Unbound: The (largely) coastal scenes of Andrea Naylor
Physically, Pelican Gallery has a Sturgeon Bay zip code, and it occupies a boathouse on Riley’s Bay in southern Door County. But according to Andrea Naylor, the artist who runs the business, it is a “Coastal Art Gallery Located on the Fresh Coast of Door County, Wisconsin.”
Clearly, we are in the presence of an active and imaginative marketer. Unbound by mere geography, Naylor has established her studio’s primary residence online – on Facebook, Instagram and its own website, ThePelicanGallery.com – and sells across the country, often to people who live on the coasts and like her images of sun and sea.
“This year I had curbside pickup, which was very popular with my collectors – people who every year come by my gallery, and if they can’t come, they know the work is online,” Naylor said.
She moved to Door County from Florida in 2013 with her husband, Brian Madigan, a Green Bay native. Now 37, she spent two years in the Peace Corps, living in a fishing village in Ghana, West Africa. After getting a master’s degree in global public health, she worked for nonprofits in Africa, the Caribbean and Australia – where she started painting again.
Naylor works in heavy acrylics, oil pastels on wood panels or canvas, gouache paints and neocolor crayons for quick sketches because they’re water soluble. She likes long-handled brushes in various sizes.
“Longer handles help keep my paint strokes loose and relaxed,” she said on her website. “Lastly: my Polaroid camera. It helps me capture the exact light and shadows I’m painting in the moment. That way, if I get pulled away from a piece I’m working on, I can come back to it later.”
Her color palette shows her Florida heritage, she admits.
“I did get people commenting, ‘Wow, you’re not from here’ because of these colors,” Naylor said.
The soft, vibrant colors she captures in her photographs are local, but they are fleeting, appearing and dissolving within minutes during the early-morning light on the lake side of the peninsula and during the late afternoon on the bay side. To prove that these hues do indeed exist in Door County – although not as frequently as you can find them in Florida or California – she has photographed in Algoma, at Door County Land Trust locations, and across Green Bay.
On her blog, the Florida native confesses to a preference for summer.
“If I could live in a year filled with the month of June, I would,” Naylor wrote. “The smell of peonies, sound of shorebirds, and long summer nights spent drinking cocktails on the porch. I can’t help but drink it all in.”
Her affection for Door County infuses her work and makes it popular with residents and visitors who can choose from big, bold paintings for a large wall or small works that fit an apartment.
“My prints are some of the most popular items I sell because they allow me to reach a wide base of people,” Naylor said. “Sometimes people live in a smaller place and can’t afford, or don’t want, a large piece of artwork, and then a print is a great way to get art affordably, so it can be a fun impulse buy. Tourists who are visiting the county love to take home a souvenir.”
Her photographs are printed with archival inks on a heavy cotton-rag paper so they have a substantial feel to them. Prices range from $35 for Christmas tree ornaments to $685 and up.
“Last year I was surprised at how many larger original paintings I sold, and all over the country,” Naylor said. “I predominantly paint coastal scenes, so I am attracting people who like ocean scenes, who live in coastal areas.”
Now she’s getting started on several new series for 2021.
“I had my biggest sales this year ever, better than when I was open,” Naylor said. “I spent the majority of my time online, where I can market to my collectors and focus on networking with others in businesses like interior design.”