We are so lucky to have some of the most beautiful New York State parks in our area. The meromictic lake trails and glacier produced hills of Green Lakes State Park and Clark Reservation are among my favorites.
But today I decided to traipse around the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park (3883 Stone Quarry Road, Cazenovia, New York 13035) – investigating paths I had never ventured on and, really, exploring the entire park. Dorothy Riester’s legacy to Cazenovia, New York is a great gift to the public. The park is open and currently free. Everyone is on their honor to come in small family groups or alone and to steer clear of the other patrons.
There were, maybe, six other people there today. The forecast said rain but it was all bright sunshine when I arrived. It was as if someone lead me there, truly. I was inspired to go after meditating and when I arrived it was just incredibly magical.
My motto is to meditate every day, then spend time outside every day and to be grateful – to keep a gratitude journal and write down the positive aspects in my life every day. The gratitude today was pretty much over-the-top. Exploring these trails was fun in and of itself, but then there was this added bonus of stumbling upon works of art. Sculptures scattered around, both new and old familiar friends. Some meant to be temporary and others standing the test of time.
Escaping into this reality for a couple hours is the stuff of legend. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dorothy, for building this world. <3
In the 1950s, the artist Dorothy Reister and her husband purchased land for a summer home in Cazenovia, New York. They added acres when land became available then turned the place into a sculpture garden, creating hiking trails, as well a sculpture studio attached to their mid-century modern A-frame home.
The property transformed into the incorporated non-profit Stone Quarry Hill Art Park, recognized by National Geographic magazine as one of the top sculpture gardens in the nation, and home to permanent and temporary sculptures by such renowned sculptors as Rodger Mack and Emilie Brzezinski. Now the home and art studio on the property are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is open to the public to enjoy. Today was the perfect day to hike the trails and fall in love with the hidden sculpture gems playing peek-a-boo around every corner.
I am on vacation this week, Spring Break. I spent a few hours investigating several trails and breathing the fresh air of this space with my high school pal Suzy, who is a fellow teacher. There was really no one else around – it was a serene and wonderful experience.
I highly recommend coming here, especially if you have kids at home this week and are looking for something to do. I brought students to Stone Quarry Hill on a school field trip a few years ago and they loved it. There truly is a surprise around every corner!
Suggested donation is $5 at the front entrance. If you wish to donate to the upkeep of the park or volunteer, there is more information on their website – here
Several events are upcoming – kite flying, an art exhibition in the indoor space, and a YMCA summer camp experience. All information is on their website – here.
I have always been drawn to the exquisite beauty of all that is Ancient Egypt. I took an Egyptology course at University College while teaching at Bryant & Stratton back in the ’80s to answer a student who questioned why and how Egyptian fashion was selected as the first chapter in the costume history textbook.
The answer lies in art, because all of our history to do with ancient cultures comes not from the written word, but from pictures – in this case hieroglyphics, tomb murals and, of course jewelry, as well as the remnants of clothing made of linen fiber.
I learned that Napoleon’s French army invaded Egypt in 1798. They rediscovered the antiquities and were the first archeologists to investigate the area. It wasn’t the painstaking attention to delicate detail that it is today or even remotely a respectful handling of human remains.
Many mummies were burned as fuel for steam engines, which is just so tragic. Later on, in the following century, Egypt became an exotic vacation spot for wealthy Americans who enjoyed purchasing the baubles, scarab beetle decor, and mummies!
They held mummy unveiling dinner parties back in the States, stuff like that.
Howard Carter uncovered King Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922. This significant find catapulted Egyptian archeology in terms of the level of importance, the regard for history and the sheer magic in attaining this priceless treasure.
Somewhere in the middle, during the Victorian age, Cazenovia Public Library benefactor Robert James Hubbard and his son accumulated a collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts including an intricately wrapped-in-linen mummy for the purpose of creating a museum.
And so, yes, there is a mummy in this library.
Yesterday, Janine and I visited Cazenovia, New York; first stop, Cazenovia Artisans, second, Common Grounds and next, to the library to see this exhibit. We ended up at Empire Farm Brewery for lunch. Janine had never been to any of these spots nor had she an idea this breathtaking collection even existed. So, my thought is that not many of you know about it. You’re welcome!
When I taught elementary art at Bridgeport Elementary School in our district, I decided to add a few lessons on Ancient Egypt culture to the third grade curriculum, because I had this knowledge I wanted to share. I created a cat mummy sculpture lesson. Naturally, no pets were harmed. Students’ sculptures were made of an armature of plastic bottles and styrofoam balls. They were void of remains, unlike the actual cat mummy at this museum.
At Chittenango, it is the sixth graders who study the ancient civilizations in Social Studies. They do take a field trip to Cazenovia Library, as the village is adjacent to our school district via Route 13. I highly recommend a visit. It is free and really quite extraordinary.
The library is located at 100 Albany Street, Cazenovia, New York 13035. It is open Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 9:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 – 5:00 pm. They are closed on Sundays. Call (315) 655-9322 for more information.
The museum space is also home to a gallery for rotating local artist/art organization exhibitions, as well as a wonderful exhibit of birds and plumage in fashion. They also have many interesting activities for children including puzzle clubs and such. Yesterday they had a hot chocolate and cookie station available. Set in a Victorian mansion, this is truly a quaint and lovely experience that really packs a secret chamber punch. So special! <3
Janine and I took a trip to Cazenovia, New York today. We visited Cazenovia Artisans, an artist’s co-op. It is located at 39 Albany Street in the heart of the village. Linda Bigness just joined, so I thought it would be fun to visit and see the new work. (For a full list of artists in the cooperative, visit their website).
Bob Ripley was manning the register. He is a former Advertising Design man turned full time watercolorist. His work is AMAZING!
It was such an honor to meet him and speak with him about his art. Bob uses Windsor & Newton watercolors and Arches 300 pound paper, which he staples into foam board while working on the individual pieces.
Bob shared his technique – here he is working on a commission. He added the figure of the man into the landscape and strategically placed the fishing line to add rhythm to the composition.
He uses frisket to assist in the layering process of glazing. It stops the paint from bleeding into areas and also helps to save the white of the paper, which is a watercolor technique used instead of painting with the more opaque Chinese white paint. In addition, he shared a method he’d perfected through trial and error – placing clear transparent tape on an area then going back in and shaving the edge with an Exacto blade to match it with the landscape, all to insure that the paint stays where it belongs.
Watercolor is tricky that way. It is about sheer layers blending together. Bob was very clear about never using black. Instead, he combines Hooker’s Green and Alizarin Crimson or if he wants a cooler looking dark, he mixes the Alizarin with Ultramarine Blue.
This work is really incredible. Each piece takes about seventy or eighty hours to complete. Bob draws the basic lines of the landscape then adds more detail with pencil as needed.
There are original watercolor paintings on the wall for sale, as well as high quality Giclee prints, which look almost identical to the originals in quality and color. Each piece is infused with Bob Ripley’s vivacious spirit. He is so talented!
I privately set an intention this morning – I wanted to see a cardinal, believe it or not. People always say that when a cardinal crosses your path, it is a sign that someone who has passed away is nearby. I was sifting through Bob’s prints thinking I might see one (I can’t explain why I thought he would even have one). Then I turned and found a cardinal print in his section on the greeting card fixture!
Later that day, I saw an actual cardinal while hiking around Green Lakes. It literally called out to me then it frantically fluttered about while I flustered getting my cell phone from my pocket. I was laughing and crying at the same time while trying to get the shot, so this is not a great picture, lol, but it doesn’t matter. Thanks, Dad. <3
Cazenovia Artisans is open Monday – Saturday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Sunday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. For more information call (315) 655-2225.
The year was 1996: the bartenders at Empire Brewing Company on Walton Street in Armory Square/downtown Syracuse, New York used to slip me handfuls of coasters all the time. I used them as collage material in my oil & collage paintings. I’m not a beer (or any alcoholic beverage) drinker but still – I was a bit of a barfly back in the day. I really love that place!
Well, they opened a farm brewery on Route 13 in Cazenovia, New York a while back. It is a magnificent venue in every way – you must make your pilgrimage if you haven’t done so already. It is the power of Empire times infinity! I was there this evening for Kara Daviau’s art reception.
Delicious food and drink specials, of course, and – who knew? a spectacular basement tasting/barrel room with brick walls and the most splendid ambiance for an art exhibition. Kara’s work is a perfect match for this space.
Her new series is titled Keep Me Where the Light Is. Kara is continuing her journey of discovering abandoned places and summoning them to life with music. She captures the essences of the forgotten beauty while listening to specific tunes, adding sheet music as collage before tackling the canvases with vibrant acrylic hues.
Her new mantra is expand. She is voraciously seeking new places to show and sell her artwork, (which includes merchandise – magnets, notecards, T-shirts and other accessories – you can find these and more at Wildflowers Armory in Armory Square).
As of very recently, her paintings have been accepted in juried exhibitions at galleries in New York City and in Connecticut and Maryland with the opportunity for solo exhibitions in all locations on the horizon. I asked her if she would seek abandoned spaces in these areas to create new work that resonates with people who live there. Not yet was her response.
She is at a crossroads, both personally and professionally. Her focus is on healing and with that a strong urge to self reflect via self-portraiture may be the next leg in her journey. She’d added a mini self-portrait to the lower corner of one of these paintings then wiped it out, as if to say she wasn’t quite ready for that leap…yet.
I trust that Kara will visualize the success she deserves with any step she takes on her path to get there. She is a beautiful person both inside and out. I love the trailblazing spirit that guides her choices – such an incredibly talented artist and a wonderful role model for both her own children and her students. <3
Kara Daviau’s art studio is located at the Delavan Center (Studio 249), 509 W. Fayette Street, Syracuse, New York. For more information about this work and more, contact her at KLDAV@HOTMAIL.COM.
For anyone who is planning to stay in town for the three-day weekend, I am thinking about joining in on this art sale at the Stone Quarry Hill Art Park. I will be there on Saturday, October 10, 2015 at 10:00 am. Sale goes until 4:00 pm.
The thing is that it is a first-come-first served scenario and I am not exactly the early-bird-catches-the-worm sort. Sooooo, hopefully, I will be one of the first to arrive and I’ll set up a nook to sell some of the watercolors I had for sale at the Everson Museum of Art Craft & Craft show (Syracuse, NY) and at Natur-Tyme (Dewitt, NY).
This artwork is not framed, but Cheryl Chappell of the Edgewood Gallery gave me 20% discount coupons to give out to my customers for framing at her shop on Tecumseh Road in Syracuse! She is the best!
The Stone Quarry Hill Art Park is such a fun place to visit. They have all of these nature trails where you walk a bit then come upon an outdoor sculpture. Some of these sculptures are permanent installations and others are temporary so it always changes, plus things look different with the seasons. Crossing fingers that it will be a nice day!
Either way, the artists will be inside the gallery. Lord knows I can’t sell watercolors in the rain. They are like the Wicked Witch of the West, same as what I say about myself- specifically me getting my hair wet – they (I) will melt, be destroyed, etc.
For more information on the park, check out their website here-
Stone Quarry Hill Art Park is located at 3883 Stone Quarry Hill Road (off Route 20) in Cazenovia, New York. According to their website – “In 2011, its 20th anniversary year, Stone Quarry Hill Art Park was recognized as #2 in National Geographic’s ‘Top Ten Sculpture Parks and Trails’ inSecret Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Best Hidden Travel Gems.
“Today, Stone Quarry Hill Art Park continues to offer visitors a place to enjoy art and nature .”