Feb. 11, 2002 – February's the shortest month, but the Blue Turtle Gallery has two show openings scheduled — just a week apart.
On Thursday evening, a meet-the-artist reception will open an exhibition of wood-turning objects made by St. John artisan Avelino Samuel.
On Feb. 21, at another reception, gallery owner Lucinda Schutt will unveil her own first solo show in years, featuring her new series of watercolors and oils of Government Hill scenes along with limited-edition prints of several of the works.
The exhibition of Samuel's work, "Turning in Local Wood," will include vases, bowls and hollow vessels made of local woods including mahogany, lignum vitae, white prickle and genip. His work is a "blending of Caribbean decorative art with classical and modern turning styles," a release from the gallery states. The artist will be present to discuss his work at the reception from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. that will includes wine and light hors d'oeuvres.
A native of St. John's east end, Samuel developed his interest in woodworking at his father's side, helping to craft toys and games that they found pictured in books. The brother of St. John painter Karen Samuel, he first studied wood turning at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. After earning his bachelor's and master's degrees in industrial art, he returned to St. John and became an industrial arts teacher. He has been sharing his knowledge of woodcraft with students and adults for two decades.
Schutt's opening on Feb. 21 also will be a wine and finger food affair, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., with the artist/gallery owner as host.
A native of Florida, Schutt moved to the Virgin Islands in 1987, taking up residence in turn on St. Croix, St. John and St. Thomas. She made her mark as a landscape and figurative watercolorist. Her work has been featured in Islands, Caribbean Travel and Life, Art & Business News and American Way magazines. In 1998, she traveled to California's Napa Valley to study oil painting, and last summer, she was the first resident artist at the Robert Mondavi Winery there.
Recently, after seven years as resident artist at St. John's Caneel Bay Resort, she has made the transition to the same position at the Ritz-Carlton St. Thomas Resort. Focusing now on St. Thomas scenes, she recently completed the series of watercolor and oil paintings of the Government Hill area that will be the focus of her solo show.
The Blue Turtle Gallery is located on the upper level of the building on Garden Street at the foot of the steps leading to Government Hill. For more information, call 774-9440 or visit the Blue Turtle Gallery web site.


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