Every year Trintje Jansen invites me down to her wonderful house on the river in Westport. Before I knew Trintje, I had never been to Westport or known about it. It’s the last town on the south coast of Massachusetts before the Rhode Island border, and Trintje lives on the west side of the Westport River, the very last bit of southern Massachusetts. In fact, you have to drive through the tiny village of Adamsville, RI to get to Trintje’s house.
When I went last weekend, Trintje was preparing for the South Coast Artists Open Studios on August 20-21. One of the first things I always do when I arrive is look at the work in Trintje’s studio.
Trintje makes clay reliefs of landscapes and riverscapes inspired by her lifelong love of Westport, with its long fields bounded by stone walls, the river and islands, birds and fish. When she started this work in the 1980s, she painted with glazes, but now she paints directly on the fired clay reliefs with acrylic paints. Trintje uses various perspectives; some of the scenes are viewed from above; some are cross-sections that show the sky, the water, the fish under the water. Most of the places in the pieces are imaginary, although of course they are saturated with the imagery of Trintje’s Westport surroundings.