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, 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.