Painting had been instilled in Anne Palmer Tuttle at an early age. She grew up in the Brandywine region of Pennsylvania the oldest child in a family of artists. During the depression her family moved to Long Island where the teenager put herself through college, eventually earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from Long Island University.
Over the decades Tuttle earned a name for herself as a print-maker, painter and art instructor.
Now, the is showing a lifetime retrospective of her art starting Thursday and running through Nov. 13 titled “Anne P. Tuttle – A Life in Art.”
The exhibit will span her artistic career from her days as a housewife with an artistic bend to Master Artist working right up until her sudden death last October at the age of 89. Some works are on display for the first time.
“Anne very rarely exhibited her work, preferring to devote her time to teaching and to the creative process instead,” a statement promoting the art show said. “In addition to oils, pastels, pencil sketches and watercolors, many of Anne’s extraordinary etchings will be on view, alongside a display of several of the actual metal plates on which she used to create them.”
Tuttle has a long history in the area having met her husband Bruce while attending Bay Shore High School. Bruce Tuttle grew up in Setauket and moved his wife out to Stony Brook in 1952. The couple lived in Stony Brook until 1970, then moved to Setauket and lived there until 1976. Tuttle settled in East Setauket after her divorce in 1976 and lived there until her death last year.
While they were married, the Tuttles raised five children in a house that she designed. Her husband became a test pilot with Grumman.
According to their daughter Amy Tuttle – who is Program Director of the Greater Port Jefferson - Northern Brookhaven Arts Council – he once survived a jet crash in the Long Island Sound.
“It was his jet that flamed out in December 1951 and crashed in the Sound between Old Field Point and the mouth of Port Jeff Harbor,” she said in an email to Patch.
In the 1960s, when her youngest child began school, Tuttle picked up the paintbrush again and over the next few decades she studied with various professional illustrators, printmakers and painters. She spent years as an art teacher at Scraggy Hill School (now ) in Port Jefferson.
After a bitter divorce from her husband in 1976 after 30 years of marriage, Tuttle spent a summer painting in France fulfilling a lifelong dream.
Many of her accomplishments came late in life. She received her Master of Art, magna cum laude, at age 55 and on her 87th birthday she left on a solo cross-country trip in a camper van sketching and painting landscapes all across the United States getting as far as Alaska. She returned home after five months on the road.
"Although exhibiting throughout the world as a printmaker, my main focus now is as a painter in oils and pastels," Tuttle said in an artist statement released to announce the retrospective. "Capturing the essence of the subject, whether portrait, landscape or still life, and the utilization of the principles of good painting in doing so, continue to fascinate me."
Her daughter Amy, whose organization is sponsoring the retrospective, is proud of her mother's accomplishments and said that she was a caring woman as evidenced by the fact that last year she offered to take care of her ex-husband when he became ill.
“Mom told my brother that if need be, he could move in with her so she could take care of him,” she said. “Forty years after a bitter divorce, that statement says volumes about what kind of person she was.”
The “Anne P. Tuttle: A Life in Art” lifetime retrospective is sponsored by the Greater Port Jefferson Arts Council and the Incorporated Village of Port Jefferson. An opening reception will be held on Sunday, Sept. 16 from 2 to 5 p.m. The Port Jefferson Village Center hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. Closed on major holidays.