With an eye for snowy landscapes, watercolorist Linda Roberts has been critically acclaimed for decades. She’s created art for the U.S. Ski Team, Ski magazine, Audi, Continental Airlines and Marriott Corporation.
But her paintings keep coming back to the beach. And this week, she’s physically coming to Fenwick Island for a special exhibit at Carolina Street Garden & Home.
On Aug. 2, 3 and 4, Roberts will be in the store from noon until 4 p.m. Shoppers can find her coastal-themed watercolors, tranquil as a day at the shore. She’ll also mix things up with several paintings of Italian vistas, framed and unframed prints, plus notecards.
She’ll give away a free “Beaches” poster with every purchase during the exhibit. The poster retails for $20.
“I like painting the places I go that I love,” especially the Delaware and Maryland coast, Roberts said, adding that it excites people to see a familiar place in her artwork. “It’s that connection to the place that they like.”
Roberts’ work has been honored and reproduced for major ski, golf and tennis tournaments, as well as commissions for national companies.
The native Marylander has had her work signed by President Gerald Ford and reproduced as posters for two Jerry Ford Golf Tournaments in Vail, Colo.
Her works have been sold locally for decades, including 10 years at Carolina Street.
“She has a big following of customers who love what she does,” said Paul Phillips, husband to the Carolina shopkeeper. “This woman is a real talent. … She does really wonderful stuff.”
Her work has “universal appeal,” he said, showing familiar scenes of Coca Cola crates, crab bushels and umbrellas in the sand.
“All of those things evoke nostalgia in people and have meaning for people,” Phillips said. “It reminds you of something you love. I think that’s what art is all about anyway.”
After studying commercial art at University of Maryland, Roberts was charmed by watercolors at an adult-education class years later. Now, she’s been painting professionally for more than 40 years. After painting snow for years, she graduated to beach scenes too.
“I find that painting sand is very similar to painting snow,” she said, “the softness. And I love the footprints in the sand, and the shadows.”
Watercolors are already delicate, but “I don’t use white paint at all,” she emphasized. When creating objects such as a wicker chair, she paints a clear coat in a mask over the white paper, so the colors don’t stick. Then she removes the clear coat and touches up around it.
At 69, Roberts said she feels blessed to have the eyesight and talent to keep doing what she loves, often alongside her young grandchildren, who like to paint, too, and her son, who owns a Colorado graphic design business.
She said she is looking forward to chatting with shoppers in person, and Phillips called her very “approachable.”
“Doing the art, it’s a very solitary thing. It’s you and a piece of paper. … I like then meeting the person who says they’re going to give their hard-earned dollars for something I created,” Roberts said. “It’s a nice way to finish the cycle.”
Carolina Street Garden & Home is a home furnishings and décor store, regularly open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the exhibition days. It’s located at 40118 East South Carolina Street, Fenwick Island. Call (302) 539-2405 or visit www.CarolinaStreet.com for more information. Anyone who likes her work but doesn’t find that perfect painting during the exhibit can also commission a Roberts painting through Carolina Street. Learn more online at www.LindaRobertsGallery.com.