Art lovers flock to the South Coast for an open studio visit

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Art lovers from across the state traveled to Dartmouth Saturday and Sunday to visit local artists who opened their studios to the public as part of the South Coast Artists Open Studio Tours.

The tour, which returns next month on August 20 and 21, featured around 60 artists located between Little Compton, RI and Dartmouth. 15 of the artists were located in Dartmouth.

One of the Dartmouth artists was Jane Bregoli, whose works ranged from oil painting to ceramics and etching.

“I have ADHD, that’s why I do everything,” she said with a chuckle. “I like to do different things. It makes life interesting.

Much of Bregoli’s work was inspired by the world around him, such as leaf-printed bowls and paintings of livestock like pigs and chickens.

One of her favorite subjects was “The Goat Lady”, a friend of Bregoli’s who raised goats because she found drinking their milk helped relieve her arthritis.

Bregoli said she met the goat while working towards her master’s degree in art at UMass Dartmouth, when she often made paintings of the woman and her goats.

After graduating, Bregoli even wrote a book about the wife and their time together.

At another stop on the tour, two artists, Kim Barry from Mattapoisett and Genevieve Hunt from Dartmouth, settled into the same location.

Barry’s work includes colorful and impressionistic oil paintings of local landscapes as well as clay tiles depicting flora and fauna.

“I like to paint on the spot,” she says. “I love this energy of the day and trying to incorporate it into the paintings.”

Barry added that the signature style of her paintings is something she developed with intention.

“I like to use bigger brushes,” she said, adding, “I’m not afraid of color.”

Hunt, on the other hand, works primarily with watercolors, using them to create vibrant seascapes that she also paints on location.

“There are so many wonderful places to paint in Westport and Dartmouth,” she said. “I don’t like using photographs, they just look really flat.”

Like Barry, Hunt’s paintings are full of vivid color, though they don’t lean as much towards Impressionism.

“The color is my favorite part,” Hunt said. “There are watercolor artists who aren’t afraid of pigment, and I try to be like that.”

Although Hunt’s works show the precision of a practiced hand, she said she only learned the medium three years ago.

“I don’t have a background in painting,” she said, explaining that she went to architecture school and then worked as a blacksmith. “I am a maker person and I like to do everything.”

Another featured artist was Susan Cabral, a painter who opened the doors to her home studio where she also teaches classes, but not as often as before Covid.

Cabral said that since the start of the pandemic, she has slowed down her teaching and can no longer teach children.

“I miss kids and I miss hugs, but adults are wonderful,” she said.

Cabral said the reduction in classes has given him more time to devote to his own works, many of which feature seascapes on large canvases.

She said one of her signatures was meticulously layering and smoothing her paintings until the brushstrokes were almost entirely invisible.

“When I have a print made, you can never tell the difference,” she said, explaining that she had to mark her originals so they wouldn’t accidentally sell them as reproductions.

Cabral said the first weekend of tours was very successful, drawing visitors not just from across the state, but from around the world.

“I had people from all over,” she says. “I even got one from England.”

The South Coast Artists Open Studio Tours will be back on August 20 and 21 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For a full list of participating artists and a map of their locations, visit southcoastartists.org/open-studio-tours.

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