Thursday, February 5, 2015

TR, T-Rex, Art And More At Paul Smith’s VIC

bullard_barnumbrookStrikingly beautiful photographs, expressive but realistic paintings of dinosaurs in lush green landscapes, a “Touch Table”, live music Sunday afternoons from 1 – 3, and 25 miles of groomed ski trails….. this is the Paul Smith’s College VIC.

It’s really pretty cool to be able to come to a place that offers so much. The current New Moon Art Exhibit consists of photographs by Jim Bullard, of Potsdam, and paintings by Meg Bernstein of Saranac Lake, where she is a member of the Adirondack Artists Guild Gallery. Both artists have a lifetime of experience behind them, but continue to explore, invent, and create new things.

All of Jim’s photographs are archival prints that have been digitally altered. The first group of black and white photos have been altered in traditional ways, much like earlier photographers did in the darkroom. The color photos however have been altered with transparent filter layers that will be very apparent. Some of the images may even appear to be paintings, but Jim feels they remain and always will be photographs. Buttermilk Falls, Deer Brook, Connery Pond, and Barnum Brook are among the subject matter.

bernstein_dinosaurMeg’s paintings will illustrate just a small fraction of her varied interests, yet will entertain the viewer with their variety. Mixed in among Jim’s black and white photos are some of Meg’s watercolors – impressionistic, misty, moody views. On the next wall are the acrylic paintings of mushrooms with names like Brick Top, Puffball, Honey Mushroom, Russula and Slippery Jack. On the main wall in the Great Room are the dinosaurs and Meg clearly had fun painting these ancient creatures. Most appear to be in tropical environments, but everyone once in awhile one will get a glimpse of a towering white pine or a distant peak that might look familiar.

Besides the monthly art exhibits, the VIC also offers a variety of programs – the Teddy Roosevelt Winter Birding Series, Wildlife Signs and Tracks, and you can even adopt a Sugar Maple and watch the maple sugaring operation as it starts up later in the season. A Winter Pass is required of all VIC trail users, and skis or snowshoes are necessary. There are over 25 miles of groomed trails, including one specifically for skate-skiing. You can ski as long a route as desired simply by adding different loop trails together. Call for current trail conditions, 518-327-6241. There’s a Birch Bark Basket workshop coming up, Snowshoe races, a local foods potluck and discussion and the Chili Ski Fest in February. Visit the VIC web site to find out more about all these events.

Like many places in the Adirondacks, the VIC finds ways to combine the arts, science, history, wellness and recreation to provide wonderful experiences for visitors, in all four seasons.

Illustrations: Above, Jim Bullard’s “Bridge on the Barnum Brook Trail”; and below, Meg Bernstein’s “Chasmosaurus”.


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Sandra Hildreth, who writes regularly about Adirondack arts and culture, grew up in rural Wisconsin and is a retired high school art teacher. She lives in Saranac Lake where she was spends much of her time hiking, paddling, skiing, and painting. Today, Sandy can often be found outdoors Plein air painting - working directly from nature, and is an exhibiting member of the Adirondack Artists' Guild in Saranac Lake. She is also active in Saranac Lake ArtWorks. Sandy’s work can be seen on her website

One Response

  1. Ed Zahniser says:

    So good to see coverage of contemporary arts, thanks to Paul Smith’s VC for hosting them and to Sandy for bringing them to the Almanack. Meg Bernstein’s “Chasmosaurus” might be sub-speciated — or whatever you call it — as Orthodontisaurus. As I understand it, birds are dinosaur descendants, which probably explains why birding is humans’ most popular outdoor activity.