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On The Horizon

Artists Hillary Osborn and Doug Rugh capture the rich landscape and lifestyle of the Cape in their captivating paintings.

A vanishing point, according to the Museum of Modern Art, is “the place on the horizon where parallel lines appear to meet and converge.” The lives and careers of Falmouth artists Hillary Osborn and Doug Rugh have been filled with vanishing points, both literally and figuratively. In simple terms, vanishing points are important to creating perspective in a landscape painting, so Osborn and Rugh are quite used to working with them. Their relationships to the Cape are also something of a convergence of parallels, as their individual family histories drew them both back here. Hillary’s great-great-grandfather was Samuel Osborn Jr., who, according to the Vineyard Gazette, was “probably the largest individual owner of whaling property in the United States.” Hillary recalls, “At one point he owned eight whaling ships that sailed from Edgartown.” Both of Rugh’s grandparents were scientists who worked for years in Woods Hole. Even their studio/gallery sits at a convergence of lines, at the acute angle where Palmer Avenue and West Main St. join, in the Queen’s Byway.

Black Beach by Doug Rugh

The couple met in Falmouth, in a painting class. “Doug was running this group,” recalls Hillary. “I had just graduated from my MFA program and thought I was going to wow everyone in small town Falmouth. Some of the people were impressed by my work, but Doug didn’t really take any notice. So, I went to look at what he was doing—it was a Michelangelo-type piece with perfect proportions. We got to know each other, painting together with friends; three or four years later, we went on a date at the Captain Kidd in Woods Hole.” They’ve been together ever since. “As a couple, we learn from each other…

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