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Jim Sabiston’s Inspired ‘Island’ Series

“Islanders too are for sculpting.”

Seamus Heaney, Death of a Naturalist

Defined by their isolated nature, places of hard delineated edges and borders, islands are spaces whose boundaries are set by natures elemental forces of wind and water. These elemental aspects determine much of the nature of islands and the effects can be both overt and subtle. Despite it’s proximity to one of the worlds largest metropolitan cities, Long Island is no exception to this simple truism. Long Island’s history is a long running relationship between nature and man as the primary shapers of this place.  And we, in our turn, are also defined and sculpted by nature and the character of the Island.


The ‘Island’ Series is an ongoing study of this relationship reflected in modern times. Jim Sabiston has spent much of his life intimately engaged with the sea seeking out the inherent transcendent spirit that can be found at the intersection of land, sea and air. His deep family history on Long Island and direct interaction and engagement with the elements throughout his life as surfer, sailor, kayaker, and fisherman all play a very prominent part in his vision of his home, especially at the dramatic edges where land and sea meet in their eternal, living dance of change. The predilection towards broad panoramic vistas in the series tells the story of life at this impermanent edge and hints at the true scale of the natural world beyond land’s end. The great, open presence of the sea and sky and nature’s unlimited power and spirit underlies all. Even in the face of our modernity, the presence of the sea is the defining characteristic of Long Island, where the sea’s presence is never very far away. Sensitive to the history that underlies the Island we see today, both manmade and natural, Jim Sabiston has begun recording his Romantic vision of the modern Long Island in theIsland’ Series of Limited Edition art prints.

Jim Sabiston's ‘Island’ SeriesJim Sabiston's ‘Island’ Series

The Process

 The ‘Island’ series is an extension of Jim’s efforts over the last few years to combine the strengths of his two favorite mediums: watercolor painting and photography. “I was a painter long before I was a photographer, and it seemed a natural progression to seek new ways to combine these two distinctly different mediums. Watercolor brings us it’s direct, bright but earthy palette and impressionist qualities. Photography offers its literal realism as a grounding point for creativity. The effective digital combination of the two has resulted in an entirely new and unique medium.”

  Jim Sabiston's ‘Island’ SeriesJim Sabiston's ‘Island’ Series

The process requires that the photographic detail be deconstructed in a particular way, removing those details that detract from the emotional impression which is the goal of the final print. The goal is to go beyond the mere visual aspect of a subject, and to open the emotional connection to these places that are part of our home on Long Island. The specific process varies from print to print and includes a great deal of detailed hand work using a Wacom Intuos 5 graphics tablet. The ‘Island’ series is a progression from Jim’s ‘Bridges and Lakes’ series. Using real, recognizable locations and subjects from the Long Island shorelines, the result has been the creation of a unique method of storytelling, reflecting the historic, the modern, and our connection to these places. Jim Sabiston's ‘Island’ Series

The final part of the process, as with other recent series, is the application of the image to a carefully selected, textured watercolor style cotton paper. The paper is used to enhance the digitally painted characteristics of the final work. In the case of ‘Island’, a moderately textured, museum conservation grade cotton paper is used to enhance the delicate color gradations as well as the painterly details.


As with previous recent series prints, ‘Island’ is released as Limited Edition of ten prints only. Prints can be ordered in various sizes to suit the clients need, as Jim does all the printing in his own studio.

Images in this series are available in the following sizes:
22 X 30 on hand prepared watercolor paper
22 X 30 on archival textured art paper
15 X 22 on hand prepared watercolor paper
15 X 22 on archival textured art paper

Long Island Photo Gallery works directly with photographic artist Jim Sabiston and the art buyer.  Together we deliver the perfect print to fulfill the art buyer’s desires.  Please contact a Long Island Photo Gallery art consultant today at 1-888-600-5474 to discuss this beautiful art series.

Thanks Jim, for the great write up about your inspiring ‘Island’ series.  It truly is beautifully ‘sculpted’. 

Creatively yours,


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