The tireless Alix Travis, our fearless leader, organizer of the East Branch of the Delaware River Plein Air Painters’ group has organized a group exhibition for us in July at the Commons Gallery in Margaretville, upstate New York. The reception is Friday 3rd July from 3pm to 5pm. Come and see a selection of our work, which was hung this morning.
The Commons Gallery
785 Main Street
Margaretville, NY 12455
The summer comes alive for artists when the En Plein Air group reconvenes for the season. Gracious homeowners kindly let our group gather every week in some of the most picturesque spots across the mountains and it’s difficult not to be stunned by the extraordinary beauty of the countryside. This year, May 7th was the group’s earliest meeting on record because of the extraordinary high temperatures for the day, but the landscape was still bare and it seemed like we were able to watch the leaves pop before our eyes. The sun had become so strong by noon on May 7th, however, that whomever didn’t have an umbrella had to move to the shade. Taking part of the day out to paint really clears the mind. To focus closely and solely on the landscape for a few hours is much-needed therapy after the long, arduous winter. All worries dissipate into the air with the drying watercolour and if the homeowner is home, we make a new friend. Today, we had a gorgeous view of the mountains.
There’s something very simple, quiet and comforting about being in a group of artists. Eating your bagged lunch in comfy chairs, the morning’s art distributed on the floor for a gentle critique. Sharing a highly windy mountain top for a few hours of Plein Air, during which your easel violently flies at you intermittantly, bringing splashes of paint with it while your painting hat flaps into your face. There’s always a ten minute walk to the nearest toilet with new friends while imparting a brief life story or creeping self-consciously into a stranger’s house to use the facilities. There’s a rhapsody in hue where nothing is explained, but all is understood.
Upstate Dispatch is waking up with the brilliant Berry Breakfast this overcast, surprisingly warm and humid morning (61F at 7.30am), in order to join the Halcottvsille Plein Air Group on top of a mountain in Roxbury for a watercolor session. Then it’s back to oils for the winter. We can’t get enough of this surperbly, delicately crafted tea.
Coming soon to Margaretville… Alix Travis is opening the Commons Gallery in Margaretville, “a gallery for artists”, meaning an actual gallery run by and for the artist. The gallery will exhibit Travis’ work when not in use by other area artists who wish to curate a show or showcase their own work. Travis says:
“The idea grew out of frustration of my having a series of paintings that were community inspired and not having a venue where they could be shown in entirety and easily accessible to my community. The series had been exhibited beyond our area, but I wanted it here.”
The Commons Gallery is not a cooperative and will only charge reasonable rent, not commissions, allowing artists the freedom to have solo or group shows whenever they want and based on whatever subject matter they feel like exhibiting.
“Galleries frequently have a particular focus which is limiting,” says Travis. “I felt the absence in our area of an attractive space with Main Street exposure at a reasonable expenditure for local artists who wanted to show their own work, or curate a show of other’s work: that is a creative activity in itself”.
Travis states that the other real plus is that the Commons building now has several artist’s studios and is becoming a real community of artists and artist creations: a destination.
copyright J.N. Urbanski Watercolors by J.N. Urbanski
While a mild country summer closes and another spectacular Catskills autumn steals in over the mountains drawing its vivid hues, here at Upstate Dispatch we have our binoculars trained on another intense winter approaching in the distance. The farmer’s almanac predicted it, and the moderate summer. However, let’s not go there just yet… It’s not winter until your watercolors freeze.
Up here, you’ll still find En Plein Air groups nestled in the sunny mountains, painting hemlocks for the Catskills Center’s call for artists. The hemlock tree is endangered up in the Catskills by the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid. The Catskills Center for Conservation and Development is running a program to save it and they are publicizing the issue by running an art competition and exhibition on the subject.