The bond between siblings can be a strong, enduring and, sometimes, mysterious affair. To showcase such a bond on an artistic level can be a thing of beauty.

In the Art League of Ocean City’s October special exhibit, “Symbiosis: Sisters, Muses, Mentors,” Deb Rolig of Snow Hill and Diane (Dee) Gray of Lewes, Delaware, are joining forces to share with us their familial artistic sensibilities – the ties and talent that bind them together.

The event is the first shared exhibition for the sisters, although both have been working artists for more than 20 years. Rolig’s fine art work is familiar to many on the Eastern Shore, while Gray is a nationally distributed graphic design artist. While each has a distinctive style, an undeniably reflective thread runs through their paintings, as the two closely collaborate while conceptualizing and creating.

“We are both inspired by each other’s work,” said Gray. “We always have collaborated and encouraged each other through almost every painting – over the phone and in photo texts. We are always open and honest, and cheerleaders for each other to keep pressing on. We both ‘get’ each other when it comes to our art and  . . . without our mutual support, creatively and psychologically, we might not still be at it.”

Rolig’s paintings have a narrative quality, juxtaposing bits of realism on abstract fields with rich textures and layers of color while Gray’s work incorporates a unique illustrative style combined with vintage papers, a touch of charcoal pencil, affirming messages, acrylics and glazes.

Rolig graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a Fine Arts degree in painting and drawing. Her recent work is represented by several Shore galleries including Bishop’s Stock in Snow Hill, Nest in Berlin, and two Rehoboth Galleries – Philip Morton Gallery and Gallery 50.

Gray is a graduate of the former Maryland College of Art and Design. She is founder and president of Boomerang Studios, a graphic design and illustration firm, and has designed many award-winning projects for high-profile clients. Her licensing venture, Green Street Garden Party, introduces sustainable living to children through vividly illustrated characters. Under the signature label Gathered Curiosities, she creates mixed-media items using found objects and upcycled art, which can be purchased at several area shops including The Green Doors and The Serenity Shoppe in Snow Hill and Nest in Berlin. 

Gray and Rolig are also partners in ShaDeeLa Creative Workshops, periodic classes that provide participants with meaningful personal explorations through art. They are the daughters of Severna Park artist Richard H. Harryman, whose own work is known for its evocative scenes of the Chesapeake Bay region.

The opening reception is Friday, Oct. 3 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Ocean City Center for the Arts on 94th Street and is free and open to the public. “Symbiosis” runs through the month of October.

For more information about the offerings at the OC Center for the Arts, contact the Art League at 410-524-9433 or visit

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