Greg Hill with paintings
Nantucket Arts Nantucket History & People

Looking Back

It was Nantucket whaling ships that brought artist G.S. Hill and his life and business partner Judi to our island nearly half a century ago. And this season, in his studio gallery on Straight Wharf, Greg is showing a special retrospective exhibit of these early works.

G.S. Hill’s paintings brought the pair to Nantucket, and this June retrospective from his private collection has Greg and Judy reflecting on their voyage here. They were living in Maui in 1977 when a gallery owner from Nantucket stopped by to see Greg’s one-man show of his paintings of tall ships. The visitor fell in love with Greg’s style and technique, commenting on his paintings of Nantucket vessels (Nantucket had a strong connection with Hawaii during the heyday of whaling), and she asked him to show in her Harbor Gallery on Old South Wharf.

By 1979, Greg and Judy owned that Nantucket gallery, and in 1981, the Hills opened a shop at 40 Straight Wharf, where Greg’s studio gallery is currently located, sharing space with fine American-made gifts and the Nantucket Pearl Company. Greg let us watch as he prepared his retrospective. So far, he has included seven paintings (he hinted that he may add more): whaling ships, clipper ships, a famous Nantucket shipwreck, and a stunning pair of paintings depicting ships at battle. One of the works in the retrospective was painted while Greg and Judi were living in Paris, for a G.S. Hill exhibit in Gallery Marine. Most of the others were painted while they were living on Maui.

Collectors of G.S. Hill will be fascinated to see the differences between his current work and his paintings from the 1980s. In part, a result of experience: “I feel much more confident after 50 years of painting,” Greg commented. And in part due to the differences in the light and color of Nantucket versus Maui. “My color scheme changed when I came to Nantucket,” he explained. “The light [here] is softer, there’s fog… in Hawaii, it’s more intense and dramatic.” And Greg added that, as he reviews what to include in this retrospective, he feels inspired to revisit Nantucket whaling vessels as subject for new work.

Visit the G.S. Hill Gallery at 40 Straight Wharf to view Greg’s retrospective and his current work; open daily from 10 am to 5 pm.

Articles by Date from 2012