consider a series of questions as inspiration for their submissions: Does your work exude rhythm, melody, lyrics, harmony or dissonance from a social, political or musical perspective? Does it elicit a reaction in sounds, words or movement? Does it dance or sway? Does it move or move the viewer? Does it sing? 

Johnson called on friend of the Huntington Arts Council Kevin McEvoy to jury the exhibit. McEvoy has worked with the council in a number of capacities, from a member and past juror to panelist and educator.

“Kevin has been a supportive partner in the work we do for over a decade. He is an incredibly skilled artist and arts educator, and his professional and personal background make him an interesting person to know and work with,” Johnson said.

A Long Island native, McEvoy studied fine arts at Stony Brook University and refined his painting skills while in Chile and Italy. He is also the founder of The Atelier at Flowerfield in St. James.

“I’ve always appreciated the relationship of mutual respect and support I’ve had with the Huntington Arts Council. They are so warm and encouraging not just with me, but with all of the artists who approach them,” McEvoy said. “I’ve painted a lot of musicians, musical instruments and music inspired pieces, and I’m excited to jury an exhibit on a subject I feel passionately about.”

In total, 60 artists from across the country submitted 156 pieces for consideration. McEvoy narrowed the field to 44 pieces by 40 artists. The final exhibit includes oil paintings, pastels, graphite drawings, photography and more.

Participating artists include Rose Ann Albanese, Sheri Berman, Zintis Buzermanis, Lisa L. Cangemi, Linda Ann Catucci, Kenneth Cerreta, Kaylynn Chenn, Jody Cukier, Doris Diamond, Naomi Diracles, Vicki Field, Jim Finlayson, Cori Forster, Andrea Fortunoff, Kathleen Gerlach, Roxana Gheorghe, Bill Grabowski, Jan Guarino, Margaret Henning, Nayyar Iqbal, David Jaycox Jr., Wendy June Jensen, Marc Josloff, Julianna Kirk, Beth Laxer-Limmer, Jacques LeBlanc, Stephanie L. Marcus, Kristen Memoli, Margaret Minardi, Mary Nagin, Thais Osorio, Luda Pahl, Eli Rabe, Andrea Rhude, Olivia Rodson, Saul Rosenstreich, Barbara Stein, Victor Vaccaro, Pamela Waldroup and Ella Yang.

“Long Island is a musical place. Our identity is rooted in music and it’s a big part of the culture here, so it’s a natural fit for artists to explore,” McEvoy said. “I tried not to bring any preconceptions of what a piece should look like. Whether it is a lilting line of a kinetic wire sculpture, an atmospheric photo of a violin that almost reads as a mountainscape, or the joyful pluck of an instrument in beautiful pastel colors, indeed, across Long Island, painters, sculptors and musicians are still singing.”

Andrea Fortunoff of Syosset created a digital collage entitled “Dance the Floor: Generations in Rhythm,” depicting dancing people of African heritage in various styles of dress.

“The Huntington Arts Council artist call for Sights and Sounds: Rhythm and Scales spurred me to reflect on the historical synergy between music and dance,” Fortunoff stated in an email. “As an ancient and ephemeral art, dance relies on passing cadence from body to body. My collage is a visual representation of how rhythm and pattern intertwine and are inscribed in a dancer’s memory; reverberating from dancer to dancer through time.”

The exhibit’s opening reception on Friday, Feb. 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. will allow artists and visitors the chance to get to know each other while appreciating the variety of media on display. McEvoy will select a best in show and honorable mention before the reception begins.

“We are thrilled to feature this exhibit and have Kevin McEvoy as the juror. This show is a wonderful depiction of the intertwined nature of art. The work is beautiful and highlights a wide array of artists,” said HAC Executive Director Marc Courtade. “Kevin has been a longtime friend of HAC. His talent, knowledge and contribution to the arts have meant so much to us and the Long Island community. We are looking forward to seeing him at the reception.”

The Huntington Arts Council will present Sights and Sounds: Rhythms and Scales at its Main Street Gallery, 213 Main St., Huntington through March 14. For further information, call 631-271-8423 or visit www.huntingtonarts.org.

By Heidi Sutton

Do you have a case of the winter blues? A surefire cure is a visit to the Winners Fine Art Showcase, currently on view at the Mills Pond Gallery in St. James through Feb. 15. The gorgeous exhibit features the works of local artists Ross Barbera, Kyle Blumenthal, Julie Doczi and Liz Kolligs, who won the 2018 Members Showcase, along with Cliff Miller who took first place in the 2019 Water, Water Everywhere exhibit. The artists were selected by juror Dawn Lee, art curator of the Omni Gallery in Uniondale, professor and chair of the art department at St. Joseph’s College, and coordinator of the artist-in-residency program at Fire Island National Seashore. An artist reception was held on Jan. 25.

According to STAC’s Executive Director Allison Cruz, the annual exhibit was created over 30 years ago “to allow the public to experience a larger body of work from winning artists.” Each artist chose from 6 to 14 of their favorite pieces to showcase and then Cruz was tasked with the design aspect, filling four gallery rooms and the center hall on the first floor of the historic 1838 Greek Revival mansion.

“That is my favorite part of the show … those days before when I get to spend time with the works and figure out how each piece might be best presented in what space,” she said. “It’s a challenging puzzle but so satisfying and I really learn so much about the artist during this time.” 

The executive director is proud of the end result. “I think this is an impressive exhibit. There is such a wide variety of painting styles and mediums and techniques by five accomplished artists … and all from Long Island! Viewers should easily connect with the works in this show.”

While completely unintentional, much of the artwork shares a common theme − the beauty of Mother Earth. “I love the threads of nature that run through almost all the works in this show,” said Cruz. “Each artist clearly has a love and respect for the natural world. Although their work is very different in style, medium and color palette, that theme is strong throughout the show. That does not usually happen in a Winners Show but when it does it is just wonderful. It makes for a strong exhibit.” 

A perfect example of this is “Mountain Mallards” by renowned illustrator, portrait artist and muralist Cliff Miller. Beautifully executed, it is sure to be a conversation starter (yes, it is an oil painting; no it is not a photograph!). The Seaford resident has several other pieces in the show including a jaw-dropping Western-themed portrait titled “Desperado” and a humorous oil on gesso panel piece titled “The McDivots,” which features a golfer riding an alligator to the next tee.

Pastel lovers will be drawn to Julie Doczi’s delicate landscapes including “Croatian Stream,” “Connecticut Marsh” and one of the artist’s favorite, “The Lavender Harvester.” In her artist statement, the Port Jefferson Station resident said, “My journey into painting as an adult began when I encountered the medium of pastel. I began to find my view of the world around me opening up in a way never experienced before. It is a joyous experience to put these perceptions onto paper, to capture a scene and ultimately have it achieve its own unique identity.” Doczi’s “First Bloom” depicting a blue morning glory is simply stunning.

If you have a soft heart for horses, you’ll love the large equine oil on canvas paintings of Liz Kolligs including “A Herd of Your Own,” “Reflection” and “Bell – A Portrait.” The artist also has several beautiful wildlife paintings on display including “At the Edge of the Woods” and “Mill Neck Creek.” As a lecturer and demonstrator of equine painting techniques and anatomy throughout Long Island, the Glen Cove resident has truly perfected her art.

Perhaps the most unique art represented in the exhibit is by Kyle Blumenthal, who also has the most pieces in the show. Drawing inspiration from nature, her large 3-D paintings made from fabric, including several from her “All the Future Is in Today” series, explore the ocean and the Earth in an abstract manner. 

“I like to see my work float in midair,” the Stony Brook resident said in a recent interview with TBR News Media. “More and more of my paintings have started to come away from the wall as if to free themselves from restrictions and straight edges.”

Rounding out the exhibit are the massive landscape paintings of Ross Barbera. Created in acrylic on canvas and watercolor on paper, Barbera “strives to create images that communicate a sense of beauty, painterly integrity, and capture specific places in terms of time, light, space and texture,” according to the Ronkonkoma resident’s artist statement. One can’t miss the 48- by 72-inch winter-themed piece, “The Athabasca Glacier, Alberta Canada” or the eye-popping “Bonnie’s Summer Garden.”

“These talented artists are making passionate statements about the things they value in this world but in a gentle way,” said Cruz. “There is so much room for wonder!”

The Mills Pond Gallery, located at 660 Route 25A, St. James, will present the Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Winners Showcase through Feb. 15. The gallery is open Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

'Bali' by Paton Miller

Gallery North kicks off the New Year with an exciting new exhibit titled Allegorical Narratives: Paintings & Drawings by Paton Miller. The show runs from Jan. 17 to Feb. 23 with a special opening reception tonight, Jan. 16, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Allegorical Narratives is Miller’s first solo exhibition at Gallery North and features a selection of paintings and drawings that highlight the artist’s use of metaphor and symbolism throughout his works. 

A painter of canvas, copper and board, Miller forges broader narratives out of personal adventures, allegories within which one meaning, story or image is doubled by another. 

A house, a mule, a dog, a boat, his imagery is distinct and subtly touches on the fundamental elements of our existence such as our personal journeys, life’s hardships or family. Through these insistent motifs, Miller’s painted spaces refigure his life history, his adventures and his sense of connection to others. His allegorical narratives are endless, as well, holding past and future in a spiraling cycle of regeneration. They describe a puzzle with an unknown number of pieces, assembled by the songwriter of an eternal ballad.

Born in Seattle, raised in Hawaii, Miller has been a resident of Southampton for 45 years. His work is in the collections of The Heckscher Museum of Art, the Parrish Art Museum, Guild Hall and The Long Island Museum, and he has served as a curator of East End Collected at the Southampton Arts Center for five consecutive years. He has also shown internationally at the International Invitational Art Expo in Shanghai, China, and the Florence Biennale in Florence, Italy.

Miller will also be participating in an ArTalk at the gallery on Feb. 2 from 3 to 5 p.m. To reserve your seat, call 631-751-2676.

Gallery North is located at 90 North Country Road in Setauket. Hours are Wednesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.gallerynorth.org.

Artwork from local artists add beauty and warmth

By Heidi Sutton

John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson recently completed an extensive renovation of its 2 South patient unit, designed to further reduce the risk of infection and increase patient comfort. The unit, which was named for New York Cancer & Blood Specialists thanks to its generous donation, officially reopened with a ribbon-cutting celebration on Jan. 6. The project was largely supported through community donations totaling close to $1.7 million.

Opened in 1973, 2 South, which primarily treats cancer patients, now features single-bed rooms for improved patient outcomes and privacy. Enhancements include new showers and enlarged bathrooms, a new nurses station, a patient family lounge and a serenity room for staff. 

One of the highlights of the newly renovated floor is the installation of 43 pieces of art that adorn the hallway walls. Titled “Wonders of Nature,” the pieces were chosen by curator Irene Ruddock. “My goal was to create a peaceful and serene environment that might provide a sense of spiritual healing. I looked for paintings that touched the soul and will provide comfort and solace for patients, staff, and visitors,” she explained. 

Twenty-nine local artists from LIMarts, the Setauket Artists and the North Shore Art Guild donated original works to add beauty and warmth to the unit including Ross Barbera, Shain Bard, Ron Becker, Joan Bloom, Kyle Blumenthal, Renee Caine, Anthony Davis, Bart DeCeglie, Julie Doczi, Lily Farah, Marge Governale, William Graf, Peter Hahn, Celeste Mauro, Judith Mausner, Lorraine McCormick, Ed McEvoy, Eleanor Meier, Rick Mundy, Karen Miller O’Keefe, Paula Pelletier, Joan Rockwell, Robert Roehrig, Joseph F. Rotella, Irene Ruddock, Ty Stroudsburg, Maria Lourdes Velez, Victoria Westholm and Patricia Yantz. 

“I will always to grateful to all the artists who, with their dedication to art, wished to share their gifts with Mather hospital,” said Ms. Ruddock.  

From left, WMHS Visual Arts Coordinator Jennifer Trettner, DGSIR CEO Deirdre O’Connell, aritst Corinne Angeand DGSIR Regional Manager Anthony DeGrotta. Photo by Lianna Kosch
Corrine Ange with her winning artwork.
Photo by Lianna Kosch

Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty of Stony Brook celebrated all of the final contestants featured in the Fall 2019 Ward Melville High School Student Art Contest on Dec. 1. 

The public voted on their favorite piece of art during the month of November. 

The winning artist was Ward Melville High School senior Corrine Ange. Her watercolor piece impressed many with its vibrant colors and lifelike quality. The prize for Ange was a $500 scholarship presented by Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty’s CEO Deirdre O’Connell, who applauded all of the artists for contributing their talents and thanked all attendees for their support for making community events like this possible. 

The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook hosted an artist reception for its latest exhibit, Anything Goes!, on Dec. 6. The exceptional exhibit features artwork created by 104 participating members of LIMarts, the LIM’s special membership initiative for artists. 

Joshua Ruff, deputy director at the Long Island Museum, welcomed the artists and guests to the reception.“It’s quite amazing and impressive how, just within a space of a few miles, we have such incredible talent. I think this is our best show yet − it’s colorful, it’s wonderful.” Most of the artwork is for sale with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the museum’s exhibitions and programs. The show is on view in the museum’s Visitors Center through Jan. 5. 

For more information, call 631-751-0066 or visit www.longislandmuseum.org.

Photos by Heidi Sutton

'Kicking up the Dust'

By Melissa Arnold

Ask Sally Anne Keller what she loves most about painting with watercolors, and she’ll give an interesting response: She says it’s like painting backward.

“There’s no white paint in watercolor, so if you want to have a white cloud in your piece, for example, you have to paint around the area you want it to go. It’s a little tricky, and I enjoy that,” said Keller, 53, of Rocky Point.

The artist fell in love with painting when she was just a little girl, and since then her work has appeared in galleries, libraries, hotels and local businesses. Her next event is a solo exhibit entitled Atmospheric Watercolors, appearing at the North Shore Public Library in Shoreham for the month of December.

“I grew up with a single mom and she worked a lot, and I was always doodling or painting something. Then one day when I was in elementary school, we had an art class about watercolors. That was it for me,” she recalled.

‘Path to Beach’

Aside from public school art classes, Keller is entirely self-taught, gathering much of her painting expertise from poring over books. Her family was supportive, she said, and pushed her to create and share whatever she could.

Ultimately, Keller began a career in the insurance industry, working jobs in various parts of the field for 30 years. On the weekends, she works as a consultant at an art gallery. And of course, whenever she can steal a few moments to herself, she’s painting in her home studio.

“You can be your own worst critic, and to hear other people say that they enjoy your work feels really good,” Keller said about the exhibition process. Her first exhibit a decade ago in Southampton brought her out of a solitary hobby and into the local art scene.

She’s now a part of the North Shore Art Guild and loves selling her work at affordable prices to raise money for causes close to her heart. Even the infamous radio host Howard Stern has purchased one of Keller’s paintings — at the time, he shared that he enjoyed painting with watercolors himself.

“I love getting people together, especially when it can help other people at the same time,” she said. “I’ve donated to veterans’ causes, animal rescues, and children’s hospitals in the past.”

With Atmospheric Watercolors, Keller has selected about a dozen watercolor paintings of varied sizes that depict Long Island landscapes. What makes her work special, she said, is the way she tries to pull viewers into the scene.

“I’m really into nature — I see shapes, shadows, and colors in ways that most people overlook. I like to create pieces that make you feel what you see. If it’s a sunny day, then I want you to be able to feel the warmth. If it’s a storm, you might feel the heaviness of the clouds coming in or smell the rain,” Keller said. “If people can experience that by looking at my work, then it makes me happy.”

Currently, the Holiday Inn Express Stony Brook, located at 3131 Nesconset Hwy. in Centereach, is featuring a collection of works from the North Shore Art Guild. The exhibit includes several of Keller’s paintings. All the artwork on display is for sale, and proceeds from sales of those pieces will benefit Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. 

Vito Marrone, incoming president of the North Shore Art Guild, met the watercolor artist when he first joined the organization in 2011. At the time, Keller was participating in a mixed exhibit of more than 50 artists. Marrone recalls Keller’s work catching his eye right away.

 “We have some really great artists that are part of the North Shore Art Guild, and Sally is one of them. I’ve had the chance to take classes with her and she’s so good at what she does,” he said. “Watercolor is difficult, and she’s taught me a lot about how to engineer a watercolor and maintain control of the paint so that the finished piece comes out well.”

Keller’s work has been featured in several exhibits at the North Shore Public Library, and Adult Program Coordinator Lorena Doherty said they’re excited to welcome her back again.

“Sally is a skilled watercolor artist. Her work is direct, and luscious in the use of color and light,” Doherty said. “Sally has a way of isolating the beauty of nature and creating the feeling of standing inside the work, not just on the outside looking in. Atmospheric artwork is timeless and enduring, and the exhibit is a beautiful addition to the library.”

For those interested in meeting Keller and learning more about working with watercolor, she will host a demonstration at the library on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. All are welcome and the event is free.

North Shore Public Library, 250 Route 25A, Shoreham will present Atmospheric Watercolors throughout the month of December. For library hours and more information, please call 631-929-4488.