Winter Exhibit at Ocean House


Works by five Jessie Edwards Gallery artists will be on exhibit at the Ocean House, 1 Bluff Avenue in Watch Hill, R.I. from February 18 through April. Marilyn Bogdanffy, Peter Gish, Tom Martinelli, Heidi Palmer, and Elizabeth Pannell feature the many aspects of the Block Island shoreline, the sea, and the sky.

In Marilyn Bogdanffy’s watercolor “Blue Lobster,” the lobster looks directly at us with claws open, ready for a pinch. Dashes of red and black highlight details of the lobster’s carapace. “Oars” is a large oil that lifts our eyes to the many oars hanging from the ceiling at the Oar Restaurant at the Boat Basin. The oil-on-canvas “Yellow Roses” is the one still-life in this exhibit, with its yellow roses in full bloom, showing shades of peach within the open yellow petals. Bogdanffy’s oil-on-canvas “Tidal Pool Near Scotch Beach” is her one exterior work. The ocean water in the background flows into the calm blue waters of the tidal pool forming along the rocky shoreline.

In contrast, Peter Gish’s oils-on-canvas show us a more powerful ocean. “Southeast Rocks and Surf” depicts the waves and foaming surf swirling over the rocky coast. In “Breaking Waves” the undulating waves crash in spumes of surf over the craggy boulders. “Atlantic Rollers” conveys the force of the green waves rolling one after the other, the surf foaming against the jagged rocks.  

Tom Martinelli’s “Calm Seas,” a large oil-and-cold wax work, is a study of a calm sea in blues and greys under an expanse of blue sky lightly veiled with wisps of clouds.

Heidi Palmer’s oils-on-canvas are serene scenes of interior/exterior views. “Visit” is an inviting sunlit interior scene of couch, armchair, table with books and lamp. Through three large windows, we see the light blue sea and white sky. “Lunch Break” takes us through an open door directly onto a beach path leading to the water. In the left foreground, director chairs in blue canvas sit at a table and suggest that someone has arisen and gone to the beach. “Sunday Morning III,” is a view of a room with a simple table and a painting of a three-masted schooner. The room is in shadow but open onto a bright sunlit porch with windows looking out to the sea. Serendipitously, this work was inspired by a distant memory Palmer has of staying at the Ocean House as child.

Elizabeth Pannell’s gouaches are quiet calm scenes of several Block Island places. In “Andy’s Way,” light falls on the tan sands and pale greens of sea grass, the dark greens and blacks of the brush, and the various blues of the Salt Pond. In “East,” we look over mounds of green brush in the foreground and a small pond in the center to a brand blue-grey band of water and sky. In “Mansion Beach,” rocks and boulders stud the sand and shoreline with the water lapping over them. “Mohegan Bluffs” is a more expansive view of the rocky coast, calm sea, and sky. The steep bluffs have smooth contours and colors, and the colors of the sand, stone, and brush merge.

The works will be on display through April at Ocean House, 1 Bluff Avenue, Watch Hill, RI 02891.  For more information about Ocean House, visit, or call (855) 678-0364.