Discover Portsmouth Exhibits, Programs & Events

Illuminating Tarbell Lecture Series, April 28

Ingbretson painting

Warm and Cool, Paul Ingbretson

Paul Ingbretson and Jean Lightman
Thursday April 28, 2016, 5:30pm

Doors open at 5pm; galleries open through the evening
Discover Portsmouth 10 Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH
$10 member/student; $20 non-member. Co-hosted with The Guild of Boston Artists

Member Tickets   Non-Member Tickets

Celebration, Jean Lightman

Celebration, Jean Lightman

Get a firsthand look inside the painter’s head. Artists Paul Ingbretson and Jean Lightman, two of six artists featured in the companion exhibition, Illuminating Tarbell: Legacy in Action, give a brief power point presentation showing the individuals and ideas that make up the Boston School thinking that Tarbell so ably taught. They will include among others the works of Da Vinci, Velasquez, Vermeer and Monet. Then they will take you on a walk through the exhibition pointing out how the artists on the walls put these concepts into practice.

For reservations for the lecture, please call Discover Portsmouth at 603-436-8433.

Purchase the Tarbell Exhibit Catalog

Illuminating Tarbell Lecture Series, May 7

Illuminating Tarbell, Minifie

Erin, Mary Minifie

The Education of the Artist,
Saturday May 7, 2016, 1 pm.

Panel discussion with featured artists:
Mary Minifie, Paul Ingbretson and Alastair Dacey

Galleries open for artist sketching after the lecture.

Discover Portsmouth 10 Middle St., Portsmouth NH
$10 member/student; $20 non-member

Three of the Illuminating Tarbell: Legacy in Action exhibit’s featured artists have been recipients of Tarbell’s Boston School training legacy. They are also teachers. At this event, they will discuss the unique ideas and skills they pass on to their students enabling them to master the truth and beauty of the visual impression. The training begins with the classical skills acquired through cast drawing and modeling, then in still life and figure painting, always aiming towards achieving the vibrant beauty of color in natural light. Let them show you how that training plays out in their work and why it is a vial and dynamic form in today’s world.

For reservations for the lecture, please call Discover Portsmouth at 603-436-8433.

Purchase the Tarbell Exhibit Catalog

New Book Explores the Life, Art and Process of Edmund C. Tarbell

Illuminating Tarbell is a unique two-part book devoted to the life and legacy of Edmund C. Tarbell, one of the major American Impressionist painters and the leader of the Boston School. Although often most closely associated with Boston, Tarbell maintained a home and studio in New Castle, New Hampshire, for more than thirty years and had an especially close relationship with this beautiful area.

This book, published to accompany an exhibition at the Portsmouth Historical Society, illustrates and discusses many of his principal works, some never published before and several recently conserved. Based on new research into the holdings of the Tarbell Charitable Trust and other sources, Jeremy G. Fogg and Christopher Volpe examine Tarbell’s career, emphasizing the importance of family and place to his artistic vision. Read more…

Purchase Now

Wendy Turner ~ Island Light Exhibit


Friday June 17 – Friday September 30, 2016.

Portsmouth Historical Society presents the Wendy Turner Retrospective Reflects “Island Light” Exhibit.

“Wendy Turner’s work establishes her as one of New England’s finest interpreters of the coast”
– Carl Little, former associate editor, Art in America

Catch the Wave!

Opening Reception – Thursday, June 16 5:30-8:30pm

A lifetime of noted painter Wendy Turner’s artistic work — 35 years of captured waves, light upon rocks, and reflections of the surrounding coastline — comes together at Discover Portsmouth this summer as Portsmouth Historical Society continues its 2016 season with Wendy Turner ~ Island Light, an unforgettable retrospective of one woman’s work, opening Friday June 17 and flowing through Friday September 30, 2016.
Wendy Turner’s lifetime love of the sea began as a child, growing up on the rocky coast in Kittery Point, Maine.  The exhibition traces Turner’s work from watercolor images of glistening tide pools, through studied beach and garden scenes, to large paintings in oil of our treasured Seacoast from the Isles of Shoals, off the coast of New Hampshire to Downeast Maine. Following the success of the recent Edmund C. Tarbell exhibition, both floors of the Academy Gallery at Discover Portsmouth will feature a special presentation of Turner’s works from both private and public collections.

According to Carl Little, former associate editor, Art in America, “Wendy Turner’s work establishes her as one of New England’s finest interpreters of the coast.” Curator Lainey McCartney echoed that sentiment, “We are thrilled to be showcasing Wendy Turner’s exhibition – 35 years of remarkable work highlighting the Maine coast and beyond!”

Light, color and clarity are the focus of Turner’s hyperrealist watercolors. Applying layer after layer of delicate color washes, she builds images that are simultaneously subtle and dramatic. Turner takes on both the chaos and beauty of the coastal landscape. The impact of this unique exhibition magnifies the healing beauty of the seacoast, while at the same time, Turner reminds us that our beloved environment is fragile and at risk.

In the last decade Turner has turned primarily to painting in oil. The result has been a more expressive, direct style. While still focused on the edge of the ocean, these newer works balance Turner’s familiar realism with a love of abstract shapes and energetic brushstrokes.  Her “Rock Meditation” series offers viewers a reflective look at the coastline. Another series explores “macro” images of colorful lobster traps. Turner’s attention to texture and detail turn these familiar objects into fascinatingly abstract and engaging images.

Wendy Turner’s work guides us beyond our chaotic modern world, overloaded with images, to a calm and quiet place. “Island Light” offers us a rare opportunity to pause, to reflect, and to breathe deeply before moving on. It is a serene and color filled space visitors will want to explore again and again.

About Wendy Turner

Born in Boston in 1954, Turner grew up on Cutts Island in Kittery Point, Maine. She received her BFA and MFA from San Francisco Art Institute. After living in Sedona, Arizona, the San Francisco Bay area and Key West, she returned to Maine in 1981 where she lives at Sea Hill Farm, raising alpacas with her wife, Paula Ickeringill. Turner paints in a studio on their farm in Kittery Point.
Turner’s work is in many private and corporate collections including Fidelity Investments, Arthur Anderson, Jefferson Pilot, General Electric and Burger King. The national exhibition “Watercolor, USA” selected her paintings in both 2002 and 2004. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Ogunquit Museum of American Art. Down East, Maine Boats and Harbors, and American Artist Magazines have published feature articles on Turner’s art. Her watercolor, “Rocks, Appledore”, was included in the book, Splash 7, a celebration of light – the best in watercolor. Her paintings may be seen locally at the Kennedy Gallery in Portsmouth, NH and elsewhere at the Francesca Anderson Fine Art, Lexington, MA., the Courthouse Gallery, Ellsworth, ME, and the George Marshall Store Gallery, York, ME.

Lecture Series

A series of presentations from throughout the Summer and Fall expands upon the exhibition’s focus on the life and works of Wendy Turner and the local character of her work.

Catch the Wave Opening Reception Thursday June 16 5:30-8:30pm
Suggested donation: $50 for members; $75 for public (includes a complimentary copy of the book, Wendy Turner Island Light.

2016 Season Sponsors: Brown & Company Design; Devine Marketing Group
brownco158x175   Devine Millimet

Exhibition Sponsors
All of our exhibitions and publications are made possible through the support of our membership and trustees. Many generous sponsors also helped underwrite this effort. We are most grateful to:
Kennedy Gallery Sea Hill Farm Alpacas

Beth Segers ; The Delano Family; Kennedy Studios; Sea Hill Farm Alpacas; Catherine Armsden; Donahue, Tucker, and Ciandella, PLLC; Hoefle, Phoenix, Gormley & Roberts, P.A.; Anne S. Howells Charitable Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation; Tom McCarron; Piscataqua Savings Bank; SpeedPro Imaging; David Stensland and Dr. Mel Vassey; R.J. Allister, M.D.; Francois Bardonnet and Steven St. Peter; David Brady; Kate Crichton Photography; Barbara Houston; Douglas Nelson and Karin Cullity Nelson; Grace Peirce; Charlotte Raymond Photography; Shoals Marine Laboratory; Star Island Corporation; and Peter Turner Furnituremaker

About the book, Wendy Turner – Island Light

Carl Little, with contributions by Catherine Armsden and Mekeel McBride
Portsmouth Marine Society Publication 36
Hardcover with jacket, 112 pages, 10 x 12 portrait, full color throughout
$40.00 ISBN: 978-0-915819-44-7

Wendy Turner’s paintings of the Maine and New Hampshire coast, from the Schoodic Point to the Isles of Shoals, done over a period of thirty-five years, demonstrate the range and talent of this artist who lives and works in Kittery Point, Maine. While often based on the plants, water, rocks, sky, and sea life of the Seacoast in terms of their subject matter, her watercolor and oil paintings have an ineffable quality that elevates them from depictions of nature to transcendent and sublime works of art. This book follows her work through various transitions in her career, starting with her delicate watercolor images of tide pools. Over time, her focus moved from images taken along the beach, to beautiful garden studies, and then moving on to her large tour-de-force rock and wave paintings.

For the last ten years, oils have been Turner’s primary medium, and her technique has taken on a looser, more direct style. While still focusing on her first love, the edge of the ocean, her newer work balances realism with a love for abstract shapes and energetic brushstrokes. Turner’s close-up studies of rocks and reflections show the quiet, more reflective side of the coast in contrast to her larger, dynamic rock and water images. Other works include macro views of colorful lobster pots. The focus on texture and detail turns a common object into an interestingly abstract and fascinating image. A goal Turner has for her paintings in this image-overloaded world is to transport the viewers, to hold their minds and attention for a moment of calm, before moving on.

Turner’s career is explored here in an essay by the noted art historian Carl Little and in more personal reflections by Catherine Armsden and Mekeel McBride. Illustrated with more than one hundred color plates, Wendy Turner ~ Island Light, published to accompany a major exhibition held at the Discover Portsmouth Center in the summer of 2016, is the first monograph on this important American artist’s career.

Praise for Wendy Turner

“We will always share a muse: this coastline…You sit with her when you choose, feel her salty breath on your cheek, drift into her light and dark, delighting in her profound mystery… you bring her to me, to all of us—brilliantly—with your eye, your hand, your heart.” – Catherine Armsden

“Wendy Turner’s work establishes her as one of New England’s finest interpreters of the coast.” – Carl Little

“Wendy’s paintings are genuine in every sense of the word—love-filled invitations to travel with her into landscapes both visual and emotional that we would never be able to reach in any other way.” – Mekeel McBride

About Portsmouth Historical Society

Founded in 1920, is a tax-exempt 501©3 nonprofit devoted to introducing, interpreting and stimulating the study of Portsmouth history and to maintaining collections of historical artifacts and documents. It operates two facilities – Discover Portsmouth and the John Paul Jones House.

Discover Portsmouth is a cultural gateway that houses a welcome center/clearinghouse for residents and visitors interested in the city’s history, arts and culture; a museum of exhibitions and programs (on site and in elementary schools) devoted to Portsmouth history; a museum shop of unique Portsmouth gifts and books, including those offered by its in-house publishing division, and Historic Tours, including of the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail. A gathering place for Portsmouth nonprofits, it is a popular location for event rentals. Discover Portsmouth, located at 10 Middle Street, Portsmouth, NH. Open daily from 9:30-5pm, Discover Portsmouth remains open until 8pm each Friday. For further information on exhibitions, publications, gift shop, lectures, rentals, and tours, please call 603-436-8433.

Tea Talk: Writing Black & White: The Perils & Pleasures of Writing Multi-cultural Historical Fiction

Sunday, March 6, 2016, 2 to 4 pm, at Portsmouth Public Library.

Writing Black and White: The Perils and Pleasures of Writing Multi-cultural Historical Fiction
Presenter: Jodi Daynard

Our Own CountryIf you could time-travel to Portsmouth during the Revolutionary War, what would it look like? How did blacks and whites relate to one another in their daily lives? Come hear about OUR OWN COUNTY, the story of one young woman who dared to cross the racial divide. Hear too, about the challenges author Jodi Daynard faced while endeavoring to create authentic portraits of both slavery and of interracial love. [Read more…]

Dynamic Tarbell Art Exhibition at Discover Portsmouth.

Open daily through June 3, 2016, 9:30am to 5pm

Illuminating Tarbell, Discover Portsmouth, NHRenowned American Impressionist painter Edmund C. Tarbell is back. The most ambitious exhibit of Tarbell’s vibrant work is open daily through June 3 at Discover Portsmouth.

Illuminating Tarbell is a unique two-part show, with the largest local gathering of Tarbell’s original work, plus a companion gallery featuring six contemporary painters working in the Tarbell style. Running through Friday June 3, the dual exhibit also includes a lecture series, a 72-page color catalogue, and a re-creation of Tarbell’s seaside New Castle, NH studio.

“This is a must-see show,” says DPC Executive Director, Kathleen Soldati. “While many know Tarbell as a Boston artist, he had close ties to the Portsmouth region. We’re bringing in works from collections all across the country, and many have never been exhibited to the public before.” [Read more…]

A Visitor Center. A Community Center. A Nonprofit Hub.

Discover Portsmouth Center

We are dedicated to increasing public understanding and enthusiasm for local history. Our trustees, staff, sponsors, and members believe strongly that the uniqueness of Portsmouth is defined by the city’s past. Our mission is to provide a central location where, in cooperation with other groups, we can introduce, interpret, and stimulate the study of Portsmouth history.