When Lisa Krentel was preparing for the annual holiday show at Cambridge’s Main Street Gallery on Poplar Street, she reached deep into her artistic and maritime past for inspiration. It was during the fifth annual Chesapeake Bay Appreciation Days at the Western Shore foot of the original two-lane Chesapeake Bay Bridge in 1969, three years before the parallel three-lane span opened. That’s when Krentel shot images of skipjacks sailing past celebrants gathered on the beach.
“We sailed our boat down from the Chester River to Sandy Point State Park for the day,” she recalls.
Krentel comes from an extended family of artists whose talents ranged from silversmithing and jewelry-making to pottery and painting. “From a very young age, I was always creating things,” says Krentel, a graduate of Philadelphia’s Moore College of Art and Design who double-majored in painting and photography. She deployed both majors in creating six 11-by-14-inch reworkings of her photos in 16-by-20 frames. Krentel dug out vintage negatives from that day in 1969 and digitally printed them on photo paper. She then painted over the black-and-white photo surfaces, including one image of a skipjack sailing past the Sandy Point Lighthouse. Rephotographing the finished product, she made as many prints as she hopes to sell before the show ends on Jan. 2. (The prints are priced at $175 each.)
“There were still hundreds of working skipjacks in the Bay back then,” Krentel says. “Now there are less than 10,” a few are based at Deale Island.
While photography was her primary artistic pursuit at the time, “I got tired of it when everybody started shooting photos with their cell phones,” she says. Although she admits that today’s smartphones can produce “great pictures,” Krentel misses the f-stops and lens choices at the fingertips of photographic pros back in the day. “Besides, I like to move on. So I gravitated toward mixed media.”
Among her other pieces on display and for sale at the “Bright and Beautiful” holiday show is a poster-like painting of Hulk Hogan posing aboard a Harley-Davidson to promote “Love Ride, November 1990,” a Jerry Lewis fundraiser to fight muscular dystrophy. She also photoshopped a print of sunlight-reflecting water with a blue crab painted near the surface. For $35, Krentel is also selling – sales was one of her earlier for-a-living careers – small “slices of life” circles in a box framing pen-and-ink drawings, among them “Queen Anne’s Lace.” Or her “Evening Glow” acrylic waterfront painting could be yours for $185.
Krentel moved back to the Eastern Shore from Sedona, Ariz., in 2007 to be near her elderly parents, who have since passed. She’s now settled in Cambridge with her partner, Paul Clipper, former editor of the local weekly newspaper, The Banner and also an exhibitor. Three of his cigar box guitars were a hit in an earlier Main Street show and are prominently displayed in the front window.
As with most Main Street Gallery shows, all the nine-member artists, including Krentel, are featured. Linda Starling, an original member, and co-founder creates silver jewelry with beads of all kinds and sea glass, which is an inspiration for much of her work. Another co-founder, Theresa Knight McFadden, specializes in iPad art to create still lifes and interiors. Karen Bearman, also an original member, is Main Street’s resident potter, while Kathy Flament, a “paint toss” practitioner, is the gallery’s fiber artist as well, with wearable art for sale.
Deborah Colburn specializes in prints and acrylic paintings, both figurative and abstract. In contrast, Ellie Ludvigsen’s land- and seascape photos are printed on high-grade watercolor paper sprayed with a sealer that makes it unnecessary to cover in a glare-distracting glass.
Pam Watroba, the newest member, is represented in the show with intricate mosaics composed in part of stained glass. Her pieces include “Pocomoke Riverdance” ($1,025) and “Lady of the Sea” ($225). Another relative newcomer, Leslie Giles, originally from England, sells her work internationally and makes a full-time living at it. Best known for oils on canvas, her “Last Light Choptank” is available for $390.
Next up at Main Street is “That 50s Show,” which has nothing to do with the 20th-century decade. Instead, “50s” refers to the sale price of selected artworks, none more than $50. “That 50s Show” runs from Jan. 7 through Feb. 27, 2022. Meanwhile, if you’re shopping for “Bright and Beautiful” art, be sure to arrive at the gallery with a mask, even if fully vaccinated, so as not to give or receive COVID for Christmas.
Steve Parks is a retired New York arts writer and editor now living in Easton.
‘Bright and Beautiful’
Main Street Gallery holiday show and sale through Jan. 2, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, closed Christmas and New Year’s, 518 Poplar St., Cambridge; mainstreetgallery.net, 410-330-4659,