Sunday, July 3, 2022

NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery July Exhibit Features Catherine Hartung and Damon Hartman

by Susan Whiteman 

NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery members Catherine Hartung and Damon Hartman are having a dual featured show during the month of July. The exhibit, “Turning Color,” opened on Friday, July 1 at 85 Main Street in Saranac Lake.

Catherine went to school for fine art, worked as a graphic artist, and currently creates distinctive, colorful paintings in acrylic and watercolor.  She has been a member of NorthWind since 2013.

Damon, who is a forester and woodturner, joined the gallery last year.  They were immediately drawn to one another’s work. When Catherine asked Damon if he’d like to have an exhibit with her, he immediately said yes and notes, “I think we are both connected to the forest.”

The feeling was mutual.

“I think that all of Damon’s wood working is another way the trees tell a story,” Catherine added. “That thought was behind my initial inspiration to collaborate with Damon. I felt like we were both telling the trees’ story.”

Damon is a forester by day, and uses his knowledge of wood to create incredible platters, vases, and bowls in contemporary and classic styles.

“Trees are very unique and the character of the wood is the thing that makes me choose what to create,” Damon said.

His inspiration is “Character of the medium and form of the vessel.”

“My carving begins as a total focus on the character of the wood and my ideas, then evolves into the form the piece will take,” Damon said. “For instance, a bowl should have a certain form, balanced or unbalanced rim, and I like the natural rule of thirds for vases or hollow forms.”

He strives to create pieces that are unique.

Damon Hartman bowl. Photo provided by Susan Whiteman, President of the NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery.

Damon Hartman vase. Photo provided by Susan Whiteman, President of the NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery.

Catherine is an advocate for bees, butterflies, and for creating healthy, sustainable yards.  Her passion spills over to her paintings, and this year her focus turned to trees.

“I’m inspired by trees, both the forest as a whole and by individual trees,” Catherine said. “I feel like they all have a story that they want to tell. My painting ‘Birch Dancer’ was inspired by an older birch tree growing in very tough conditions on the top of a mountain. It looked like a dancer reaching for the sky. I tried to capture its story. When I was thinking about collaborating with Damon, the first few paintings I did were focused just on trees. Then I did a painting of trees and a field and mountains, and I kept going with other non-tree imagery, but all of the paintings were inspired by my connection to nature and how it influenced me. The painting ‘A Sign of Spring’ was inspired by the way it feels when the birds come back and everything is getting ready to be green, but isn’t yet. ‘Wildflowers’ is about the joy of color and shape found in the field.”

“Wildflowers” painting by Catherine Hartung. Photo provided by Susan Whiteman, President of the NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery.

“Birch Dancer” painting by Catherine Hartung. Photo provided by Susan Whiteman, President of the NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery.

Catherine has won awards and been accepted into many juried shows in the area, and has various solo exhibitions including one in the Cooperstown, Art Association, in Cooperstown, NY.

Damon came in second at the 2022 Totally Turning Symposium in Saratoga, NY for a platter he entered and has been selected into the 87th Annual National Exhibition of the Cooperstown Art Association.

As the artists reflect on their exhibit, Damon said he hopes people will notice the uniqueness of his pieces, and the synergy between him and Catherine.  Catherine hopes the takeaway will be that their interpretations will open up a different way of looking at what surrounds us.

Read more about Damon and his creations here:

For more information about Catherine and her work visit:

About NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery:

NorthWind Fine Arts is a cooperative gallery in Saranac Lake, NY, and is located at 85 Main Street in Saranac Lake. The gallery has been in business since 2011, and represents 10 area artists.  NorthWind Fine Arts features a different gallery artist (or pair of artists) each month.

In July and August, the gallery will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  If you would like to meet the artists, Damon will be sitting at the gallery on July 4, 16, 17, and 30, and Catherine will be there on July 8 and 13.

Photo at top courtesy of Susan Whiteman, NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery President. 

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The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional guest essays from Adirondack residents, visitors, and those with an interest in the Adirondack Park. Submissions should be directed to Almanack editor Melissa Hart at

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