March 4, 2002 – Recent paintings by St. Thomas watercolorist Corinne Van Rensselaer and new prints of her work will be showcased in the March art exhibition at Alexander's Cafe, which opens Friday with a meet-the-artist champagne reception from 5 to 7 p.m.
Van Rensselaer is known for her island images, especially hibiscus blooms and, more recently, harlequin-influenced marine abstracts. She is a self-taught watercolorist whose palette ranges from strong, vibrant tones to soft, pastel hues. "In all of my work, whether abstract or representational," she says, her objective is to convey "a feeling of joy, lightness and tranquility."
"Joy," in fact, has been a key word in her professional development. She titled her first solo show in the territory, at the Reichhold Center for the Arts in 1990, "The Color of Joy," and the name stuck. It's what she called her first studio/gallery/gift shop, in Tillett Gardens, and the name of the gallery/boutique/frame shop in American Yacht Harbor that she has owned and operated since 1996. And you'll find her web site on the Internet at thecolorofjoy.com.
She also owned and operated the Van Rensselaer Gallery in Havensight in the mid-'90s. Her prints are sold in gift shops throughout the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.
Born and reared in England, Van Rensselaer studied at London's Bartlett School of Architecture. "However, the lure of the sea proved too strong," she says, and in 1978 she stowed her drawing board to take up the sailing life, first in the Mediterranean, then in the Caribbean. She put down roots in the Virgin Islands in 1982, running a charter yacht. She and her husband, Rik Van Rensselaer, lived aboard their sailboat, Flute, until 1996, when they moved ashore on St. Thomas with their two children.
She has had several solo shows and exhibited in Virgin Islands Art Expo and numerous Arts Alive fairs, taking the Best in Fine Art award in 1995. She is the only artist to have participated in all 13 of the St. Thomas-St. John Arts Council's annual Caribbean Colour shows, winning a second-place award in 1996. A former Arts Council board member and an active member and former president of Rotary East, she is the founder of the weekly "Friday Night Alternative" gatherings on the American Yacht Harbor deck outside The Color of Joy.
Friday's reception at Alexander's Cafe, which is open to the public, will include complementary finger food, a champagne pour and a door prize gift from the artist. All of works in the show are available for purchase. It will hang in the Frenchtown restaurant through April 11. For more information, call 513-3925.


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