Almanack Contributor Linda Peckel

Linda Peckel

Linda Peckel is an arts blogger who hits the roads in the Adirondacks each summer to follow the art. She visit the ArtsEnclave blog for more.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

August Art News From Around The Adirondacks

TFortune at ViewThere is a lot of movement in painting this summer, as painters migrate around the Adirondacks for a series of special events—and for opportunities to paint the rich landscapes around them.

Saranac Lake watercolor painter Tim Fortune led a large gathering of aficionados through the “walkabout” at the annual Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors (ANEAW) at View in Old Forge on Saturday. This is the 32nd year of the show, which has grown to be one of the most respected and best attended in the country. Artists from all across North America make summer pilgrimages to participate and to see the opening.
» Continue Reading.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors

Gordon and Mildred Evans Memorial Award WinnerIf you happen into the Adirondack Park, you might find yourself in Old Forge, but probably not. Of a variety of places off the beaten track, Old Forge is probably one of the farthest off. But come here you will, if you have any real interest in art, because this is home to the annual Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors, one of the 10 top such exhibitions in the country.

The 2012 exhibition starts officially today, with an opening last night that packed the exhibit halls of the state-of-the-art, leeds-certified venue, View, which opened just over a year ago in Old Forge, NY. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pendragon Takes "To Kill A Mockingbird" on Tour

The Pendragon Theatre Company tackles yet another American classic with their performance of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” at View in Old Forge on Thursday, March 1st at 7:00 PM—one of several touring performances by the company, following the close of their 2011 season at their home theatre in Saranac Lake.

The Pendragon Theatre secured a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts with additional funds from the Lake Placid Center for the Arts to mount an Adirondack tour of this stage adaptation by Christopher Sergal of the 1960 novel by Harper Lee. The grants allow the company to offer reduced-price tickets to schools wishing to send their classes who may be already studying this classic American novel.

This riveting story of boiling racial tension in the 1930s South as white lawyer Atticus Finch defends a black man accused of raping a white woman in a small Alabama town has as much relevance today as it did when Gregory Peck gave his 1962 academy award-winning performance. The trial takes center stage, but we share the view from the ‘colored’ balcony with Atticus’ two small children, whose innocence magnifies the ugliness of the prejudice and violence around them.

Tickets for the March 1st performance at View, located at 3273 State Rt. 28 in Old Forge, NY, are $20 for adults, $15 for members and $10 for children. For further information contact View at 315-369-6411 or visit their website at www.ViewArts.org

The tour will then go to Main Street Landing PAC: Burlington, V.T. – Friday, March 9th @ 7:30pm, and wrap the following week at the Tannery Pond Community Center: North Creek, N.Y. – Friday, March 16th. Visit the Pendragon Theatre website for more information on these and future performances.

Photo courtesy of Pendragon Theatre from their home performances of “To Kill A Mockingbird.”

Linda J. Peckel explores the Adirondacks by following the arts wherever they take her. Her general art/writing/film/photography musings on can be found at her own blog Arts Enclave.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Nature Photography in Winter: A Wild Center Workshop

Capturing the Adirondacks in winter is something that only the hardiest of hikers and Adirondack photographers do. Painters will sometimes take on the weather, but the stillness of winter is really for photographers.

The days are short, the air is cold, and the light falls in slants through the bare trees. This is the time and place that belongs to Carl Heilman, II, a photographer who has been roaming the mountains for more than three decades, producing spectacular panoramas from the frozen lakeshores to the frosted tips of the peaks.

So who better to learn from? Heilman has been leading treks through the Adirondacks as long as he has been taking photographs, and through his workshops, he has shared the secrets to his wonderous photography with others who, in their own way, help to carry on the Adirondack tradition.

On January 28th, Heilman will be teaching the photography workshop, “Nature in Winter” from 9 am – 5 pm at the Wild Center in Tupper Lake. The morning will be devoted to seminar instruction and Q&A to prepare participants for an afternoon of shooting on the Wild Center property and at nearby locations.

The Wild Center workshop is $125 to members and $138 to nonmembers for the day, and includes the free use of snowshoes. Notification of other equipment and recommended clothing will be provided upon registration. Register directly by contacting Sally Gross: sgross@wildcenter.org, (518) 359-7800, ext 116.

Photo by Carl Heilman, II.

Linda J. Peckel explores the Adirondacks by following the arts wherever they take her. Her general art/writing/film/photography musings on can be found at her own blog Arts Enclave


Thursday, December 1, 2011

An Adirondack Folk School Holiday Gift Tradition

The coming weeks will provide lots of opportunities to shop for interesting handmade items, but one opportunity you won’t want to miss is the 2nd Holiday Gift Fair at the Adirondack Folk School in Lake Luzerne this Saturday, December 3rd, from 9AM to 3PM.

The quality of the folk arts products is the best you will find anywhere, produced by the students and faculty in the Adirondack tradition. The types of articles you can find for sale include handcrafted furniture and woodworking, basketry, caning, ceramics, photography, leathercrafting, fiber arts, paintings, and so much more.

A special preview members-only event for the school’s supporters will be held on Friday, December 2nd from 7PM to 9PM showcasing the arts and crafts that will be later on sale. An individual membership starts at $25 annually. Contact the school to donate and register for this event. Donations go toward expansion and outreach efforts to make this school a success.

Opened for just over 18 months, the Adirondack Folk Art School is the first of its kind, designed to preserve an American tradition in Adirondack folk arts that is usually passed down from family to family, friend to friend. The school provides instruction in more than 20 types of crafts throughout the year at its beautiful Lake Luzerne setting with more 90 classes and workshops.

The holiday gift fair is a great opportunity to see where the traditions of Adirondack folk art live on—and to pick up a few Christmas gifts in the process. While there, you can pick up a course schedule and talk to the instructors to learn more.

Photos courtesy of Adirondack Folk School.

Linda J. Peckel explores the Adirondacks by following the arts wherever they take her. Her general art/writing/film/photography musings on can be found at her own blog Arts Enclave.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Old Forge Adirondack Photography Exhibit Opens

Nature photography is a naturally booming business in the Adirondacks, where a number of talented photographers have worked to elevate their craft to new levels. Four of the best Adirondack photographers—Nathan Farb, Mark Bowie, Nancie Battaglia, and Carl Heilman—have combined their work for a unique show, Adirondack View Finders, opening December 2nd at View in Old Forge, NY.

The View building itself is a wonderful new LEEDS-approved green venue that hosts events and workshops in a variety of arts and crafts, and offers a special home to the well developed craft of Adirondack photography.

Bowie and Heilman are both very well known in the Adirondacks and beyond for their stunning panoramic landscapes, while Battaglia has assembled an extensive portfolio of Adirondack sports and action photos and Farb brings his journalistic senses to exploring this timeless landscape. All four voices sing together in beautifully harmony to convey the majestic vision of the Adirondacks as only artists living in these mountains can.

The show also debuts new talents, including Johnathan A. Esper, Lesley Dixion, and Clark Lubbs, and features a showing of the works of the instructors at View in a special exhibit called “Teachers Turn.”

The opening reception for all of this is Friday, December 2nd from 5-7pm. On Saturday, December 3rd, Mark Bowie will present his photos and discuss techniques in “Night at North Country,” at 11:00 am. Admission to the special presentation and the entire exhibit is $10 for nonmembers and $5 for members of the View. Children under 12 are free. The show continues through March 3, 2012 for the same admission.

For more information, visit the website or call 315-369-6411.

Photos courtesy of the View at Old Forge. Above by Mark Bowie; Below by Nancie Battaglia.

Linda J. Peckel explores the Adirondacks by following the arts wherever they take her. You can read more of her general art musings (including writing, photography, film, and painting) on her blog: Arts Enclave.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Art Supports the Community in Saranac Lake

So often you hear about how the arts support a community, but what does that actually mean? In Saranac Lake, NY, the burgeoning Adirondack arts community, it means a check for $2000 from Saranac Lake ArtWorks—a collective of independent art galleries and the Adirondack Artists Guild (of 14 artists), the Pendragon Theatre, and local arts businesses working together to promote local artists—to Historic Saranac Lake.

For the third year, Saranac Lake Art Works has raised money through their annual Adirondack Plein Air Festival to give back to the community. The Adirondack Plein Air Festival, held in mid-August, has become a well-known event in the Adirondack region, drawing artists from all over the east coast.For 4 days, artists can be seen at their easels all over the countryside, and for one of those days, they Paint the Town, in miniature, using 5×7 canvasses that are exhibited at the end of the day for a silent auction. The artists each donate one of their paintings to ArtWorks, and the proceeds are used to support other organizations in Saranac Lake.

Each year, the amount has grown, starting with $1000 raised in 2009 for the Saranac Lake Young Arts Association. In 2010, they gave $1200 to help BluSeed Studios, and this year they brought in $2000 for Historic Saranac Lake for their attention to documenting the history of the cure cottage architecture unique to this town.

Throughout the year, Saranac Lake ArtWorks continues to promote local artists and to hold events that bring tourists up to their little village on Lake Flower. In December they will be holding the Art for Under $100 Sale, which provides the unique opportunity to purchase valuable artwork from the local talent at a very good price.

Photos: Above; a painting donated by Sandra Hildreth for the 2011 Paint the Town event.

Linda J. Peckel explores the Adirondacks by following the arts wherever they take her. Her general art/writing/film/photography musings on can be found at her blog Arts Enclave.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Adirondack Arts: The Hills Are Alive…

There’s nothing quite like music in the mountains. This weekend the ever-ecclectic BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake offers up two bands with very different pedigrees that each swing to their own beat. First, on Saturday, October 22nd, local septet Crackin’ Foxy serves up three-part harmonies over a ukulele background for a vaudeville show dating back to the 20s and 40s. And on Sunday things take a jazzy turn with gifted pianist Larry Ham leading the Larry Ham trio.

Ham has been performing since the late 1980s, having started his musical journey with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra and the Illinois Jacquet Big Band. Throughout his 3 decade career, Ham has played with jazz legends such as Junior Cook and Dakota Staton, and most frequently, as the leader of the trio. He was quite literally Jazz Ambassador for the State Department, bringing jazz to undeveloped countries in the early 2000s, after which he toured the US, Russia, Greece and Italy as pianist and director of the U.S. Tapdance Festival.

Ham has performed his music around the world, touring frequently, and has made appearances on NPR and the Today Show, and even performed at the White House for President Ronald Reagan. And on Sunday, October 23, 2011, Larry Ham returns to BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake, with Bill Moring on bass and Graham Hawthorne on drums, for a special concert to benefit Keene Valley Flood Relief. As he has done at several venues this past year, Ham is donating 50% of the proceeds.

An accomplished composer, in 2007, Ham released his first jazz CD with his trio, Carousel, featuring seven original compositions in addition to five standards. His first solo effort, Just Me, Just You, followed in 2008. Despite a clever swing approach, jazz purists will still enjoy Ham’s easy style and his obvious reverence for traditional jazz lines.

You can look forward to hearing the distinctive renditions of the Larry Ham trio live at BluSeed Studios Sunday at 7pm for $15 admission. Tickets for the Saturday Crackin’ Foxy show (7:30pm) are $14.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Two Local Museums Receive a Surprise Windfall

The Adirondacks are unique in many ways, not the least of which is the kinds of museums that emerge there. In 1957, the Adirondack Museum first opened at Blue Mountain Lake, graced with a spectacular vantage point on the lake below, and a mission to provide the narrative history of the Adirondacks through its art and artifacts.

In July of 2006, the Wild Center opened in Tupper Lake, with innovative design and exhibits that integrate the science and beauty of nature in one place. The Wild Center, billed as the “natural history museum of the Adirondacks” has been extremely successful since opening, and continues to add exciting new exhibits each year.

And in a truly inspiring stroke of recent good fortune (or maybe just good karma), these two museums were each bequested $2.4M from the estate of the late LiLinda Kent Vaughan, a member of both museums, and a long-time summer resident of Long Lake. Coming at a time when many museum funding sources have run dry, these generous gifts present an especially welcome and much-needed boost to the museums’ futures.

Dr. Vaughan was a Professor Emerita of the Department of Physical Education and Athletics at Wellesley College in Wellesley Ma, where she had led the department from 1973 to 1990 as chairperson and director. She held both B.S. and M.A. degrees from Russell Sage College, where she received the Aldrich Award for Proficiency in Sports. and received her Ph.D. in Physical Education from Ohio State University.

Throughout her distinguished career, Dr. Vaughan wrote numerous papers in her main field of sports psychology, and in 1970 co-authored the book (with Richard Hale Stratton) Canoeing and Sailing, a second version of which was published In 1985. Her appreciation for the wildlife in the Adirondacks and her love of the sporting opportunities also led her to develop an understanding of the environmental issues in the region.

An avid photographer in her spare time, Dr. Vaughan traveled extensively throughout the world photographing nature, and held a one-woman show at the Blue Mountain Center of wildlife captured on trips to Africa, Alaska and Antarctica. In a fitting culmination to her many lifetime accomplishments, the work of Dr. Vaughan lives on through the legacy she leaves to the two museums she supported in life.

Together, the Adirondack Museum and the Wild Center are instrumental in promoting the need for environmental protection of one of the last truly untouched frontiers in America. And they’re just plain fun to visit. Make sure to plan your next trip soon.

Photos: Above, view of Blue Mountain Lake from the cafe of the Adirondack Museum (photo by Linda Peckel); below, Trout Stream in the Hall of the Adirondacks at the Wild Center, and View of the Wild Center (Courtesy Wild Center).


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wrap Up Summer With Jazz in Lake George

Adirondack summers end with a bang—or in this case, a biddle-de-bop. You have one more weekend to enjoy the biggest event of the Lake George Arts Project’s free summer concert series: Jazz at the Lake — two full days and a night of hot sounds by the lakeshore.

Head to Shepard’s Park (Canada Street) on Saturday, Sept 17th for a set of hot Cuban jazz infused with African rhythms with the Osmany Paredes Quartet, starting at 1PM. Stick around for some jazz saxophone with John Ellis, backed by the New Orleans sounds of Double Wide. And rounding up the afternoon is the Grace Kelly Quintet, featuring the brilliantly nuanced vocals and sultry saxophone of the 19-year-old Grace, who has been hailed by Wynton Marsalis as a “first-class jazz musician.” The day performances end at 6PM, leaving you time for dinner and a little fun in Lake George Village (at the arcades, mini-golf, or shopping) before returning for the evening set at 7:30PM.

And do return for the Don Byron New Gospel Quintet, a marvelous mix of different genres from r&b to classical with a jazz undertone. Don Byron plays clarinet and sax to his own compositions and arrangements, which have garnered raves from audiences around the world.

The Sunday (Sept 18th) program opens again at 1PM (closing at 6PM) with the classic jazz stylings of prodigy pianist Charles Cornell with his quartet. There’s more jazz sax to follow with Rudresh Mahanthappa & Bunky Green, and wrapping out the weekend is Kyle Eastwood (eldest son of Clint) whose many original compositions include the scores to his father’s films, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, and Grand Torino, among others.

The performances will all be held rain or shine—the designated setting is Shepard Park Pavillion, but in case of rain, it moves to Lake George High School, both on Canada Street in LG Village.

Lake George Jazz Weekend is a free outdoor concert program offered through the generous support the New York State Council on the Arts, the town and village of Lake George, and Kenneth and Susan Gruskin. The LG Jazz Weekend has been a hit every year since it first started in 1984. This program is the biggest and best of the summer season, and is sure to leave you pining for next year—all you have to do is show up!

And to keep this wonderful series alive for future years, you might consider becoming a member of the Lake George Arts Project


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Summer Serenades at Sembrich Opera House

Music and mountains seem to go together—and there are plenty of places to find it. One of the special secrets of Bolton Landing on Lake George is the Marcella Sembrich Opera House Museum, which this Saturday will be featuring a vocal recital with mezzo-soprano Lucille Beer as one event in their ongoing summer concert series. Ms. Beer will be singing various pieces from composers such as Mahler, Copeland, Brahms, and Debussy, accompanied by Michael Clement on piano.

The historic Sembrich Museum is a living tribute to the large and colorful life of opera singer Marcella Sembrich, who spent the latter part of her life in Bolton Landing, teaching voice students at the studio that is still part of the property. At twenty-five she debuted at the Metropolitan Opera, embarking on a long and successful career. Her travels took her around the world where her eye for impressionist paintings and other artworks helped her collection grow impressively. Those, along with mementos and memorabilia of a unique life form the basis of this wonderful place to visit.

But if all this isn’t enough to convince you, then you simply must go to just to step back in time and enjoy one of the finest views of Lake George available, as it must have been a hundred years ago.

Tickets for the Lucille Beer recital are $20. Other concerts rounding out the last weeks of the season include “An Evening with the Hyperion String Quartet,” on Saturday August 27th ($25), and a recital on Saturday, September 3rd by pianist Thomas Pandolfi, playing music by Liszt, Scriabin, Chopin, and Gershwin ($25).

For more information, call Faith Bouchard at 518-644-2431, or visit the Sembrich’s website.

Photo: Marcella Sembrich in the 1880s.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

‘Watercolor Encounters’ Opens at Lake Placid Center for the Arts

Tim Fortune explores the natural world with delicacy combined with a hungry appreciation for the minor miracles we walk past every day. His work astonishes the senses with its simplicity and grace, and offers up a feeling of awe that resonates long past your first peek into Fortune’s world, splayed out in glorious, wall-sized watercolors.

His upcoming one-man show at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts (LPCA) at 17 Algonquin Drive in Lake Placid, “Watercolor Encounters” opens on Friday, August 12th with an artist’s reception from 5-7PM. The show, which continues there until September 17th, includes more than a dozen of the large scale watercolors―along with another 20 midsized works―that reflect a uniquely gentle view of the natural world, Fortune style.

These days, Fortune works almost exclusively in watercolor, painting the simple elements of life on a scale that defies you to try to walk past it without having to stop and stare. Using a delicate and refined approach, he turns an analytical eye on the finest details, exposing the complexity of even simple subjects like rocks under water with tremendous skill. “I like the idea of fractals,” he says, “of breaking up nature, almost like a puzzle.” His studies include wild roses, impressions of tree branches in winter, leaves in fall, and several of his marvelous examinations of water in motion. His Adirondack vantage points are uniquely personal and beautiful.

It’s been many years since Fortune has mounted a solo show of this magnitude, and the combined impact of so many of his ingenious large works is a rare treat. For more information, go to the LPCA website, or visit the Fortune Studio at 76 Main Street in Saranac Lake, NY.

Photo: Top, Green Frog; Below, Fallen Pine both by Tim Fortune.

Linda J. Peckel explores the Adirondacks by following the arts wherever they take her. Her general art/writing/film/photography musings on can be found at her own blog Arts Enclave.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Art and Photography: Saranac Lake ArtWalks

On July 8th, Mark Kurtz celebrated the Grand Opening of his new photography shop and studio at its new location, 82 Main Street in Saranac Lake, just in time for the 3rd Thursday ArtWalks that have a become such a popular summer tradition in Saranac Lake. This will be the second in a series of four this summer. And the next one is this Thursday, July 21st.

Kurtz has been a fixture in Saranac Lake for many years, where his uncluttered approach to scenic photography captures the imaginations of many visitors. His shop was originally further down Main Street, and now he can be found just a few doors down from Small Fortune Studio (at 76 Main) and the Adirondack Artists Guild (at 52 Main), two of the lynchpins of the ArtWalks events.

Some 26 artists and photographers participate in the self-guided tour that runs from 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM. Start at any venue and do the in-town loop, and then hop in the car to visit some of the outlying venues like BluSeed Studios, where an interesting multidimensional sculpture exhibit opened earlier this month, featuring Ali Della Bitta and Native American inspired art by William J. Grant. There’s also the always hip Gallery 7444, featuring the works of artist, Sandy McDonald.

Kurtz has his own special exhibit of some of his clean architectural shots, his panoramic landscapes, and small themed collections of his best work, which offers a tremendous sense of form and movement. Long an advocate of the huge range offered by tradional darkroom work, Kurtz has recently begun working as often using digital processing techniques as well to create his stunning large prints. His connection to the Adirondacks and to the art community of Saranac Lake give his work a unique sense of integration of human and natural forms—so start your tour at his new photography studio to see it in person. This month, the Mark Kurtz studio also features the work of local painter, Matt Burnett.

The ArtWalks are great fun, with music, plenty of good food from local restaurants and a real sense of community. The artists will all share stories with you, and you will certainly want to return to the village by Lake Flower, Saranac Lake.

Ample parking is available on the streets as well as in lots off of Dorsey St. and between Broadway and Church Streets.

Photos courtesy Mark Kurtz Photography.

Linda J. Peckel explores the Adirondacks by following the arts wherever they take her. Her general art/writing/film/photography musings on can be found at her blog Arts Enclave.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Wild Adirondacks, Pioneered by Painters

Yes, you read it right. We have artists to thank for bringing us to the Adirondacks. At least, that’s what the Adirondack Museum suggests, with a new exhibit of paintings by Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait.

Maybe the name isn’t familiar, but the paintings certainly are, since Tait was the most popular painter to have his Adirondack paintings published by lithographers Currier and Ives.

Already successful in New York City for his extraordinarily realistic paintings of wildlife, the Currier and Ives exposure made him nationally famous, and drew attention to the Northeast Wilderness so close to New York and Boston.

Born in England in 1819, Tait was just over 30 when he relocated to New York City and not long after became enamored of the Adirondacks. He summered at a shanty near Raquette Lake painting sporting scenes amongst the lush landscapes that were to become some of his best-known works. Paintings such as “A Good Time Coming” (1862) featured the artist, two guides and a friend from Brooklyn enjoying the day’s catch around a campfire, while the dogs stand by. Hunting and canoe fishing were often depicted, but he also painted a number of nature “portraits” of bears, beavers, and quite a few farm animals in stunning detail.

Tait’s eye for detail is evident in every one of the more than 50 paintings exhibited, 38 of which are part of the Adirondack Museum’s permanent collection. Many of his works are part of our national consciousness, and to see them in person not only recalls a déjà vu kind of feeling, but it also helps to connect us to the fairly recent history of this region.

Well worth the trip to Blue Mountain Lake on State Rte 30, try not to miss this exhibit, which goes through October 17, 2011. The ADK Museum is a full-day event, with plenty of other exhibits, and a really nice café with a great view of the lake itself. Museum admission is $18 for adults, $16 seniors and $12 students. Take a look at the visitor’s guide here.

Along with ornithologist and painter John James Audubon, A. F. Tait will be featured in a special lecture by David Wagner, author of American Wildlife Art, at the Adirondack Museum on Monday, August 15, 2011, from 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM.

Illustration: Above, “A Good Time Coming,” 1862, by Arthur Fitzwilliam Tait. Courtesy the Adirondack Museum.

Linda J. Peckel explores the Adirondacks by following the arts wherever they take her. Her general art/writing/film/photography musings on can be found at her own blog Arts Enclave.