Local gallery features Bishopville artist

Constance “Tinsel” Hughes will hold a one-woman exhibit this weekend at the Beach Cottage, Route 26 in Ocean View (83 Atlantic Ave). She specializes in local landscapes and seascapes in a traditional, realist style.
Coastal Point • SAM HARVEY: Tinsel Hughes with one of her paintings at Beach Cottage in Ocean View.Coastal Point • SAM HARVEY:
Tinsel Hughes with one of her paintings at Beach Cottage in Ocean View.

The Beach Cottage will host an artist’s reception on Saturday (Sept. 3), from noon to 4 p.m., and Hughes will have watercolors predominantly, but oils as well, on display Saturday through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 5.

Hughes was a dentist in her former life, but in retirement has returned to creative expression, and said she now had a painting or two in virtually every room of her Bishopville home. What started as an engaging diversion has become a passionate pursuit — she admitted her husband, Jack, was getting a little overwhelmed.

“They’re everywhere,” she laughed. “He hasn’t said anything, but I think he’d like to see some of them gone — I’m getting a little prolific, I guess. But I love painting.”

Beach Cottage’s Karen Pomije noted Barbara Deitrick as a local favorite (she’ll keep several of Deitrick’s pieces hanging this weekend) but in the main, the walls will be cleared for Hughes’ exhibition — and she expected Hughes would do quite well herself.

“She always says, ‘Oh, I’m just a novice,’ but she always sells,” Pomije pointed out. “She still doesn’t know she’s very good — she has talent, and a subject matter that’s appealing for the area.”

Hughes often depicts local architecture in her paintings. Pomije has been collecting raffle entries for a painting of the Beach Cottage itself all summer (and has quite a basketful) — she planned to draw for the winner sometime this weekend, while Hughes is around.

And, she noted, Hughes would accept contracts for depictions of homes. Once already, a bit of a family feud had erupted over one such work, Pomije recalled — whether Hughes’ painting should hang in the house itself, or be presented to the daughter, who happened to be the architect. Simple enough solution — she agreed to change angles and paint another.

Pomije said she’d seen a good interest level in all of the Bethany Beach Watercolor Society’s artists — four of the group’s artists each month showcase paintings on the second floor.

Hughes, who’s currently serving a term as president of the Bethany Beach Watercolor Society, has immersed herself in both training and practice since moving to the area in the early 2000s. Before that, she’d attended watercolor classes at with the Alexandria Torpedo Factory Art League (Va.) and a pair of week-long workshops in Oxford, Md., but has ramped up sharply since then.

And in addition to the Bethany Beach Watercolor Society, she’s involved with the newly formed Delaware Watercolor Society, the Rehoboth Art League, and others. She started exhibiting at Aerie Art Gallery (Rehoboth Beach) in 2003.

In 2004 alone, she participated in four local watercolor workshops –with Henry Meier, Sihn Ja An and Anne Klinefelter in Bethany, and with Roger Dellar, in Lewes. (She also stepped out for a week-long sculpture workshop in Alexandria, and a one-month oil painting workshop in New Hampshire.)

Hughes enjoyed several notable successes last year, as well. She picked up a Thomas McFarland Skelly Award at the Rehoboth Art League’s 66th Annual Members’ Fine Art Exhibition (2004), and her “Where the Girls Are” watercolor was used to promote last year’s Bethany Beach Watercolor Society’s Annual Summer Art Exhibit.

For more information about this weekend’s exhibition, contact the Beach Cottage at 537-4777.