Posts Tagged ‘Art Galleries on the Farmcoast’

Kelly Milukas Color Craving

Those who are drawn to artist Kelly Milukas’ paintings might describe their attraction more like a craving. A craving for color…for velocity, vibrancy, and voluptuousness. Her pastel-layered watercolor paintings offer just this, a very tempting and vivid description of country life most can only find in their dreams– or on a Kelly Milukas canvas if they happen to stop by her Tiverton, Rhode Island studio.

Inspired by  the multi-dimentionality of life, she describes the work of being an artist as “soul-touching…it’s hard to get away from the vibrancy.” Her popular paintings are composed of under-layers of watercolor blanketed by rich pastels creating candy coated, highly coveted masterpieces.

After studying sculpture in Portland, Maine, Kelly met her now husband and settled into their Tiverton home. It wasn’t long before the old shed was converted into a contemporary art studio and sanctuary for her growing passion for painting. Now Kelly is a celebrity around town, best known for her charismatic cow paintings and kaleidoscopic collection of scenery from her various travels. “My imagery is a visually charged interpretation of the experience,” says Kelly. And their presence is electric.

While making art started has always been a passion, it recently unfolded into an unexpected adventure for Kelly. When a friend confronted her with the challenge of capturing regenerative medicine through photographs, Kelly’s natural curiosity was hooked. She took a break from painting to explore this uncharted artistic territory and –as it turns out– the highly symbolic world of stem cells. “Her works incorporate the broad symbolism and subject of key, locks, and mysteries to visually communicate the body’s ability to heal itself,” according to a statement by the Regenerative Medicine Foundation. Moving from cows and brushes to keys and locks proved satisfying and invigorating for Kelly; the inspiring results of her photographic journey are on display at the Bow House Studio.

Along with this recent partnership, Kelly is also the proud president of the South Coast Artists, a cooperative non-profit organization comprised of roughly 100 members dedicated to celebrating the rich arts community of the south coast. For two weekends every summer, the members of the SCA open their doors to visitors from all over New England as part of the South Coast Artist Tour, showcasing a rich display of talented work. This year the tour will take place July 21st and 22nd as well as August 18th and 19th. Each year the organization expands to include more artists and visitors from the area; according to Kelly, part of the SCA’s vision is bringing the arts to children of all ages, for free, with hands on demonstrations and interactive family tours. Kelly herself welcomes a whopping 400+ visitors to the Bow House Studio each weekend, a testament to her fascinating and energetic accomplishments and enthusiastic following.

As the 2012 South Coast Artists Tour approaches, Kelly is now busy preparing for the rush, shifting mediums once again. “Getting back to painting has changed my vision,” says Kelly. “Dealing with layers and textures and pushing contrast…” These elements of photography, she says, have transformed her paintings and understanding of the artistic process.

The beautiful Tiverton studio is a must-stop if you plan to do the SCA Tour this year; you can expect custom framing by Kelly at the studio, and a healthy glimpse of the life of a very multi-dimensional artist. Despite the hustle and bustle of meetings and gallery events Kelly always has time to paint; perhaps it’s her energetic personality, or love for colors, or maybe a craving she just can’t ignore. Either way her work is in a fantastical world all its own.

For more information on the work of Kelly Milukas visit www.kellymilukas.com 

The Best Rhode Island Potter…

Charlie Barmonde was recently named the best potter in Rhode Island by RI Monthly, an unexpected but welcomed honor to the young artist and Little Compton resident, who has greeted his artistic life with humble ambition. 35-year-old Barmonde describes his work as a “gratifying, intellectual as well as physical exercise,” but more than that, ceramics for Charlie is a full-time job. He works in his own studio in Little Compton drawing on his passion and knowledge of a life by the sea. “I spent my life sailing…I have a strong connection to the ocean,” he says. His pieces range from functional dining-ware to sculptural works of marine-inspired art.

Charlie moved from Long Island at the age of 16 and followed a meandering academic path involving a mix of ceramics and art history. He traveled the country honing his skills, and serving other respected potters through various jobs and apprenticeships. Charlie also spent time as a gallery owner for an arts collaborative in New Bedford along with other local artists. Now, with his roots well planted in RI, Charlie’s recent years have been spent prioritizing his family life and evolving ceramic work in his private studio.

Of all artistic works, Charlie says, ceramics provide the most direct connection between the artist and consumer. Only ceramics allow you to see, and actually feel the hands of the maker, transforming buying a mug or bowl into a truly intimate experience. This sensuous and tactile nature of the craft is what drew Charlie in from the beginning, guiding his functional and gorgeous line of pottery. His work has grown to include conceptual sculptural pieces that provide a vessel for expressing his love of the nautical world. Charlie aims to provide affordable handmade art, and hopes to extend his line to be even more accessible in the future, so that everyone can appreciate art easily, and often.


Photo Credit: ApartmentTherapy.com


Photo Credit: ApartmentTherapy.com

Charlie is a proud member of the region, bursting with varied seasoned artists who’ve all discovered a similar affinity for the southcoast. Unlike other larger art districts, the backroads of the southcoast seem to inspire an older, more assured talent. The SCA, or SouthCoast Artists is a non-profit organization that has recognized the value of this area’s multitude of artists, and has gone through lengths to connect them together as part of a larger group, providing the public with ample opportunities for art-appreciation. This weekend is the second round of SCA “Studio Tours” this summer where Charlie, along with many other artists, will be open and throwing pottery, and hopefully selling a few pieces. You can visit him this weekend or anytime by appointment. And then you can congratulate this inspiring artist and well-deserved recipient of the title, best.

Wanderer Made a Home

Wander Imports had a serendipedous beginning. While buying a pair of Turkish slippers for a friend, Dartmouth native Bob Smith happened upon Elaine Hill…who happened to be looking for a partnering gallery owner for a new adventure of her own. “Here we are 8 years later,” says Bob, who is now apart of the 4-person owned and operated “Gallery 4” in Tiverton Four Corners. The gallery has become a merging of worldly art, including Turkish textiles imported by Elaine Hill and Alix Cambell, wire-designed jewelry by Sue Freda, and Bob’s beautifully indigenous collection aptly named, Wanderer Imports.

Weaving through the three room portion of Gallery4 that makes up Wanderer Imports you’ll find decorative arts and furniture from parts of China to Southeast Asia, an accumulation of Bob’s travels to the region. After working in the New York filming industry for years, Bob developed a sharp eye for creative and quality craftsmanship, so when it was time to leave the business, he was prepared. Part of his job as a fim-maker involved traveling to East Asia, and there he became familiar with Shanghai and Beijing craftsmen. Post-film-career traveling brought him right back to the same dealers, as a longterm buyer. Bob says people recognize his taste and seek his out his imports. Customers travel from Philidelphia, Boston, and New York just to browse the ancient/modern selection because, like Bob, they know a good thing when they see it.


One of the most splendid things about Bob’s inventory is it’s decorative integrity. The pieces have years of history and weather worn into their skin, yet blend perfectly with contemporary furniture and decor. One piece seeps just the right amount of flavor, culture, and charm into a space.

Bob now travels once a year to China, but as a wanderer, he makes an effort to visit and uncover new territory with each trip. His travel roster has included Tibet, Burma, Vietnam, and Syria, and grows steadily as he continues to journey. Most recently, Bob’s been to Thailand collecting paintings for Wander Imports’ current exhibit. Paintings done by elephants will be on display through September 5th, and if you haven’t heard of this animal competency, you should stop by Wanderer Imports and see it for yourself. Thanks to Bob, extraordinary works from across the globe have a home in 4 Corners. Just the right place, and just the right time.