Remember playing with chalk on the sidewalk? Well, if you want to see the very opposite of that, head over to the Lake Placid Center for the Arts for a wonderful show of pastel paintings. “A Convergence of Pastel”, featuring the works of a dozen nationally recognized artists, will only be on display until September 18. Local artists featured are Diane Leifheit, Linda Sweeney, Joyce Hanson and Ingrid Van Slyke.
It is everything but soft, fuzzy chalk drawings. There are impeccably detailed still life arrangements, exquisite portraits, landscapes of soft subtle colors as well as brilliant flashes of color, abstracts, florals, more figurative paintings, and plein air work. Having never used pastels myself, that is “real” pastels – pure pigment shaped into chalk-like sticks, I really don’t know how they work. I don’t know how the artists keep from smudging them, or how they blow off the accumulated dust. How they keep straight which color is which when they don’t have any labels or wrappers like our old-fashioned Crayola crayons did. I’d like to know how they get crisp, straight edges and even how they might erase or fix a mistake. I will likely stick to my paint brushes, as I do know how to use them. But this is a show that is well worth going to see – it will change forever your impressions of what can be done with pastels when you see the work of master artists.
Several of the artists in the pastel show also took part in the Adirondack Plein Air Festival, which was held in Saranac Lake, Aug 15-20. An amazing group of 66 artists, with some coming from as far away as California and Florida, all learned to paint the many moods of Adirondack weather. Grey skies and rain to bright blue skies and temperatures approaching 90 helped produce a wide range of outstanding works. Most of the plein air artists are oil painters, but there are also watercolor, pastel, and acrylic painters too. A new addition to the Festival this year was a “Nocturne Contest”, sponsored by the NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery, and a “Best Painting of Lake Placid” Award, sponsored by the Lake Placid Center for the Arts. Both resulted in a whole batch of new and interesting paintings of nighttime and street scenes, in addition to the normal abundance of scenic Adirondack landscapes. George Van Hook, of Cambridge, NY, won the 1st place Award, valued at over $2000. All the prize winners can be seen here. Many thanks to all our Award Sponsors.
The “Paint the Town” Silent Auction raised almost $4000 from which Saranac Lake ArtWorks will make a donation to the Saranac Lake Central School District Art Program. The Plein Air Festival Show & Sale in the Town Hall at the close of the event was full of exemplary paintings. In total, 110 paintings were sold!
There are a number of new exhibits coming up in September in the Saranac Lake area. The “grand dame” of contemporary art in the Adirondacks, Ursula Wyatt Trudeau, will be the featured artist at the Adirondack Artists Guild Gallery. This will be a show mostly of her paintings done in the Virgin Islands. The opening reception will be Friday Sept 2, from 5 – 7 pm. At nearby NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery, two of the members are teaming up for a show entitled “At the Water’s Edge”. It will feature Susan Whiteman, another pastel artist, and Lee Ann Sporn, working with pencil and paints. That reception is also Sept 2, from 5 – 7 pm. Almost next door to NorthWind is Cris Winters studio/gallery Art at the Pink House. She has hosted a fiber art juried show and offered a number of really cool workshops. Check her schedule to see what’s coming up. )
BluSeed Studios is showing “Paper, Ink, Metal & Clay: Materials to Masterpieces”, until Sept 10. It is showcasing BluSeed workshop instructions. A myriad of high quality art and creative workshops have been and will be offered, in a wide range of artistic media including ceramics, printmaking, papermaking, pulp painting, enameling, and painting. Check their website to see what’s next.
The Paul Smith’s College VIC will be hosting it’s 2nd Photography “Shoot-Out”. A number of regional photographers will be out at the VIC shooting photos over Labor Day weekend, and then will frame up the best for an exhibit that will be up the rest of the month. It’s very similar to a plein air painting event in that the photographers have to make do with whatever conditions they encounter. The results are usually outstanding.
Coming next at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, after the pastel show closes, will be their annual Juried Art Show. Details are available on their website.
There will be one more 3rd Thursday ArtWalk in Saranac Lake, from 5 – 7:30 on September 15. As usual, the shops and galleries will be open, artists will have displays set up on the sidewalks, and there will be live music at many different venues.
At the end of September, Saranac Lake ArtWorks will host the first Artist at Work Studio Tour of the year. Fourteen or more artists will open their home studios, or bring their work and materials and set up at one of the galleries to demonstrate on Friday Sept 30, Saturday Oct 1 and Sunday Oct 2. It’s important to check the schedules that will be made available at all the area galleries to find out which artists are open which days. A second Studio Tour will be held on Nov 11-12-13, just in time for the start of holiday shopping, with a different combination of fourteen or more artists participating. The entire schedule and lists of artists can be found on the ArtWorks website.
If the visual arts aren’t enough, remember there’s Pendragon Theatre, with an encore of “Art”, Aug 30, 31, and Sept 1 and then the “Glass Menagerie” on a number of different days both in Saranac Lake and touring. The Lake Placid Center for the Arts has a full schedule of live concerts, performances, and video productions, the Manhattan Short Film Festival and Pendragon touring with “The Glass Menagerie” at the end of the month.
Last but not least – Hobofest is Labor Day Sunday. A free, all-day live music festival in Riverside Park in Saranac Lake. Click here for all the information.
Photos: A Convergence of Pastel, postcard George Van Hook, and winner of the Adirondack Plein Air Festival, courtesy Lisa Kilby Studio Tour graphic.