Summer Fun- National Council on the Arts Edition

Official Blog of the National Endowment for the Arts


painting of waterlilies by Barbara Ernst Prey
Waterlilies by Barbara Ernst Prey. Watercolor,  28″ x 40″. Getty Museum. Photo courtesy of the artist.

It’s summertime, which means more sunshine, more beach time, and more time to enjoy the arts. In anticipation of today’s convening of the National Council on the Arts (which we hope you’ll join us for via webcast), we asked our Council members about their “artful” summer plans. Whether experiencing music and theater in France, or preparing for exhibitions of their own work, our Council members have quite a summer ahead!

Barbara Ernst Prey, Visual Artist

For the past 30 years I have had an annual exhibition in Maine. I am currently preparing for this year’s exhibit Barbara Ernst Prey: Forty Years of Painting at Blue Water Fine Arts Gallery in Port Clyde, Maine. There will be 40 paintings—very large watercolors as I like to stretch both the size and the medium. My invitation image is a painting inspired by the Getty Museum waterlilies, a nice juxtaposition of museum and art. I have an annual exhibit of limited edition prints at Blue Water Fine Arts, this year opening July 3-15. I’m showing a series of 20 large-scale prints of my paintings and NASA commissions. Every July before the summer exhibits I host an Open Studio in New York to share with collectors and followers my new work before they go to the Maine exhibit. Although the preparation takes so much work it is always exciting to see the exhibit hung.

Over the years I have supported many organizations through my artwork and this year’s Open Studio will partner with a local conservation group as a benefit to help raise funds for the organization. As a landscape painter the environment plays an important role in my artwork.

Last summer I was part of the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum. CBS Evening News came to my studio to film a segment about this time last year. I have learned to be flexible with exhibit timelines as one never knows what happens in-between.

I am often invited to lecture and will give a talk in August on 40 years of  painting.

While in Maine, after the show is hung, I grab my paints and head out to paint. I’ll fly by mail plane, use my kayak, or hitch a ride with a lobsterman to an outlying island. I like to get as close to the authentic nature of the area as possible. To be honest, I sometimes forget to eat because I am so engrossed in my work.

I paint out east on Long Island as well as in the Berkshires. Both places also provide summer inspiration and wonderful culture. As I live in New York, I am fortunate to have so many choices of cultural offerings. As an art blogger for the Huffington Post I try and keep tabs on exhibits and always stop by if I am in the area. I am looking forward to revisiting Durer and Beyond at the Metropolitan Museum, seeing the summer museum exhibits on my way from New York to Maine, and returning to Tanglewood.