Old boat motors line the walkway, driftwood creakingly composes the banisters, pieces of sea glass stud the stone walls, a decaying water ski serves as a shelf. But this is not an underwater farmhouse — it is Saltwater Gallery, Ashley Medowski’s giant work of art that houses the smaller creations she makes inside its walls.

Ms. Medowski has been working and selling art from this gallery for 10 years now. She inherited it from her great-grandfather, Norman Benson, a trap fisherman and farmer, whose life combined the fish and field that Ms. Medowski has recreated in the ambience of her gallery.

The gallery also gets its name from her great-grandfather, who wrote a book of reminiscences called Saltwater in My Veins. The book’s cover and back page are framed in the bottom floor of the gallery, lending a little Vineyard and Benson family history to any visitor.

As a 13th generation Islander, Ms. Medowski is proud of her connection to the Island’s history, and to what she calls “the working element of the Vineyard.”

“People think that we’re here in our whale polka-dotted pants, hanging out in Edgartown, but we’re fishing, farming and sweating and trying to love here, and I like showing that,” she said. “To survive on this Island, you have to learn to be an entrepreneur, and you have to be a Jack or a Jane of many trades. It’s kept me looking at recycling objects in this day and age of computers and technology.”

Her work consistently pays homage to that idea: Scenes of Menemsha and Vineyard hillsides hang as little worlds on the walls of her gallery, each replete with a strong sense of place.

“Ultimately, I just get obsessed with a place or a thing. There’s something nostalgic in me and I just have to get it out of my system. But that makes it into a one-of-a-kind thing,” she said. “I paint for me, and then I never forget the place — it becomes a part of me. Once I accomplish memories of places, architecture or moments, I feel like I capture a part of Vineyard history.”

While much of this is in the service of her artistic inclinations and needs, it also comes back to the history of the Island. In both her gallery and her mixed-media paintings, Ms. Medowski uses elements of the landscape — used items, perhaps trash to others — to connect physically the art to the environment which inspires and surrounds it.

A painting of a shack in Menemsha uses old battery casings as lobster-bait barrels and buoys; a piece of tin, stained by time, becomes the dark water that swirls beneath the shack.

It is this kind of detail — the tiny rendering of the old weathervane of a Wampanoag holding a bow and arrow, a miniature split rail fence — that Ms. Medowski believes sets her work apart from other landscape painters on the Island.

“A lot of my pieces you can look at for a long time, and keep finding things. I’m all about detail. A lot of landscape artists have their palette, and from that they just paint lines of horizon, the sky and maybe a tree,” she said.

For her, detail is what gives each painting its larger sense of place, its ability to depict what she calls “the beautiful reality” of the Vineyard. And that attention to detail — to the little dog at the Chilmark Store or the skunk crouched at the foot of a stone wall — gives each piece its character.

“I always try to put an element of life into the paintings . . . a spirit, but not really spirit. I put a little psychology into the pieces — like that lonely horse on the hill, and the apple in the foreground,“ she said.

Her attention to detail extends into the gallery itself. In every corner, there seems to be a new recycled treasure that wasn’t there the first time you looked. One of the windows has the sea glass that originally made her gallery well-known and respected 10 years ago; an old rudder now stands guard as a swinging gate in a walkway to the door that sprawls open to James Pond.

It also gives her a special talent for finding the hidden eccentricities of her great-grandfather’s barn. “I saw this thing rolling around on the ground when I first started clearing this out. I picked it up and I just said, ‘What is that?’”

After some research at Menemesha and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, it turned out to be a giant shrimp that her great-grandfather had preserved in a jar of formaldehyde.

She tells the story with a squealing laugh, her love for her family and its timeless, though quirky, traditions apparent. These are the true tools she needs to turn this aging barn into a massive confection of craftsmanship.

There is still work to do. “When I’m all done, and you walk in here, it’s going to be the prettiest place on earth,” Ms. Medowski said.

Saltwater Gallery will host an artist’s reception in celebration of its 10th year on Sunday, August 7 from 4 to 8 p.m. The gallery address is 367 Lambert’s Cove Road on the upper end near Seth’s Pond. All are welcome.