Pine Shores Art Association Takes Up Residence in Tuckerton Borough Hall

By Monique M. Demopoulos | Jul 24, 2019

Tuckerton, NJ — Tuckerton borough held a reception on July 10 to celebrate its very first gallery, showcasing 27 artists from the Pine Shores Art Association. Adorning the walls in the center hall, conference room and court room are 46 pieces of art of various media, including works in photography, watercolor, acrylic, oil, gouache and graphite. Every piece is available for purchase.

In attendance was Tuckerton Mayor Susan R. Marshall, who is pleased to promote local artists within the municipality. She shared that there were two councilmen in attendance as well. Marshall delights in the progress made with regard to emphasizing art in the community. “It really dresses the place up,” she said with a smile, “and it’s nice to give it a place to be shown.”

The mayor explained she was inspired by a visit to the PSAA gallery hanging in Beach Haven Borough Hall, after which she immediately inquired with her treasurer, MaryAnn Gabourdi, about hanging their very own show. Gabourdi is a PSAA volunteer, and her husband, Carlo, is an active artist at PSAA; his work is hanging in the show. According to Gabourdi, “she (Marshall) really wanted to do something here. We have total support from our mayor.” Gabourdi reached out to Suzy Hoffman, who organizes the Beach Haven gallery, with the hope of arranging a gallery in Tuckerton.

Hoffman contacted PSAA artist Nancy Sterr Lang, of Little Egg Harbor, who gladly took on the responsibility of organizing the Tuckerton gallery. Lang reached out to fellow PSAA artists about sharing their work, and hung the show with the help of PSAA hanging committee members Dee Turba, Sue Porter, Ed Rennar and Paul Hartelius.

Fittingly, on exhibit is Lang’s honorary painting, “Tuckerton Tower.” Every member of the hanging crew is also featured in the gallery, which will hang on display until September, when PSAA will rotate in an entirely new collection. Lang said there will be a reception to commemorate the hanging of each new show, about every three months.

Hanging in the courtroom are three watercolor pieces by revered local artist Tom Rutledge of Tuckerton, whose work is known to be large, intricate and masterful. As such, it is costly to own an original Rutledge work. He therefore made those three prints specifically for the purpose of gracing the Tuckerton courtroom with work that is affordable to the public.

Rutledge is an award-winning master instructor in watercolor, gouache, charcoal, pencil and pen-and-ink drawing. He is very involved with PSAA, and teaches numerous workshops throughout the year. This August, he said, he will instruct a class in gouache painting.

Rutledge offered some insight on his works hanging in the courtroom. The first piece is titled “Christkindl Market,” which he sketched from life during the holiday festivity at the Tuckerton Seaport. “This was a ride they had for the kids. They had a horse-drawn wagon, and you rode all around. I thought, what a nice subject matter.”

The second painting, “November Geraniums,” according to Rutledge is an illustration of the vibrant “autumn of life,” so to speak. “I found that minnow trap during a sketching trip on the bay, and I brought it home to put in my studio. My wife saw it and told me she’d like to put some plants in it. So she put it on the porch in the spring, and planted some geraniums in there. By the time November rolled around, it looked like that. There are two plants in there, and they range from the smallest little start of a bud all the way to a full-bloomed flower, like a fan. So I thought how unique, to see all the different levels of life on a plant that’s dying. It’s November, yet it’s still trying to make a chance for life again, in a full white bloom. I sat it on a roll-top desk and  painted it from life.”

Rutledge’s third piece, “Clam Bake,” is an illustration of a fond vacation memory. “We were on vacation in Maine. We were up on a knoll, looking out over the ocean. They had picnic tables all the way down to the point, called Sunset Point. Down in the sand they build a fire pit every morning, and in the evening they pull off all these lobsters, clams and corn, and then they take it all down again. It was great.”

This was another work that Rutledge sketched from life, and then finished later with the help of some reference photos taken by his wife. “I used the photos for reference on the arrangement of the clambake itself. But I’m always more interested in people, so I was sketching and sketching.”

Rutledge’s passion for the arts touches people everywhere he goes. Although he was on vacation, his work became a destination for the locals, which is most gratifying for Rutledge, who warmly affirmed, “When you’re an artist, interesting things happen!

“In fact, I sketched so much while we were on vacation that the owners of the resort would ask me to see my sketchbook every day when I came back. By the time we left, they asked to use one of my drawings of Sunset Point for their logo.”

Sue Porter of Ship Bottom discussed her piece in the show, “Visiting the Good Old Days.” “This is from Tom Rutledge’s class on shadows. He kept screaming, ‘Darker! Darker!’ I was so scared to go too dark, but it makes the painting.” After retiring from her lifelong career as a master jeweler, Porter said, she moved to the shore, and soon after began dabbling in the arts. She had only just begun painting in November 2017, but said it has been a total immersion. “Pat Morgan used to teach classes at the Surf City Library; she suggested I join Pine Shores Art Association and take some lessons. So I joined that next month, and I just started painting and hanging and taking classes.” Porter is now an incredibly dedicated painter and active member andvolunteer with PSAA. Her work can also be found at Beach Haven Borough Hall and the Stafford branch of the Ocean County Library.

Another gratified PSAA member in attendance was Donna Stickna of Little Egg Harbor, who also decided to dive into the arts about a year ago. “I was an art major in college; I have always loved art. The problem is I don’t like starving! So I became an educator.” Since retiring and basing herself on the Jersey Shore, she has dedicated her time to rediscovering her passions – painting, crocheting and yoga. She is the studio manager at Shanti Revolution Yoga, in Little Egg Harbor. Stickna’s work is also on exhibit in the Beach Haven gallery. Despite having been at it for only a year, she is proud to share that her work was chosen by Beach Haven borough to become the commemorative beach badge for 2020.

Pine Shores Art Association is a nonprofit organization founded in 1981. PSAA’s mission is to “foster art instruction, appreciation, and inspiration to its members and the public. It engages regionally and nationally recognized artists to conduct classes, workshops and demonstrations in watercolor, oil, pastel, and other media.” To learn more about PSAA, or to find a schedule of classes, gallery shows and other events, visit PSAA invites all to attend the next patron show on July 28 at the Stafford Firehouse, 133 Stafford Ave. in Manahawkin.

— Monique M. Demopoulos

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