Piece of Work: Glenn Tunstull

Lazing on a sunny afternoon.

The problem with painting people at the beach is that they don’t sit still.

Growing up, Glenn Tunstull was the child you would always find drawing. “You know,” he says with an easy laugh, “the kid that comes into the house and falls down in the middle of the hall with a sketch pad.”

His love for art took him first to a technical high school in Detroit, where he honed his artistic skills, and then on to college at Parsons School of Design in New York, where he studied fashion art. After years of illustrating for the likes of Vogue, Women’s Wear Daily, and GQ, Tunstull turned his attention to painting.

Inspiration for many of his compositions comes from his extensive travels, including time spent each summer on Martha’s Vineyard with his partner, Joe Steele. The couple first came to the Island in 1994. For the past seventeen years, Tunstull has been represented by the Cousen Rose Gallery in Oak Bluffs.

One of his favorite places on the Island to paint is the Inkwell. “I’ve been coming for so long, and I’ve watched it change over time,” he says of the popular Oak Bluffs beach.

Some days you can find him painting en plein air; other times he simply sketches what he sees or snaps photos to use as inspiration for later work in his studio back home in the Hudson River Valley. “You have to be very, very quick,” he says of working outside. “The problem with painting people at the beach is that they don’t sit still.

“I’ve gotten very good at taking photos, and I will work from the photo reference to capture them,” he explains. That is how he came to paint the 12-x-16 inch watercolor Inkwell Stroll, shown above. “That way I don’t have to worry about them moving or changing the umbrella or going to take a dip in the water.” 

Tunstull’s work can be seen at the Cousen Rose Gallery in Oak Bluffs and at An opening reception at the gallery will be held on Saturday, August 10 from 7 to 9 p.m.


Comments (1)

Mercedes Harrington
North Carolina
August 5, 2019 - 10:06am