Sunlight streamed through the large windows of Ashley Medowski’s studio Monday morning in West Tisbury. Ms. Medowski sat by her easel, brows furrowed over a painting, contemplating her next move. Rows of small paint brushes were lined up by the window, and paint tubes were piled in a bucket on the floor behind her. It was quiet, save for the buzz of cicadas outside.

Then she fired up the drill.

Ms. Medowski putting some three-dimensional touches on her painting. — Jeanna Shepard

“I’m shaving down a little peg to make it thinner to peg into the painting,” she said while holding a small, high-powered drill called a flex-shaft. After whittling down a metal peg, she glued it to a small object and drilled it through the wood canvas. Satisfied, she hummed a tune and placed the painting on a table.

The scene depicted is a familiar one to Island residents: the pumpkin festival at Morning Glory Farm held each fall. In the background, a golden sunrise lights up the sky over the farm stand, barn doors open wide. The first visitor is the late Patrick Gunkel, the “Cat Man,” riding in from the distance on his bike with a feline friend perched on his shoulder.

The focal point is a large table in the foreground where sunflowers stretch out of tin cans and dozens of plump pumpkins lay on the grass. Each is rendered not with paint but with a found object, adding a third dimension to the piece.

Assembled mixed media is a hallmark of Ms. Medowski’s current work, with the pieces arriving from just about anywhere. The pumpkins are acetate that were “Shrinky Dinked” from their original size in a 375-degree oven. The tin cans are crafted from the screw bases of light bulbs found at Lobsterville Beach.

Each year, Ms. Medowski chooses a theme for her works. — Jeanna Shepard

“I’m a recycler of everything,” she said. “Often my pieces start with an object that inspires me.”

Ms. Medowski said Morning Glory’s flower cans were the inspiration for the new piece, along with the nostalgic feeling of visiting the farmstand, a longstanding community gathering place.

“It just goes back to a simpler time,” she added. “I like capturing Island characters and places. It’s almost like getting to know your neighbors. Everything is lovely about Morning Glory. It’s a place that deserves to be captured.”

The same can be said about Ms. Medowski’s studio, nestled in a barn built in 1869 and overlooking James Pond. Every nook and cranny holds art and knick-knacks dating back to her great-grandfather, Island writer and fishermen Capt. Norman Benson. One of them, Mr. Benson’s old, metal lunchbox, was refashioned by Ms. Medowski to use as an artist’s toolbox.

Her studio is located in her great-grandfather's barn built in 1869. — Jeanna Shepard

“With my surroundings, I like pastoral areas and I’m very charmed by old architecture and old things,” she said. “There’s an authenticity to them.”

Ms. Medowski said she visited Morning Glory Farm and took photos to ensure the details in the painting were accurate, such as the farm stand’s weathervane. Back in the studio, she used the photos as inspiration for painting the scene. The pegged objects came last, reaching out to the viewer and providing a tangible element to the work.

“The placement of the objects takes a long time. I move them around until I’m satisfied with composition,” she said, reaching for an even larger hand drill.

Each year, Ms. Medowski selects a theme as a way of focusing her creativity and bringing unity to her work. The Morning Glory painting is part of Ms. Medowski’s current series: Birds, Fish, Boats and Barns, much of it currently displayed in the gallery. Other works in the series include a driftwood whale and a painting of constellations using bezel set rhinestones.

The scene depicted is the familiar pumpkin festival at Morning Glory Farm. — Jeanna Shepard

The final pegs go into assembling the frame, and Ms. Medowski makes quick work of it, holding the drill as assuredly as any paint brush. “She’s all pegged and pinned and ready to go,” she said after finishing with another musical hum.

Though she’s still finding and fiddling with objects for the current series, Ms. Medowski already has her next one pinned down: Menemsha paintings and mixed media. She said her goal is to capture the working people of the dock in her signature, whimsical style.

“I can’t contain my creativity,” she said. “There’s a lot I want to capture.”

The Ashley Medowski Gallery is located at 367 Lambert’s Cove Road, West Tisbury. Visit or call 774-563-5112 for information.

More photos here.