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Sally Anne Keller

Art is in full bloom at the Smithtown Township Arts Council’s Mills Pond Gallery in St. James with its latest exhibit, Flower Power. The unique show, which runs from June 1 to 29, flows through four gallery rooms and the center hall gallery on the first floor of the historic 1838 Greek Revival mansion.

Artists were invited to submit art that reflects the beauty and uniqueness of flowers — whether represented in realism, impressionism or even abstraction — and to celebrate their colors, textures, shapes, and the emotions they evoke.

Using acrylic, fiber, ceramic, colored pencil, gouache, ink, mixed media, mosaic, oil, pastel, torn paper and watercolor, 83 artists from 46 Long Island communities as well as NYC, Ohio and Virginia accepted the challenge to produce a beautiful bouquet of original floral-themed works. 

Exhibiting artists include Alacia Stubbs, Angela Stratton, Ashley Thorbjornsen, Bernice Corbin, Carissa Millett, Carmela Taliercio Cohn, Carol Ceraso, Carolanne Goff, Caryn Coville, Catherine Rezin, Christine Verga Maday, Christine Woodring, Christopher Krauss, Dale Luongo, David Herman, Debra Baker, Dominique Treboux, Donna Corvi, Eileen Baumeister McIntyre, Eileen Shaloum, Ellen Ferrigno, Felecia Montfort, Gabriella Grama, Gretchen Smith, James Kelson, Jan Guarino, Jessica Rybak, Joan Gould, Joanne Teets, John Mansueto, Joseph Weinreb, Joyce Bressler, Judith Caseley, Judith Musaro, Judy Stone, Julie Doczi, Karen McClendon, Kathee Shaff Kelson, Kathleen Bart, Kathleen McArdle, Khrystyne Robillard-Smith, Kyle Blumenthal, Linda Ann Catucci, Linda Hartman, Lisa Stanko, Liz Jorg Masi, Lori Scarlatos, Lou Charnon Deutsch, Lynn Kinsella, Maddy Stare, Marcie Serber, Margaret Farr, Mark Levine, Marsha Abrams, Mary Ann Hart, Mary Kiernan, Mary Lor, Mary Waka, Maureen Ginipro, Maureen Palmieri, Myungja Anna Koh, Patricia A. Morrison, Patricia Blasius, Patricia Luppino, Patti Peterson, Paula Sherman, Peter Galasso, Renee Caine, Rima Potter, Robert Roehrig, Sally Anne Keller, Samantha Kenny, Scott Hartman, Sean Pollock, Sharon Pearsall, Sheniqua Young, Stefani Jarrett, Stephen Shannon, Theodora Zavala, Tianzhao Zhao, Tina Anthony, Tracey Alemaghides, and Veronica Lawlor.

The public is invited to an opening reception for Flower Power on Saturday, June 1 from 1 to 4 p.m. to meet the exhibiting artists and view their work.

The Mills Pond Gallery is located at 660 Route 25A in Saint James. Hours of operation are Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from noon to 4 p.m. (closed June 16). Admission to the gallery is always free. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

In perfect timing with Earth Day, the Smithtown Township Arts Council presents Surrounded by Water, a juried art exhibit at the Mills Pond Gallery in St. James featuring the work of 94 artists from 53 communities in New York whose work shows us the elegance, power, and fragility of the Long Island waters that are a source of beauty and wonder. The show runs from April 20 to May 18. 

From ponds, streams and bays to oceans, the waters of Long Island have long provided artists endless possibilities in which to seek their muse. Artists were invited to submit works that will stir memories and curiosities about our beautiful Long Island waters, inspiring gallery visitors to reflect on their relationship to the water that shapes nearly every aspect of their lives and how we must all work to protect it.

Mediums include oil, acrylic, colored pencil, conté, gouache, ink, mixed media, pastel, pencil, photography, and watercolor. Prizes will be awarded for Best in Show along with second and third prize.

Exhibiting artists include Adam Smith,  Al Candia, Anastasia Eswar, Angela Stratton, Anthony Davis,Barbara Bilotta, Barbara Jeanne Siegel, Barbara Keenan, Barry Feuerstein, Bart DeCeglie, Bernice Corbin, Carissa Millett, Carol Ceraso, Carol Koch, Catherine Rezin, Christine MacDonagh, Christopher Buckley, Daniel van Benthuysen, Diana Aliberti, Diane Oliva, Dominique Treboux, Drigo Morin, Ellen Ferrigno, Frederic Mendelsohn, George Junker, Gia Horton, Hillary Serota Needle, Howie Pohl, Irene Vitale, Jacques Garant, James Fingado, James Kelson, Jan Guarino, Jane McGraw-Teubner, Jared Glennon, Jeanette Martone,  Jim Minet, Joan Rockwell, JoAnn Gushue, JoAnne Dumas, John Mansueto, John Taylor, Judith Musaro, Judy Pagano, Judy Stone, Karen Davis, Karen Mortimore, Kathee Shaff Kelson, Katheryn Laible, Khrystyne Robillard-Smith, Kusuma Bheemineni, Linda Hartman, Lisa Marie Scrima-Castelli, Lori Scarlatos, Lou Charnon-Deutsch, Lynn Staiano, Margaret Governale, Mark Levine, Marsha Abrams, Mary Kiernan, Matthew Lombardo, Melanie Reim, Mike Stanko, Myungja Anna Koh, Nancy Wernersbach, Oscar Santiago, Patricia DiGiovanni, Patricia Venturino, Patti Peterson, Patty Yantz, Paul Edelson, Regina Halliday, Renee Caine, Robert Berson, Robert Roehrig, Robert Wallkam, Sally Anne Keller, Scott Hartman, Sheila Breck, Sheniqua Young, Stacey Schuman, Susan Guihan Guasp, Terry Tramantano, Theodora Zavala, Tianzhou Zhao, Tina Anthony, Tracy Mahler Tekverk, Vanessa Pineda Fox, Vicki Field, Vivian Hershfield, Whitney Bell, and William Reed.

The public is invited to an opening reception on Saturday, April 20 from 1 to 4 p.m. to meet the exhibiting artists and view their work. 

Mills Pond Gallery is located at 660 Route 25A, Saint James. Hours of operation are Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from noon to 4 p.m. (closed May 12). Admission to the gallery is always free. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

The latest exhibit at the Mills Pond Gallery in St. James, Winners Showcase, features nine artists associated with the Smithtown Township Arts Council (STAC) who were winning artists from shows at the gallery in 2023. On view from March 9 to April 5, it features works by Eleanor Day, Tyler Hughes, Sally Anne Keller, Tracy Mahler-Tekverk, Jeanette Martone, Liz Jorg Masi, Fred Mendelsohn, Patricia Morrison, and Robert Tuska.

Eleanor Day, an artist from Pennsylvania, works mostly in oils for figurative, landscape and interior representational art. “I have a decisive style dominated by bright colors and strong outlines, suggestive of stained glass and Mexican muralists through subject matter that speaks for and to those in our society whose voices go unheard,” she said.

Tyler Hughes of Patchogue is a representational oil painter whose work is centered around the exploration of the human form and its emotions. With a profound connection to symbolism and the esoteric, Hughes’s work invites viewers into a world where ancient stories and universal truths converge.

Watercolorist Sally Anne Keller of Rocky Point is inspired by the light, color, and atmosphere provided by nature. “I grew up on Long Island and appreciate the atmosphere of all Long Islands seasons.  I capture in my seascapes and landscapes the atmosphere, fog, dust, wind, rain, and sunshine,” she explained.

Tracy Mahler-Tekverk of Kings Park said “It is important for me to constantly learn in creating my artwork, while still giving myself the creative license necessary to form a compelling piece. For all my paintings I aim to balance realism and looseness, while accurately capturing the way light wraps around the subjects.”

Jeanette Martone‘s pencil and ink drawings capture the emotions, environment, struggles and beauty of those living on the edge of life. The Bay Shore artist’s subjects are captured in a moment of time revealing their inner spirit and the beauty that can be found in the infinite details of their lives.

After being a commercial artist most of her life, Liz Jorg Masi of Smithtown now devotes her time to fine art painting. She excels in portraiture but also paints landscapes and still lifes in pastel, oil, and watercolor.

Fred Mendelsohn of Port Jefferson has carried many titles in his life…neurologist, philanthropist, author, musician, and artist. Predominantly a landscape artist, Mendelsohn works in both oil and egg tempera paints. “The bucolic fields and waterways of the North Shore and the villages of Italy are sources of inspiration to me,” he said. 

Through her art, Patricia Morrison of Coram is interested in conveying a message, wanting to make people think. Patricia enjoys beauty, jazz and nature and likes to blend these aspects in her art “to show my appreciation for the beauty in nature, and to inspire and heal others going through controversial issues.”

A resident of Sound Beach, Robert Tuska‘s paintings and drawings cover a vast spectrum of styles and mediums. His recent works are more of a pop stylized surrealism while maintaining his comic background. “My photo surrealistic paintings combine the influence of comics and accuracy of the sublime,” he explained.

The public is invited to an opening reception on Saturday March 9 from 2 to 4 p.m. to meet the exhibiting artists and view their work. 

Mills Pond Gallery is located at 660 Route 25A, Saint James. Hours of operation are Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from noon to 4 p.m. (closed March 31.) For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

By Tara Mae

Art traverses the boundaries that reality calls home. Silhouettes illuminated by soft sunlight; seascapes awash in mist; hints of humankind identified by what is left behind, Smithtown Township Arts Council’s latest exhibit at Mills Pond Gallery, Celebrating Nature and Light, explores environmental elements of everyday life. 

On view from Oct. 28 to Dec. 9, the gorgeous show features 66 works of art. All watercolor or gauche, the pieces were created by 49 artists from 28 Long Island communities, as well as the greater state of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio, and South Dakota. 

Although other exhibits at the Mills Pond Gallery have featured watercolors, Celebrating Nature and Light highlights the medium’s malleability in conveying the nuances of the natural world. 

“I believe that watercolor possesses a radiant quality that best conveys both light and mood. It imparts an airy and transparent quality to the skies while infusing the landscape with a vibrant array of colors,” said juror and watercolorist Joel Popadics, Vice President/Treasurer of the American Watercolor Society.

Shades and tones, whether muted or ebullient, entice the audience to immerse itself in the places portrayed in the paintings. Watercolor blends edges of reality with intrinsic openness of imagination. Realistic scenes are imbued with an ethereal essence that feels both intimate and expansive. 

Such qualities inspired Popadics in choosing the exhibit’s underlying motifs of nature and light. “I’ve always been drawn to watercolor and I have worked with it my entire career. The unpredictable quality of watercolor makes this medium special,” he said. “As a landscape painter, this theme is particularly close to my heart.” 

It is an appreciation shared by Mills Pond Gallery’s Executive Director Allison Cruz. She organizes a few landscape shows a year, but had never before organized a juried watercolor exhibit at the gallery. 

“Landscape is of course a popular subject, especially here on Long Island. Watercolor paints are transparent and fluid, making them a perfect medium for capturing light,” Cruz said. 

The accessibility of watercolor is not limited to locations familiar to locals, but encompasses those vistas that may only be known to the artists themselves. Natural light enhances evocative views that are demurely dappled or boldly bright, accentuating humanity either in the signs of its presence or the abundance of its absence. 

“Art is subjective so it’s important to respect the diversity of artistic expression…I also think it’s fascinating to see the unique personal interpretations that each artist brings to the theme,” Popadics said, a sentiment also shared by Cruz.

“I look at every new exhibit as an opportunity to create new art lovers…to get more people to enjoy art and to help artists get their creations to new audiences,” said Cruz. 

Exhibiting artists include Alexander Kaluzhny, Alisa Shea, Angela Mirro, Ann Shoshkes, Antonio Masi, Brenda L Bechtel, Carol Koch, Catherine Rezin, Christine Verga Maday, Christopher Buckley, Daniel Walworth, Denis Ponsot, Diana Aliberti, Ellen Ferrigno, Felecia Montfort, Gentry L. Croshaw, Gisela Skoglund, Jan Guarino, Jeffrey Van Esselstine , Joan Vera Martorana, Joanne Teets, Joyce Bressler, Karen Bennett, Karen B Davis, Karin Weibert, Kathleen McArdle, Khrystyne Robillard-Smith, Kirsten DiGiovanni, Lisa Claisse, Liz Jorg Masi, Lori Scarlatos, Lynn Staiano, Lynn Liebert, Marsha Abrams, Mary Kiernan, Mary Waka, Myungja Anna Koh, Patricia Morrison, Patty Yantz, Robert Tuska, Roberta Rogers, Robin Foreman, Sally Anne Keller, Susan Toplitz, Susan Herbst, Teresa Cromwell, Tianzhou Zhao, Tracy Tekverk, and Victoria A. Beckert.

The Mills Pond Gallery, 660 Route 25A, St. James is open Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. (Closed Thanksgiving weekend). The public is invited to an opening reception for ‘Celebrating Nature and Light’ on Oct. 28 from 1 to 4 p.m. to meet the artists and view their work. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org. 

'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.