Home Arts-Entertainment Showcase GIBBS' ST. JOHN IMAGERY ON EXHIBT AT SOLO ARTE

GIBBS' ST. JOHN IMAGERY ON EXHIBT AT SOLO ARTE

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March 13, 2003 – Mitch Gibbs' collection of paintings spanning 18 years at the Solo Arte gallery in Cruz Bay through Monday represents a return to the St. Thomas artist's St. John roots.
Gibbs made his first trip to the Caribbean in 1985 — not to the Virgin Islands and not to paint, although he was a successful mainland artist at the time. His mission was to deliver a commissioned painting from the mayor of York, Pennsylvania, to the mayor of San Juan.
Instantly smitten with Puerto Rico's alternative to Pennsylvania in terms of winter weather, he decided to spend the season painting. In preparation for a solo show back home, he committed himself to completing three watercolors or pastels each day. The show was a sellout, but that was just the beginning of his Caribbean career.
"Nearly everyone I met in San Juan told me I should visit St. John," he recalls, "so I spent the last two weeks of my winter sojourn at Cinnamon Bay, continuing to make three paintings a day." The pastels of beach scenes "created so much interest among the other campers that I held an exhibition at my tent site and sold almost all of the new series — including one to Jimmy Carter."
Gibbs spent part of the next three years living on the North Shore, painting and selling his work in front of Mongoose Junction. Then he moved to St. Thomas, where he was invited to become artist-in-residence at Frenchman's Reef Beach Resort.
Despite having adopted St. Thomas as his home, he continues to spend as much time as possible at Cinnamon Bay, Peter Bay and Trunk Bay painting St. John's scenic North Shore. The large body of his oils and acrylics on display at Solo Arte are collectively titled "Mitch Gibbs Returns to St. John, The Paintings: 1987 to 2002."
Solo Arte is located in the Lumberyard complex in Cruz Bay. For more information, call gallery owner Janet Cook-Rutnik at 715-2150.

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