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Glass-like Clarity

Photography courtesy of The Nines Art Gallery
Artistic duo Lauren DiFerdinando and Luther Bates bring fresh perspectives to The Nines Art Gallery in their signature paintings and photographs

Along Harwich Port’s shoreline, natural light peeks through a collection of glass bottles, highlighting the beach’s calming hues. For artist Lauren DiFerdinando, these are the vessels portrayed in the oil paintings of her signature series “Glass.” East along the same coastline, and fifteen miles off of the Chatham Fish Pier, the ocean water dances in its wild form. Some days, the water rests and gently flows with a glass-like surface. Other days, the wind gusts and the waters roar with jagged waves. Photographer, fisherman, and woodworker Luther Bates captures these moments for his mesmerizing “At Sea” photography, as well as for the photos used in Lauren’s ocean paintings, “The Water Series.” Together, the three stunning collections make up the visual journey that captivates visitors of The Nines Art Gallery in Harwich Port center. 

The couple’s paths crossed due to a series of fortunate, coincidental events that aligned in order for their business to begin and bloom. Luther, born and raised in Chatham, is no stranger to the water. His work as a commercial fisherman began in high school, and as he put himself through Cornell University, he continued to fish at home on weekends. Graduation rendered an economic degree and a job opportunity in New York City, but a well-earned respite found him returning to the Cape to recharge and fish. “I was going to become an equities trader in the New York Stock Exchange. I decided I needed a little break. I wanted to come back to the Cape for six months and regroup. It seems the break has gone on for quite a few years now,” he laughs.

“It’s not really about the bottles in my paintings; it’s the glass and the light that I think is beautiful. I love the translucency. It’s the same reason I love the water: the clearness,” says Lauren, pictured painting in her studio. 

Lauren, a Pennsylvania native and Syracuse University graduate, moved to the Cape to be close to the water. The coastal atmosphere was the perfect backdrop for her art after finding her passion for painting glass during her senior year as a painting major. “I was always searching for a unique, beautiful niche in painting. My senior year of college, I was sitting on my couch and my friend had bought a big glass bowl at a yard sale. It was sitting in front of a window and I thought the light coming through it was so beautiful. I stayed up all night trying to paint it; it was a sudden moment of clarity. It’s not really about the bottles in my paintings; it’s the glass and the light that I think is beautiful. I love the translucency. It’s the same reason I love the water: the clearness,” Lauren describes. Those paintings were the mile-markers that initiated her journey to ultimately selling her art and opening a gallery; a journey that Luther soon joined.

Their first intersection occurred while working on the same project. Lauren was painting the logo for a shop on Main Street in Chatham while Luther installed custom shelves. Just two years later, she took the leap to open her own gallery, Tint, in Dennis Port. When Lauren wanted a local woodworker to create her frames, Luther stepped aboard. 

With a growing business, they moved to an open space in Harwich Port after one season at Tint. They had only two months to complete renovations after signing their new lease. On Memorial Day in 2017, The Nines Art Gallery opened its doors. To this day, it is very much a personal operation, with Lauren and Luther creating everything from the painting and photography to Luther’s handmade frames. The pair made sure to create work spaces in the gallery for the both of them. Behind the public display space, Lauren can often be found painting in her studio space. Downstairs, Luther still crafts each frame by hand. 

Their creative process is similarly a mutual, thoughtful effort. Lauren and Luther photograph the bottles for her “Glass” paintings at a client’s property along Harwich Port’s coastline. This delicate act involves perfectly positioning the bottles and capturing images at just the right time for the light to shine through. “It’s a process; it’s not just grabbing a couple of bottles and throwing them up there. It’s building the painting from the moment you start lining them up to photograph,” Luther adds. Lauren chooses only a few of these photos to paint her lifelike, entrancing compositions on over-sized canvas. Several paintings will often be in various stages of progress at once, and as layers of paint dry she can determine what needs to be added. It  may take multiple months before a piece is complete. 

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