Image at top: Sunset Swim, 6 x 6 pastel over gouache, Takeyce Walter (reference photo courtesy of Nicole McKasty-Stagg)
Coming to Paul Smith’s VIC this July 2023 are “These Waters,” the magnificent paintings of Takeyce Walter. The exhibition opens on July 1, 2023 in the Heron Marsh Gallery from 6-7:30 PM with an opportunity to meet Takeyce.
Living in Round Lake, New York, Takeyce is a professional artist as well as a Board Member of the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy (TNC). She paints in oil, pastels and gouache, working both in plein air and in her studio, using reference photographs she takes while exploring her surroundings. You can discern that Takeyce spends considerable time outdoors for her to capture the details, colors, and lighting found in upstate New York. She’s particularly adept with sunlight, as it shimmers off the various lakes, ponds, and rivers of the Adirondacks, and her paintings have a magical quality.
Water is integral in many of Takeyce’s paintings. Takeyce was born in the beautiful island nation of Jamaica. But it was after she came to the United States as a teenager to her first home on Long Island, that she surprisingly had more opportunities to spend time at the beach and in the water than she had during her childhood. Later, after she and her husband moved to Saratoga County, the family began sightseeing further north. Takeyce discovered Chapel Pond in Keene which sparked the connection she now feels with the Adirondacks. Takeyce shares, “What made those moments special was exploring with my family and experiencing the wonders of discovery with our young son. Seeing the beauty of the Adirondacks through his eyes was unforgettable.”
This same delight in nature is prevalent in many of the paintings in the show. I was especially touched by the imagery of joyful children swimming in her pastels on gouache that are part of her Creative February 2023 series. Twenty-two of these paintings, among other larger paintings, will be exhibited at the VIC during July in the exhibit “These Waters.” Creative February is a project she began some years ago, creating a new painting each day of her birthday month. This year she decided to incorporate children into her landscapes, and also explore the mixed media technique of combining gouache and pastels in this year’s Creative February.
As a young woman, Takeyce needed to work to support her young family and was unable to pursue a formal art education after high school. That didn’t stop the artist from learning and creating, which she continued each year. She entered the business world through administrative positions that also used her artistic talents. She quickly grew as a creative, working in video/tv production while continuing to produce art. Eventually, she applied what she learned about business to her art endeavors and established her studio in Round Lake where she paints as well as holds art workshops. Takeyce’s work has gathered notoriety and was featured in news articles and on NCPR, and her advocacy of the Adirondacks reached the attention of The Nature Conservancy. She has since been invited to participate in their work by becoming a part of TNC’s Board.
Takeyce’s childhood included separation from her mother, who immigrated to the US for work, while Takeyce and her sister remained in Jamaica. Art was a source of comfort, but Takeyce was also proud as her adept drawings were being praised by friends and teachers. She remembers a report card from the fifth grade when a teacher wrote she would someday be an accomplished artist! Understanding how meaningful it was to be recognized by her teachers, it is now part of Takeyce’s repertoire to encourage others, by teaching and mentoring other artists. Giving back is also important to Takeyce, and in 2022, she started a youth art program with TNC, Art+Environment where she volunteers and leads an effort to bring children outdoors to create art and learn about the environment.
The idea of creating an original new painting every day for a month might seem daunting for most of us, but for Takeyce, it’s a part of her persona. and for her the beauty of the Adirondacks is limitless. For more information about Takeyce and her work, go to: https://www.takeycewalter.com/
For more about Paul Smith’s VIC go to: https://www.paulsmithsvic.org/