Sunday, December 13, 2009

A great Note from Drayton Jones

Many of us involved in the Old Forge Plein Air Paint Out are still benefiting from the event. Of course, all of those who came home from the auction with paintings, can view daily the rewards of having artists paint our scenic town, lakes, rivers and mountains. Also, those artists who so generously donated their time and talent are getting feedback from those who won their paintings and from new fans and interested observers who met them during the two weekends that they painted.

One of the Paint Out volunteers, Paula Weal, got an especially beautiful note from one of the participating artists, Drayton Jones, who contributed a whopping four paintings in one weekend to the auction. Paula was kind enough to share the note with us. Thanks to both of them and once again to all who helped to make this event such a success.

- Linda Weal, Paint Out Committee

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

“Sounds of the Season” a musical performance at The Art Center of Old Forg

The following was written by Alan Saban about "Sounds of the Season" an event taking place this coming Saturday.

The Art Center of Old Forge is pleased to announce “Sounds of the Season” a musical recipe to celebrate the holidays. We are even throwing in a dash of poetry and a smidgen of storytelling. Several local groups and community members have joined together for this family friendly event that will take place on Saturday December 12, 2009 at 2PM at the Art Center inside the “Home for the Holidays.”

Members of Niccolls Church, St. Barts, Mountain Theatre, The Senior Moments, and more will sing and play music from traditional to contemporary. If you haven’t had a chance to enjoy “Home for the Holidays,” this is the perfect chance. We have many items on sale including furniture, clothing, toys, membership baskets, lighting, ornaments, quilts, wreaths, and much more for gift giving.

Some of the highlights include “ ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” by Niccolls Choir, The Senior Moments with “Silver Bells,” a duo singing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” A newly formed group from the Art Center will sing and we have a surprise trio we call the “Three Tenors” that just might complete this recipe for the holiday.

This event is free and all donations will benefit the Art Center in the hopes of bringing more performing arts to the community.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Home for the Holidays

The Arts Center/Old Forge is honored to have Artist and Interior Designer, Stephen Wick, behind the design of “Home for the Holidays. “Home for the Holidays” will be on display at the Arts Center/Old Forge November 27 through January 2.

The following is a letter from Stephen Wick, whom The Arts Center/Old Forge is honored to have designed for us this year for “Home for the Holidays”.

I am excited to be donating my time as the designer for “Home for the Holidays”. My idea was to wrap the building like a big present, “a gift” back to the community for all they give. The challenge was finding 60 yards of red ribbon, big bow, and a wreath. Thanks to my sister Clara for searching out and donating the ribbon. Also a big thanks to Phoebe for leading the search throughout the land for the bow the and to Gary Lee for making and hanging the evergreen wreath.
Proudly, we’ve collected over $43,000 in merchandise and gifts for sale, Chris and Alan have spent countless hours hanging and displaying them collectively, in a make-believe house and outdoor-space within the main gallery. Bringing together local and distant communities and artisans’ furniture and craftsmen for the holidays is always rewarding to me. Living here is such a gift especially seeing the community join together to make a whole new energized Arts Center for all to enjoy. ¬

Stephen Wick resides in Eagle Bay and Fort Lauderdale, FL, where he designed a 6000 sq. ft. Mission style home on the New River. He also was the lead designer on a yacht for the Prime Minister of Malaysia, the Versace Shops in Miami Beach and Palm Beach, residences in New York City and South Florida. Wick studied at The Columbus College of Art and Design and earned his B.A. at the Art Institute of Atlanta Georgia and has been designing for over 25 years.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Northeast Quilts Unlimited 2009 A Stunning Representations of Quilts, Needle Arts, and Autumn Leaves

The following article was originally published in the Adirondack Weekly. The 23rd Annual Northeast Quilts Unlimited ended November 11. Thank you to all who were involved.
The Arts Center/Old Forge will open "Home for the Holidays" on November 27th with a wine tasting reception from 4 - 6 pm.

By Jenifer M. Russell, New Hartford, New York
Professional Quilt Maker, Lecturer, Appraiser of Quilts,
Instructor of Fiber Arts

On opening day of the Northeast Quilts Unlimited I walked into the main space of the Arts Center/Old Forge to see the works of the fiber artist and all I thought to myself was ... stunning! They have done it again. The talent, workmanship, and design content of the show are incredible.
There is so much variety in this year's Northeast Quilts Unlimited; color, traditional work, contemporary work, pieces by needle artist, and autumn leaves paintings. Not only will quilt makers enjoy but also art lovers in general. The traditional exhibit is showcased as you enter the main space with Barbara Christen of Chittenango quilt "My Roots" a traditional Baltimore Album quilt which won 1st Place in the Bed Quilt Division and Best of Show. This piece is exquisite with hand appliquéd vines, leaves, roses and birds.
In “Rosamunda” Amy Trumpeter of Danbury, CT, the 3rd place Wall Quilt Winner displays a lovely and colorful floral appliqué. The fabrics are so bright and cheerful; her placement of color is evenly distributed.
Mary Knapp of Watertown, NY entered her quilt "A Study of Visual Perception" with figures of fish and birds shown in a beautiful sky and water background. A large piece, this quilt shows an incredible use of a gradation in color of fabrics and is completely hand quilted.
The Ruth G. Roseneau Gallery space showcases artists of RAFA (Rochester Area Fiber Artists). "Spring's Promise” by Anne Fischer is a beautiful depiction of springtime in fiber. A robin with her nest full of eggs is the center of attention in this piece. The artist creatively uses a collection of yarns and chenille making up the birds nest. Beautiful works of abstract art, large and small are displayed in this gallery. One must see them in person to appreciate the fact that these are all works in fiber.
The Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) works are located in the Members' Lounge Gallery. Visual Arts and Fiber come together in their pieces, with many to view at the show, along with their published book. Also in the Members’ Lounge is an area for children of all ages to try their hand making a quilt pattern using a flannel board and felt pieces of assorted shapes; children’s quilting story books and an embroidery hoop are ready for anyone to try stitching a design.
In the Adirondack Gallery, Mohawk Valley Embroiderer's Guild of America (EGA) and North Country Chapter American Needlepoint Guild (ANG) members showcase their needlework. The artists have created pieces using a wide array of techniques from traditional needlework to contemporary designs and methods. Jane Tanner, ANG, her piece “Glittering Diamonds" effectively incorporates a blend of mixed embroidery threads, beads, and metallic threads in geometric design set on canvas. She has such a fine detail in her work.
In "English Garden" a work of fine cross stitch, Winifred Llewellyn, EGA, shares with us her love of her embroidery and expertise in her handwork. She recently told me that her handwork in fiber arts is her passion, and it really shows.
Upstairs in the Balcony Gallery, Dan Bacich shares with us his compositions in pastels and acrylics with Leaves being the focus of his creative expressions. His paintings along with ceramic tile reproductions of some of his works are available for sale. Dan states ‘while quilters have frequently drawn inspiration from the work of painters, I believe my paintings provide ample proof that the reverse is true as well…there are many common ‘threads’…patterns and colors, subtle geometry of composition…”. His works are wonderful addition to the quilt show as the autumn season is here for us to enjoy.
For those of you who enjoy quilts, but are not quilters, there is a raffle of an Adirondack themed quilt, and there are over 24 quilts and quilted items for sale that were donated by various quilters, the proceeds to benefit fiber arts programs at the Arts Center/Old Forge. Be sure to plan a drive to the Arts Center of Old Forge to experience this year’s Northeast Quilts Unlimited. The exhibit runs until November 11, 2009. Admission is $5 for non-members and $3 members. Groups of 6 or more are admitted at the member’s prices. After seeing the show, make a morning or afternoon of it and have a nice bowl of soup or hot lunch in town to take the chill off the day. Take in the scenery and on the way out of the Arts Center, if you are interested in learning about quilt making and the fiber arts, sign up for one of the many classes offered. Congratulations to the staff and volunteers of the Arts Center/Old Forge and the Northeast Quilts Unlimited.... well done!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Festival of Wreaths

Hooray! The first two wreaths have arrived for the Arts Center’s first Festival of Wreaths. Judging from the two entries that have arrived I foresee that the festival is going to be a beautiful holiday event.

Deb Munyan brought the first wreath made almost entirely from pinecones that she collected locally. It is a truly Adirondack creation, and would be beautiful in any Adirondack home.

The second wreath was donated by Adirondack Accents, a local gift shop located on Old Forge’s, Main Street. Kristen Down, the wreath’s creator attached lots of extra goodies including Adirondack-themed wine glasses and a bottle of wine!

The first two wreaths donated are wonderfully different from one another, and illustrate the idea of the Festival of Wreaths beautifully. What makes each of them so special are the personal touches and the different viewpoints that each of them brought to their wreath. It is exciting to think about what others may create. Be sure to visit the Festival of Wreaths at the Arts Center/Old Forge and place a bid on your favorite. Wreaths will be on display November 27-29.

Also if you would like to donate a wreath, it is not too late to join the fun. Contact the Arts Center for an application. Or follow the attached link to download a link off of our web page.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Case for Common Ground

In light of recent discussions around the Arts Center of the kingmanship between the Arts and Sciences Emerita Miriam Davis Kashiwa wrote this perspective. Any feedback would be welcome.

A perceived kinship between the Arts and Sciences has been long discussed. Art stirs emotions; too, the Sciences delight at discovery. Practitioners in each discipline are creative puzzle-solvers reacting to the wonders and mysteries of life: one expressing ideas through such media as paint, dance and music etc.; the other expressing discovery of how life works through the microscope or in the laboratory.

Leonardo Da Vinci was one such artist-scientist who worked… on cadavers… to study the workings of the human body in order to paint and sculpt accurate depictions in his art.
He may be one of the earliest to see that Nature is Art perfected, that those who work in those realms work from a common root… Nature’s design already in place.

Both artist and scientist explore and investigate their fields.. They are curious about the world and its wonders. They study and transform their discipline with the new…. Artist may note the effect of light on the landscape - scientist may note how light enters the eye and registers a scene on the brain. Both may use the same subject only with a different focus.

A question thinkers may ask of this connection might be ‘how does the first impact the second?’ We understand how the improvements in paints and brushes, in sprung floors for dancers, discoveries in new materials for mutes to change sound in a musical instrument etc. satisfy the science presence. The art-to-science impact is not quite as obvious.. However in speaking with scientists, writers, and noticing my own reactions, people who experience impasse in the problem at hand agree that if they choose to use it, there is an ‘Art Fix’.

Scientist may face such a ‘block’ when preparing a formula or failing to match tissue or be experiencing other scientific questionings. That’s the moment when Art can ‘impact’ or benefit scientist. Experiencing Art forms can distract the mind to rest when one listens to music, sips an aromatic cup of tea, watches dancers , ponders a painting. The act of quiet ‘contemplation’ of beauty or of elements-in-balance is rewarded by a cleansing of the (thought) palate. The solution at the edge of the mind may then be loosed to drop into place. The brain responds. It happens time and again.

In both art and science, we witness these creative, puzzle-solving -peoples’ curiosity at mystery and wonder. We remember as well that to solve those puzzles both unlock the dilemma with the same key: contemplation. We watch as artist and scientist are motivated by the same stimulus and then ‘problem-solve’ using the same process. Through the performers of each realm we find that the arts and sciences do indeed share ‘common ground’… after all, they spring from Nature’s common root.

Miriam Kashiwa, Emerita
The Arts Guild of Old Forge, Inc.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Volunteering At the Arts Center by Patty Foley

"It was one of the Adirondack Theme Shows, and a young girl - maybe junior high school age - dropped off her entry.

As they left, her father - who had driven her to Old Forge (that's how young she was)- came back in, to say that it was her first entry in an art show and - if it was going to be rejected by the judge - maybe it would be better to just take it home right then.

That entry was accepted, and it won a first prize, and seeing that girl’s face when the award was announced is something I will never forget.

That’s why I volunteer my time to The Arts Center. Even though I can’t paint, or draw, or sculpt, I can still be part of that magic."

-Patty Foley
Immediate Past President of the Board of Directors

Explore Volunteer Opportunities at the Arts Center/Old Forge

The Arts Guild of Old Forge would like to encourage anyone interested in volunteering.
We have many opportunities available for individuals who would like to help.
Some of the many areas in which volunteers are needed are:
Host/Hostess/Front Desk, Ticket Sales, Craft Fair, Tennis Classic,
Plein Air Paintout, Brochure Mailings, Culinary Preparation, Antique Show,
House Tour, Serving Food, Exhibit Set-up/Take Down, Workshops, Auction,
Central Adirondack Take-in, and Data Entry.
If interested please contact the Arts Center/Old Forge at 315-369-6411
or email

Sunday, October 18, 2009

23rd Annual Northeast Quilts Unlimited

The exhibition will run until November 11
Quilts from all over the United States adorn the walls of the galleries in the Arts Center/Old Forge. This juried display will have over $1,700 in cash and prizes awarded to the quilts and wall hangings that have been carefully selected by this years judge Molly Waddell, NQACJ.  Several associations have been invited to exhibit during this years show including the Rochester Area Fiber Artists (RAFA), an eclectic group of textile divas from Rocheser, New York, who work in many techniques, but are keen to use fiber as their media of choice. The Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) will display contemporary work that explores and expresses aesthetic concerns common to the whole range of visual arts. The Mohawk Valley Embroider’s Guild of America will present  brilliant needlework composed of a wide array of techniques and styles from traditional needlework to contemporary designs and methods. The North Country Chapter American Needlepoint Guild  is sure to increase your appreciation and interest through the fine works that they will display . Paintings from Syracuse artist, Dan Bacich are sure to create a dialog as they hang beside the array of quilts.  

“Moonlit Evergreens” is a beautiful work by Kris Gregson Moss. Her materials are varied and include cotton, dressmaker fabric, felt, yarns, trims, beads, and wood. She says that “Moonlit Evergreens is what I imagine might be seen at night in the Adirondacks. Experimenting with triangular shapes creates trees and quilting in the background. The variety of materials and techniques culminating with being hung from an apple stick is indicative of the fun in my art work.”               

Nancy DiDonato , of Diamond Point, NY created this stained glass inspired piece, “Entwined”. Nancy purchased a book, “Creating with Stained Glass” that featured the work of artists Tom Adolph. Instead of becoming a stained glass artists she applied the techniques using her skills in quilting. She used batik fabrics as “glass”, multiple layers of machine satin stitching to represent the leading, and iridescent sheer background fabric to represent the luminosity of sunlight. The end result is a piece that has allure of stained glass, but the warm, and tactile nature of a quilt. 

Dan Bacich Artists Statement:
While quilters have frequently drawn inspiration from the work of painters, I believe my paintings provide ample proof that the reverse is true as well.  There are many common“threads”: the eclectic palette of patterns and colors, the subtle geometry of composition, the meticulous eye for detail and the careful hand wrought execution to name just a few.  I am grateful to Michele deCamp for first suggesting the exhibition opportunity and to Barbara Getty for having the artistic insight to recognize the merit of the pairing. It is both an honor and a privilege to celebrate my favorite season in an Adirondack setting.

to learn more about Dan Bacich visit

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Plein Air Paint Out Reflections from volunteer and Committee member Ken Thibado

Last Saturday, I relieved Joan Spring from her chilly post at The  

Green Bridge.  I actually didn't recognize her, she was stored so  

deeply in her hooded winter jacket.  Joan had volunteered to stand at- 

the-ready to inform the public about the artists The Arts Center had  

invited to Old Forge for the weekend.  Guide book in hand, and an  

improvised schpeel about the auction silently rehearsing itself, I now  

tucked myself into tweed, and stood at the ready.

Joan pointed out Ingrid Van Slyke, working away at her easel, and  

mentioned that another artist was parked at the other end of the  

bridge.  Without haste, Joan then made a break for her vehicle and  

escaped into the cold morning, no doubt with the heater pinned on high.

I introduced myself to Ingrid and couldn't help but notice that she

was visibly freezing.  Ingrid forced a frozen smile and returned her  

focus to the pastel landscape in front of her.  Eventually Sandy  

Hildreth carried her easel, filled with oil paints, and positioned  

herself next to Ingrid.  As an excuse of chivalry, I offered to get  

the girls warm coffee and a snack from Artist Headquarters, at  

Niccolls Memorial Church.  Both refused, and being only a gilded  

gentleman I deserted them to track down a coffee and bagel.

Upon my return it was apparent Ingrid was nearing completion on what

turned out to be her second pastel of the morning.  In the meantime  

Sandy had laid down her entire background; gray skies, dark blue  

water, and burnt orange foliage.  I, for my part, picked up wind-blown  

Plein Air guidebooks with Lexi (the yellow lab from down the street).

Around one-thirty Ingrid packed up her pastels, promised to return  

once she was warmed through, and headed to Niccolls to frame up her  

landscapes.  Sandy began to correct her painting to match the now  

brighter circumstances of the warming day.  I ate part of my bagel.   

Lexi stared at me while I ate.

Throughout the day we continued like this.  Sandy maneuvered through

a changing scene.  Lexi was loaded into a car and returned to her  

home.  At one point Sandy's paint pan was absconded by the wind and we  

scraped up oil paint from the road surface.   People walked and drove  

by.  I stumbled through my Plein Air schpeel numerous times (never  

saying it the same way twice no matter how hard I tried).  I picked up  

more wind-blown brochures.  Ingrid Van Slyke returned, as did Lexi.  

By the end of day both artists were no longer standing.  The wind  

which had toyed with the artists earlier, now had knocked them to the  

ground.  Sandy Hildreth had folded up the legs of her easel and was  

crouched diligently before her painting.  Ingrid Van Slyke on the  

other hand was kneeling, almost in fetal position, over her last  

pastel landscape of the day.  Visibly suffering, it appeared that as  

though she was using the guardrail to break the force and bite of the  

wind.  Oncoming traffic steered around her position, and without  

seeming to take notice of them she'd turn her head to glance out at  

the Moose River.

Sandy's painting was sober and beautiful, not a bad compliment to


an afternoon that had treated her so grimly.  Later on, Sandy Hildreth  

would frame that painting in gold and donate it to the Arts Center  

auction that signified the end of this year's Plein Air Event.  It  

would be among one of the highest earners in the auction.  She smiled  

Sunday night as an auctioneer coaxed the assembled crowd to bid higher  

and higher, reminding them that it was selling for well below its value.

In the end The Plein Air Artists raised over ten thousand dollars


The Arts Guild of Old Forge.  McCauley Mountain played excellent host  

to the very successful event, as did Niccolls Memorial Church, and The  

Old Forge Fire Hall.  Artists, volunteers and staff spent the late  

evening of Sunday plotting out the second annual event over soup and  


It's easy to wax poetic over artists battling changing light, or  

embattled organizations raising enough support to survive, or  

supportive volunteers pitching in to pull off the unpredictable.   

However, it's important to remember.

We have arbitrary concerns, differing viewpoints, and very real  

carnage that dip and dive into our individual lives.  Regardless of  

what else happened in October of Two-Thousand and Nine, Old Forge was  

subject to something only slightly less ancient than our existence.   

It was recorded visually by artists.  That, as it turns out, is no  

small deed.

I'll never forget Ingrid Van Slyke, hunkered against foul wind and  

oncoming traffic.  Her tiny frame desperate to escape to a heated  

interior, while her stoic artistic pride refused to surrender.   

However, remembering that day has been made easy for me.  My wife, a  

new patron of the arts, Sabrina Thibado, bid on and won Ingrid's last  

pastel from Saturday, October Tenth, Two-Thousand and Nine.

Plein Air Reporter,

Ken Thibado.

Reflections on the Plein Air Paint Out from Nancy Ness, Participating Artist

It seemed like a good idea when I signed up for the plein air paint out at the Old Forge Art Center. As the time approached, my negative imagination took hold. Suppose it's cold and rainy; what if it's windy; will the art sell given this poor economy; will people peer over my shoulder, talk and make me crazy; will I fail to do something decent; will...

So, it was a bit rainy and cold but I found a great spot under the overhang at the golf club. The golfers were curious, friendly but way more interested in playing golf then watching me. My pastel turned out ok and actually sold. Most of all, it made sense to me to support the arts especially given this economy. After all, galleries and art centers work hand and hand with us artists.

The morning of the Paint Out, my husband ordered me to have fun. Somewhere on the drive up, I deciding to follow his order and did.

Nancy Ness

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Reflections on the Oct. 20009 Old Forge Plein Air/Paint Out

by Loretta Lepkowski


Wow!  I think the Old Forge Plein Air/Paint Out this past weekend (Oct. 3 &4) went well despite the finicky weather.  Invited Artists registered at the Fire Hall’s meeting room where they also got a bit of breakfast and packed their lunches. An artist gift bag was included along with a copy of the Guild booklet.  They arrived individually or in small groups from Utica, Syracuse, Rochester, Lake Placid and other local areas.  What fun meeting one another and chatting with such wonderful artists!  The artists spread out in five different locations in Old Forge area including McCauley Mt.  Equipped with their easels and paint supplies, they set up to capture the colorful fall scenes outside in public view. I was humbled to be in the presence of such celebrated and capable artists like Drayton Jones , Giorgina Talarico, Debra Burrington, Martin Scoville, Milton Franson and others I missed seeing painting on site

I managed to produce two small paintings -  one on Saturday, of an older gentleman reading while sitting in my lawn chair with the background of the Moose River and fall foliage. I happened upon him and liked his hat and coaxed him to pose for me. This was painted in a loose style, as I was concerned that he was getting chilled. (I’m still trying to learn how to paint people and he was kind to sit for me).  Later, I learned that he was a strong supporter of the Arts Center.  On Sunday, I arrived by noon after the morning rain.   Some of my relatives form Syracuse came to Old Forge.  After meeting them at the Arts Center where they took in the National Watercolor Show and introducing them to staff, volunteers and artists;  I had 2 hours left to paint.  In a panic, I tried to think of something or somewhere to paint and pulled in the Enchanted Forest parking lot.   I was happy to find a spot behind the ticket booth to set up my easel and proceeded to quickly paint an old friend, Paul Bunyan, surrounded by lovely colors.  It got brisk and the clouds constantly changed the lighting, but I was able to finish it in the nick of time for submission to the Arts Center by 4pm.  I titled it, “I found my Man”….

or “Paul Bunyan” -  for a bit of humor.    

            For a fun and exciting day to see beautiful art work available for purchase that has been completed in this Plein Air/Paint Out, please consider coming to McCauley Mt. On this Sunday, Oct. 11th.  The silent Auction will begin at the McCauley Mt. lodge at noon and the Live Auction will start at 5pm.  Food and music will add to the festivities.  You might also consider riding the chair lift up the Mountain for a scenic view.  Hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Plein Air Paint Out and Auction This October in Old Forge

At some point you've stopped your thoughts to take in a scene, or perhaps your thoughts were stopped by a scene.  Trees of changing color, sunlight reflecting, shade enticing.  For each person the instrument of escape is a different venue.  The rusting water tower and abandoned barns that ease my mind, are autumn leaves and sunsets for others.  We sometimes aren't aware of what our triggers are, but we all know the sensation of experiencing that pause.  That escape.  It's ancient and it's in our bones.

This October The Arts Guild of Old Forge has invited artists to bring their easels and root themselves before any number of inspirational spots.  The Old Forge Plein Air Paint Out will last for two weekends, October 3rd & 4th and 10th & 11th.  Painters will dot Old Forge and it's surroundings to lose themselves in the moment.  Creating, in dual exactitude, a landscape for us to take in as well.  Not only will artists be a facet of the Fall scenery here in the Adirondacks, but their canvases will be available via auction on October 11th.

It will be exciting, in the subtle way these things are exciting.

There will be this view, of which you've seen hundreds of times.  Sometimes you noticed, sometimes your mind was elsewhere.  But this time, you'll see an artist there and you'll agree it was a good choice.  Maybe you'll just say it to yourself, or maybe you'll compliment the painter on their selection.  Not wanting to stray too long, you'll look at that view (maybe steal a peek at the easel's contents) and realize this is a new moment you haven't had here before.  

Later on, at the McCauley Mountain chalet, while you're searching for that canvas you saw only partially completed, you'll try to recognize the landscapes of all the other paintings.  There will be wine, but also music will be pouring into the room as you search.... looking for something that tickles that part of your mind.   The silent auction will begin at noon, followed by a live auction at five in the evening.  Finger foods enough to satisfy your dinner cravings will be available. 

Come find out how easy it can be to be a patron of the arts.  It will be exciting, in the subtle way these things are exciting. 

I don't own an easel.  Plus I'm fairly certain whatever paints I had remaining are long ago dried up, and more recently disposed of.  Still, every once in awhile I'll pass an artist who has perched themselves on the edge of a scene in an attempt to capture it, and I'll feel a tinge of jealousy.  They're in the moment, working on the moment, and extending that moment both in time and into a framable existence.  While skills are involved no doubt, my envy doesn't come from knowing how good they are at painting.  It comes from knowing they are experiencing the zenith of a scene.  Hour after challenging hour is being enjoyed in the pursuit of capturing a feeling at its apex.  It's exciting, in the subtle way these things are exciting...

Ken Thibado (your plein air pal)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Plein Air Paint Out - October 3 & 4 and October 10 & 11

Auction: McCauley Mountain October 11

Silent Auction begins at 12pm; Live Auction begins at 5pm


Celebrated regional artists will be on scene to capture the beauty of the Old Forge area and its spectacular autumn landscape over the course of the first two weekends in October.


Using paint, canvas, paper and pastels artists will capture the magnificence of fall in artwork to be auctioned to benefit the Arts Guild of Old Forge.   Their methods for recording their vision will be on display as they work at easels at various sites around the community to paint their surroundings.  It is an opportunity to show the public what artists do during the painting process.


The event will culminate with an exhibition/auction at McCauley Mountain on October 11, in which everyone will have the opportunity to bid on local scenes created here during the event.  Live entertainment and hors d’oeuvres will be part of this event, which will be fun for the whole family as well as the serious or beginning art collector.


For a full list of participating artists visit us at



“As we approach the Old Forge Plein Air Paint Out, the weekends of October 3 & 4 and 10 & 11 and the Auction Event that will follow, artists are gearing up for this special event.  We thought it might be interesting for participating artists and those who will go out to watch them create to learn what the experience is like.  We asked Loretta Lepkowski, a valued member of the planning committee, as well as an artist who will paint in this event to share her thoughts on Paint Outs she has been involved in that were sponsored by other groups.  Below, Loretta shares her thoughts.  Thank you, Loretta.”


Old Forge Plein Air Paint Out Committee Chairman, Linda Weal




Experiences of a Novice Plein Air Artist

by Loretta Lepkowski


As a relative newcomer to the world of Plein Air, I experienced my initial public

Plein Air/ Paint Out events sponsored by the Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust at Trenton Falls last fall and this spring at Constable Hall.   Truthfully, I hardly slept the night before both events in nervous anticipation, wondering if I could pull it off.  Could I paint something on site, outdoors in open view of the public within a specified time frame that would be suitable for that evening’s auction? 


At Trenton Falls, we were fortunate to have a beautiful fall October day.  Another novice artist friend and I settled upon a site along the tree-lined path.  I was without an easel but utilized my borrowed lawn chair and started in with a loose sketch of two large pine trees that were joined at the base.  The curious onlookers who came to view Trenton Falls wandered by and were surprised and curious to find us painting along the trail.   


Gradually, I became more encouraged despite my ongoing concerns of my ability to paint spontaneously with my watercolors in this open setting.  I discovered that people were more polite and supportive than critical of our work. It actually became fun for me as I was socializing too.   I managed to complete two small watercolor paintings but found to my dismay that I had measured one too small for the frame I had brought.  Luckily, the “Joined  Trees”  painting got framed and subsequently, it sold at the exciting benefit auction that evening.  I felt that I had graduated into a new realm of painting that was rather unexpected and thrilling.


The Constable Hall Plein Air Paint Out event was even more challenging for me.

Not only was it in my neck of the woods where I would encounter many familiar faces; but I had recruited my son and his classmates to volunteer and wanted them to do a good job.  I felt more of the time constraints as well as the pressure to produce a painting that would interest a buyer at the auction that evening.  I set up after other artists were already painting and quickly chose to place my new portable easel near a vendor’s tent who seemed an interesting subject.  This older man wearing a weathered hat and a plaid shirt with suspenders appeared down-to-earth.  He didn’t seem to mind that I wanted to paint him and even sat a spell so I could capture him.  Lots of acquaintances and strangers meandered by and again were curious and surprised to find me and another nearby artist painting amongst the vendors.  Of course, there were comments and even suggestions but mostly encouraging words.  I nearly panicked when I noticed how the time had flown.  This time, I was better prepared.  The painting fit into my pre-made frame.   I was happy that I could donate my painting and it sold at the auction later that day.  It was amazing to see the beautiful paintings created from the all the artists, each with their individual styles.   We had been successful in helping The Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust with this unique fundraiser.


Don’t miss the upcoming Old Forge Plein Air Paint Out that will be held this October for the benefit of the Old Forge Arts Center.  Come out and cheer on us artists at various locations around Old Forge and attend the auction on October 11th to bid on your favorite paintings!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Words From Dean Mitchell of Juror of Awards and Invitational Exhibitor

The 28th Annual Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors will be open August 22 - October 4 2009. Our Juror of Awards Dean Mitchell, AWS, NWS wrote the following about the show.

The Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors is one of the finest shows in the country today promoting the advancement of watermedia. It was an honor to serve as this year’s juror. The variety of expressions and high artistic quality in this years show is a testimony to exploration of a medium long overlooked by most museums. It is with great pride that I become a part of the Old Forge Art Center history in promoting this beautiful medium. The award judging process is never an easy task, especially with so many fine examples of excellence. The show covers realism, expressionism and pure abstraction with depth and emotional content that gives us a small glimpse into the world around us. I trust that each person who views this exhibition will come away touched beyond technique and mere familiar imagery, but moved by the creativity of some of the finest artists living today working in watercolor. I want to thank each artist who entered this year’s competition because each of you moves us closer to a more profound appreciation of the visual arts.

 Dean Mitchell, AWS, NWS Biography 

Recognized as one of the finest painters in America, Mitchell has been awarded almost every major painting award in the country.  Dean Mitchell has been called a "Virtual modern-day Vermeer," by the New York Times.  He has also been named a "Best Bet" for collectors in ARTnews by R. Crosby Kemper Jr., founder of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.  Just a few of his literally hundreds of awards are first prize at the T.H. Saunders International Artist and Watercolor Show held in London, top prize from The National Watercolor Society Show in California, the House of Heydenryk Award at the National Arts Club Annual Watercolor Exhibition, and the Art for the Parks medal for overall excellence.  Although many of his awards are for watercolor, Mitchell also works in oil, pastel, acrylic, and several other media, while painting landscapes, portraits, street scenes, and still life. He is a member of The American Watercolor Society, and The National Society of Painters in Casein and Acrylic, among others.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Words from Jeanne Dobie our Juror of Selection

 The 28th Annual Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors will be open August 22 - October 4 2009. Our Juror of Selection Jeanne Dobie, AWS, NWS wrote the following to provide insight about her selection process.

 “What does a juror look for when judging an exhibition?”


This is the question I am asked most frequently.  I believe that an artist can elevate an ordinary subject into a work of art through his or her unique vision.  This “intangible” ingredient is often called the “master’s touch”.


With that said, I searched each entry looking for the artists that conveyed thoughtful approaches or individual concepts versus a reliance upon technical ability.  An Artist’s goal should encompass more than a way to paint; it should include a way of thinking, interpreting and recreating a personal experience.


The artists I chose mixed a certain “magic” into their paintings by interacting with their works.  They were able to transmit those intangible emotions of “innocence”, “mystery”, “wind” in the sky, “decay” and “dignity”, along with stunning compositions that send chills up the spine.  With so many highly creative paintings worthy of award status in this exhibition, the importance of mastering these qualities can set an artist’s work apart from the crowd.  The most difficult task was choosing only one painting from those artists who submitted two entries, both equally superb.  In this case, the painting that contributed to the diversity of the exhibition was chosen.  For the artists not represented, I was pleased to notice several were also working with unique ideas that show future potential.  For the viewers, get ready to enjoy looking and relooking at the paintings and see what reactions you receive.


As I judge exhibitions around the country, I hear the jurors complain that artists are becoming more and more “technically” efficient, but sadly, “emotionally” deficient.  This is not true in this magnificent 2009 Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors!

Jeanne Dobie, AWS, NWS Biography

Jeanne Dobie, AWS, NWS is a nationally known watercolorist, juror, educator, and author of the bestselling book, Making Color Sing.  Her instructional DVD series features Dobie teaching a course on watercolor similar to her curriculum while serving on the faculty of Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, PA.  The American Watercolor Society, the National Watercolor Society, and the Transparent Watercolor Society of America among others have all awarded Jeanne Dobie with medals. Her paintings are represented in prominent collections and have been featured on the covers and in articles in American Artist and The Artist's Magazine, as well as in many U.S. and European publications. Among her many honors Watercolor magazine deemed her one of the “20 Great Teachers”. Dobie is a signature member of both the American and National Watercolor Societies, and a frequent juror of major national exhibitions.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Personal Perspective 

by Miriam ‘Mirnie’ Kashiwa, Director Emeriti

Visitors and part-time residents in the Adirondacks’ community value the area as a place of sanctuary where one can shed for a time life’s stresses and breathe deeply of Peace. Local folks live ‘their’ time in a scenic paradise accompanied similarly by life’s day to day stresses (that others vacation from), in order to raise families…that their children may benefit from the nearness of all the Adirondacks attributes: unique environmental beauty, opportunities for healthful outdoor pastimes, small communities where one knows neighbors, small caring schools, maintained infrastructure, convenient social services, and on.

 Residents stay and embrace the struggles believing that the benefits outweigh the hardships. However, there is more.  Many of us in this generation believe we have an obligation to plan for ways to ensure that another generation of families can thrive here.

  In changing times, what’s to say that the future will not see this community revert to ‘horrors’...a ghost town without services, schools, groceries, movie house, building

supply stores, gift shops…a beautiful town with a dried up economy? Even second homeowners could find vacationing here without local services inconvenient.

  After more than fifty years of existence, The Arts Guild in 2006 spearheaded a community effort to create a ‘Legacy of Learning’ for the region within a cultural complex: recreational-education non-invasive to the NY State mandate that ‘the Adirondacks Park remain ‘forever wild’.

 Demonstrating the kinship between the arts and sciences sprang from an idea of 58 years in observation and action. The undertaking would follow sound ecological principles in construction and land use: a green building with surrounding natural landscape… considered a demonstration project for alternative energy with low toxic emissions, recycled materials, natural materials, one which would honor the planet and even be emulated by other rural communities.

 Now, 70% toward completion, the building stands ready to move forward: exterior siding, recycled-tire and metal roofs, windows all in place, generator operational, shell poised for the next round of enthusiastic investor participation noting the natural  environmental locus and rationale of the vision: government and others agreeing with science that GREEN construction matters and in an age eager for information, the arts and sciences  do offer stimulating topics to consider on life’s journey at home or while traveling.

            Our 48 geothermal ‘pipes’ are ready to be connected to the utility panel; our Studio Barn roof is measured for solar panels and the two free-standing, sun-folllowing photo voltaics are awaiting an order; our state of the art storm drain system is partially in place; the Wetlands Nature Walk is marked out; the Eco Gallery to be kept current by  our future separate  and collaborating corporation, CAASA,  in its  ‘LABORATORY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES’, is on hold with all else …galleries, theater,  Pre-School Suite, teaching kitchen, resident-artist suite… as we wait to open the doors of the Main Building.

 Our Complex can be a seed for broader future educational pursuits bringing young people to the region. The trickle-down is endless: employment, new recreational and mercantile opportunities. These and more can open into that hoped for situation: that families can continue to enjoy, as we have, the luxury of raising courageous children, here, in the West Central Adirondack Mountains.

 No promoter of self interests alone. The Arts Guild is a spearhead for this important regional community work for today and tomorrow which is still compatible with the ‘Forever Wild ‘ state mandate.  Our ‘grassroots leadership’ is tireless and of the highest moral integrity. It lacks only the assistance of a magic wand to speed a complicated process  -while fielding questions by nay-sayers.

  I ask: who among the many readers of this piece have written to Congressmen, Senators, Governors, the President bringing to their attention our goals and hard work to help ourselves?  and how many, at no personal cost or gain, have mentioned to contacts and well positioned investors outside the ‘blue line’  that their investments could give positive  cultural and economic impact  to the future of an unique region?  They would serve as a force for  bringing  current trends in the arts and environmental science research to  hundreds; they would be adding their seal of approval to constructing with the  best principles of green building technology for the good of the planet ?

 The families of and visitors to the West Central Adirondack Corridor joining the Blue Mountain Museum and the Tupper Lake Wild Center as their Gateway will be the happy beneficiaries of  this enriching resource. Together we need to make this happen, soon.

 Miriam Kashiwa