Creative Women Summer 2009
Nature's Canvas logo

Nature’s Canvas: Celebrating
the Environment & the Arts

by Olivia H. Miller

Nature’s Canvas is the name of a unique collaboration between Barnstable Land Trust and the Cotuit Center for the Arts. This exhibit will feature seventy Cape Cod-based artists who will depict some of BLT’s most pristine land holdings.

Nature’s Canvas was an idea BLT Executive Director Jaci Barton had for some time. “We recently marked our 25th anniversary,” she explained, “and I thought it would be a great way to celebrate the land we have preserved. It made sense to collaborate with the Cotuit Center for the Arts since they have a relationship with so many artists.”

Jamie Wolf, Cotuit Center Founder and Director, agreed. “It seems like a natural relationship. It was amazing how many artists got back to us so quickly and said, ‘Count me in!’ They really wanted to be part of it and were pretty excited. They were like kids getting ready to go on a treasure hunt when they got their packets [of the land they would portray].”

“I enjoy painting outside and being close to nature,” artist Marian Nicastro said. The land she is painting, Cordwood, happens to be in the village of Cotuit, where she lives. “I was pleased to do Cordwood. I usually paint seascapes and historic architecture. I hadn’t gone into the woodlands in a while.”

Cordwood - Winter Walk,by Marian Waldron Nicastro
Cordwood - Winter Walk, by Marian Waldron Nicastro

On a sun drenched winter day, Marian and her daughter Lyn had set out to explore the land. “As Lyn walked ahead on the pathway, her figure became perfectly framed against the silver oaks and cobalt sky. Inspired by this moment, I began to paint my experience with nature.”

For more information about Nature’s Canvas visit:

The Barnstable Land Trust or Cotuit Center for the Arts

Barnstable Land Trust logo Cotuit Center for the Arts logo

Winter Light, by Karol Wyckoff
Winter Light, by Karol Wyckoff

Karol Wyckoff, an artist from Bass River, had a logistical problem. The land she would paint is on Craigville Beach Road, in Centerville. Karol and her husband winter in Florida, however, and weren’t returning to the Cape until late May.

“I had a real problem because I would be getting back so late,” she said. Luckily, Karol has two good friends who live on the Cape, and walk along Craigville Beach every Sunday. They offered to take photos of the land for her. “They sent me piles of pictures,” she recalled. “I couldn’t have done it without their help.”

With a background in illustration and draftsmanship, Karol decided to paint the charming old building overlooking the Centerville River. “I chose to make it a winter scene because the season conveys warmth, peace and serenity.”

“Nature is a wonderful thing to paint,” she added, “something that is absolutely lovely.”

Windswept, by Susan O'Brien McLean

All artwork at the Nature’s Canvas exhibit will be for sale; the artists will receive 50% of the sale and the two organizations will share the remaining 50%.

Olivia H. Miller is a freelance writer who lives in Marstons Mills. She is the editor of the Barnstable Land Trust’s quarterly newsletter Resources.


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Nature’s Canvas, Cotuit Center for the Arts

July 5-August 1, 2009
Exhibit Opens on Sunday, July 5 from noon-4 pm
Opening Reception – Wednesday, July 8 6-8 pm
Gallery Hours: M-F 10 am-4 pm;
Saturday 10 am-2 pm Sunday noon-4 pm
Exhibit Closes on Saturday, August 1 at 2 pm
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