Tag Archives: Penny Santy

Art in the Adirondacks

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The Adirondacks is such a mythical place, isn’t it?  The last time I ventured into that neck of the woods I was a child meeting the real Santa Claus, because as you must know, the North Pole is an actual place in New York State…in the Adirondacks.

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So imagine my surprise (and major lack of geography knowledge) to realize that Old Forge’s View Art Center is only an hour and a half drive from my house!  Like what? Seriously, I did not realize it.  Thought it was further north, lol.

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Penny Santy won an award – best landscape painting – at the juried exhibition, 2016 Central Adirondack Show on view until June 12, 2016 at View.

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According to the literature, this show is “a long-standing Old Forge tradition, showcasing some of the finest artists from throughout the Central Adirondack region and beyond.  Held for the first time in 1952, by View founder Miriam Kashiwa, the Central Adirondack Art Show is a testament to the significant place the arts hold within the hearts and minds of the residents and visitors to the Adirondacks.”

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There are seventy-six artists represented here in varied media – ceramics, glass, mixed media, paintings, drawings, pastels and photographs.  Most of the work is representational with landscapes making up the majority.  Sandra Hildreth was the juror.

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If you have never been to this gallery, you will be surprised by its modern elegance.  It is a hop, skip and a jump from Enchanted Forest.  (Seeing that sign again after all these years was like something out of a dream!)

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I love these road trips to see art!  I was more than happy to be at the opening to support my friend, and grateful to have my cousin Jackie as a carpool mate for the friendship and great conversation, and to watch out for numerous deer hovering at both sides of the highway on the way home!

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View is located at 3273 Route 28 (P.O. Box 1144) Old Forge, NY 13420.  Find them on the web at www.viewarts.org or call 315-369-6411 for gallery hours.  They have numerous events coming up – lectures, workshops and more exhibitions!

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Technically Speaking

So, welcome to my 2nd anniversary as a blogger!

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And with that comes the answer to the question I have been asking myself – what happens when I exhaust all the art venues in my area and I have to start duplicating them – I mean, where’s the spin, the angle?  How do we make the old new again?

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I haven’t technically exhausted venues.  There are plenty around this town that I haven’t written about or ventured to yet!  But then, there are certain places that I seem connected to, as if they are the set decoration to my personal reality show and the Syracuse Tech Garden is, apparently, one of those spaces.

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Steve Nyland chose this time out to curate a seven-artist show, which to my delight, makes this show new and different.  I prefer this to juried shows or the free-for-all themed show (anyone want a bunch of abstract watercolors with baseball-themed titles? because I have fifty I can sell you today, lol).  You know what I’m talking about. 🙂

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April Showers: Technically Irrelevant is at the Syracuse Tech Garden until July 8, 2016, which offers you plenty of time to get down there.  It is on Harrison Street (235 Harrison, Syracuse, New York 13202) right across from the Hotel Syracuse, which is currently being renovated for a spectacular re-opening in June.

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The artists in the show include my work colleague Sherry Allen, plus Facebook and personal friends Penny Santy, Lauren Bristol, John Fitzsimmons and Ken Nichols along with Robert Kasprzycki and Stephanie Roeser.  Each offers a strong sense of character and style – all different, and so the show is very cohesive.

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According to the literature/curator statement, Steve chose the artists based on comraderie, friendship and inspiration.  There is definitely a positive vibe to the artwork here, a mutual admiration society of artists complimenting and encouraging each other to provide us all with a footprint of their souls, as seen in color, texture, brushstroke and commitment to their respective visions.

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I have showcased Penny’s work before, but in this space these bulls have enormous presence.  The large canvases give credence to her sweeping brushstrokes and color combinations.  Really breathtaking stuff.

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I know that John Fitzsimmons will paint your portrait if you head over to his studio at the Delavan Center on Fayette Street in Syracuse (and if you have several hours to spare!)  His portraits are done with straight painting – no drawing it first with pencil or charcoal, and yet they are so proficient with accurate placement of proportions and an uncanny ability to capture one’s essence.

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Here, he is showing ethereal landscapes with magnificent mastery of color choice.  They are simultaneously deliberate and spontaneous and seem to represent the sky’s fickle ability to change on a dime.  A dark cloud approaches on the horizon with hurricane force, and yet, with the smaller works, they are sized to the give the appearance of a landscape at rest – long and narrow horizontals.

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I absolutely love the texture in Sherry Allen’s work.  There is dimension as well, the idea that the painting jumps into space and becomes a part of your life.  Her work certainly does not sit back passively waiting for anyone to notice.

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She is retiring from her teaching job at Chittenango High School at the end of the school year.  I am really looking forward to the direction her artwork will take once she has more time to devote to it!

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I know Ken Nichols as a potter.  We keep running into each other at events.  His mugs are also being sold at Natur-Tyme in Dewitt, New York and at the Clayscapes gallery, even though he isn’t mentioned in either gallery’s literature.  It is because his work sells.  It’s in and out the door in a flash due to exceptionally perfect price points and of course, quality.

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Here, he introduces us to his paintings, which are so colorful.  It’s almost as if he is a kid in a candy store with the control he can get out of acrylic paint – very different than the you-get-what-you-get attitude that comes with glazing pottery.

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Hopefully, I can connect with him to share these paintings in my middle school library gallery next year.  They are delightful confections that remind me of zentangles.

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Lauren Bristol can crochet!  She creates the pattern on large point graph paper and I have never seen this before.  Loved it!  My grandmother tried to teach me to crochet, but that was a disaster, as she couldn’t slow it down enough for me to understand what she was counting out in her Vlashki language (una, dow, tre, patrou, cin-cee, sha-cee, shap-tee, optou, now, zhad-cee…)

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Lauren uses crochet as an art form.  She includes abstract paintings in her display as well to fill her space.  I cannot imagine where she finds the time to create all of this, as I know from watching my mom now and my grandmother years ago, how long it takes to string together that work.

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I don’t know anything about Stephanie Roeser except to say that her artwork is whimsical.  Very youthful and alive.

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And Robert Kasprzycki’s giclee prints have the attitude of technically proficient.  Not at all irrelevant.

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The Syracuse Tech Garden is open to the public Monday – Friday from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm.  Contact the gallery at gallery.ttg@gmail.com for more information.

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Below the Redhouse

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40 Below is a group that is making a difference in the city of Syracuse, NY.  Of course, anyone over forty thinks it’s a stupid name, lol.  I remember when they started the group – I was already not the target audience.  The point was to get the younger generations – were they Generation Xers then?  I can’t remember – to stay here.  To remain in Syracuse following graduation from college.  Most people who grew up here wanted to move anywhere else and I would imagine getting a downstate New Yorker to want to live life in this slower lane is a bit of a tough sell.

And I can’t blame them, as I did it myself for a time, moving to Florida when I was in my twenties.

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So yeah, it was/is a task force established to improve the arts culture and promote Syracuse as a happening cool place to live.  Syracuse, New York is more of a sports-town.  I think the world pretty much knows that via the amount of people we can get to go to the Carrier Dome for a college hoops game in 23 below zero weather (more than 30,000).  It’s definitely an astonishing feat by any stretch of the imagination.  The arts are always just short of emerging and it is funny (read: sad) how most successful Syracuse artists are finding their success elsewhere.

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Our most famous artist is Carrie Mae Weems.  She lives here but rarely shows her work here.  There was that Everson Museum of Art exhibition, but other than that she is strictly a grant recipient and sells in New York City.

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But 40 Below keeps trying and I commend them for it.  I attended their most recent pop-up art exhibition.  Last year’s coincided with Winterfest activities.  This year the one night only event happened on Tuesday, February 23, 2016 from 5 pm – 8 pm at the Redhouse Art Center, 201 S. West Street, Syracuse, NY 13202.

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All local artists were invited to exhibit by dropping off a piece at the Point of Contact gallery across the street.  I did not participate since the time for drop off was the exact time I was buying my new car from the Fox-Honda dealership in Auburn, NY.

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My friend Penny Santy participated, as did my Facebook friends Charlie Sam and Renee Fair.  In attendance were a lot of artsies over forty.  I mean, I didn’t see many or any twenty-somethings.  But it was a decent-sized crowd, and it was a lot of fun!

Not sure if anyone sold anything, but manifesting exhibitions sometimes leads to sales down the line so it’s all good.  You just never know when the next opportunity will present itself.  I know my friend Angela connected with some people about a possible new art venture and  we all enjoyed the carrot sticks and dip, wine and cheese spread.

If you’ve never been to an art reception – there is always free food and wine.

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Not sure when the next event will take place.  I am sure 40 Below would welcome your support!  Here are some links to find out more about this organization –

40 Below Facebook page

40 Below Twitter page

40 Below on VolunteerCNY.org

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The Dreamer’s Legacy

You’d think that Syracusans would have no trouble driving around in a blizzard yesterday, but the hazardous conditions resulted in many car accidents around town.  I stayed home in my little bungalow in my pajamas all day, a fire in my wood-stove and a cat on my lap.  Spent much of the day dreaming.  Thinking about future art and writing projects and reflecting on the last six to twelve months of my life.

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I met Jan Brett once and asked her if she stays in her pajamas all day since she creates her children’s books from her home office.  She laughed and said she gets dressed every morning and makes it like a nine-to-five job.

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So, today I got up with the intention of bracing the storm to go to work.  I had breakfast and used the snow-blower on my driveway only to find out once I came in that school was changed from two-hour delay to closed. (I am about to go out again to do it all over again.  It is seriously snowing like cray-cray!)

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I am in yoga pants and a cashmere sweater and my Ugg boots that I wear as slippers.  Plus a cashmere beanie because it is still a little cold in here – apparently, I have the worst insulation in the neighborhood, as National Grid likes to remind me every month with those you-use-way-more-energy-than-anyone-else letters.

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I compromised a little – not quite the Tashionista I would have been if I had gone to work, but I am “decent”, lol.

Okay, now that all of that is out of the way, welcome to my first blog post of 2016.  Part of my contemplation has been deciding what my goals will be for this blog for this year and beyond, for my art and for my life in general. As I still sit here pondering, I am also looking back to see how far – if at all – I have come on this artistic journey.  Last year at this time, I noted a few things.  Like I had two students win awards in Scholastics. This year I had six honorable mentions out of fourteen entries, which is pretty great!

Last year at this time, I had 3,700 followers on Twitter.  Now I have 6,504.  I also doubled my connections on both Facebook and Linkedin.  By promoting these blog posts, I have received a lot of support from so many people all over the world, and tons of endorsements from friends, acquaintances and strangers on Linkedin.

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My friend Anne Novado recently closed Gallery 4040 here in Syracuse and moved to Jersey City, NJ to start a new gallery, which will open in the spring.  I miss her already, but it is such an exciting time for her.  She is embarking on a new chapter in her life, a new adventure.  A Syracuse artist/businesswoman branching out into another city and state.

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I love the idea of reinventing myself, of finding my purpose, and a part of me wishes I had some giant life-altering event to focus on like Anne has.  At Christmas, my sister said something I thought was profound – she said, “I chose to move back to Syracuse (from Boston) I chose to live my life here.  I don’t want to find a job elsewhere.”

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I did that once, when I lived in Ft. Lauderdale over twenty years ago.  My life feels like it is supposed to be here now.  I mean, I think so.  I want to say I have the same conviction that she has, but I am not quite sure that I do.  I do think of myself as a Syracuse artist though, as I have lived the majority of my life here.

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On Sunday, Penny Santy and I visited the Onondaga Historical Association.  It is a museum encompassing a history of Syracuse, New York.  It is such a beautiful thing to have historians who keep track of what once was and are the guardians of both past and future here in Syracuse. Like The Giver, lol.

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There are two art exhibitions currently, as well as permanent collection memorabilia.  One of the shows is called Snowy Splendor – Winter Scenes of Onondaga County.  It’s on the 2nd floor.  My friend Joan Applebaum has a painting in this show.

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There are paintings and photographs depicting Syracuse scenes and landmarks.  They’ve filled the room with flocked pine trees and old sleds too.  And of course, that giant statue that used to be on the roof of a brewery on the North side.  I remember seeing it a lot growing up.  We used to wait in the car while Mom ran into a bakery around there, I think.

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It’s weird seeing it as part of Syracuse’s history because I don’t feel like I am that old and it is a part of my life’s narrative.  That’s what this museum is like for me.  A lot of what I saw in there looks like it came from our old house on Ashworth Place or things many of us can still find in basements or attics complete with that familiar musty mildew smell.  There is a collection of World War I medals like the one in my jewelry box that belonged to my great grandfather.  There are plates from the defunct Syracuse China factory – the ones my parents have with the bird in the center.  Someone has made broken pieces of these plates into jewelry that is for sale in the gift shop.  You can purchase silk scarves with that same bird.  It’s just all so familiar, like a home away from home or a dream….

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The other art exhibition is called A Life in Art – A Highlight of Women Artists in OHA’s collections.  Its location is adjacent to the gift shop.  This show is up until June 5, 2016 so there is plenty of time to see it.  My friend Arlene Abend is represented in the exhibit.  In the ’70s, she created these little metal sculptures for the Syracuse Symphony’s fundraiser. Arlene has been such a force in the Syracuse art scene.  I am so glad to see that she was recognized here.

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You know, every generation thinks they invented the arts in a way.  You know what I mean – kids think they are way cooler than their parents or their teachers….  What I love about this show is how these women from the earlier days were able to create art at all and get recognized – in a time when they were expected to be wives and mothers first and foremost.  They were true creative trailblazers!  Like the woman whose husband was a firefighter and she sometimes accompanied him to a fire resulting in paintings.  Or the woman who painted the Syracuse Savings Bank for her relative who worked there.

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There’s a marble sculpture and block prints, watercolors, oils and charcoal portraits. Mostly portraits and landscapes.  Betty Munro was a landscape artist.  A watercolor of hers is part of this show and there are more originals for sale in the gift shop.  It is really incredible to see these beautiful pieces for sale (only $425-$575 unframed).  They are images depicting downtown Syracuse landmarks, which would be perfect for the walls of any businesses still located in the vicinity!

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I loved viewing this show and imagining one of my abstract pieces alongside the rest of these talented artists’ work.  Someday….  Am I worthy?  Maybe that is part of my dream. To be recognized internationally just so that my hometown can someday acknowledge me as one of Syracuse’s best.  Now that is something I truly would love to manifest.

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The OHA is located at 321 Montgomery Street, Syracuse, NY 13202.  They are open Wednesday-Friday 10am-4pm and Saturday and Sundays 11am-3:30pm (Closed Monday and Tuesday).  Call (315) 428-1864 for more information.  Find their website here.  You can donate or become a member, or even volunteer as a docent.  It is such an amazing place! They do a lot of student field trips and have an archive you can search.  I am very interested in locating an old picture of my house, which was built in 1900. That would be very cool.

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Cow Town

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The Chittenango Middle School 8th grade teachers take our students to visit SUNY Morrisville.  We’ve done it for several years now. There are four activities plus lunch in the dining hall (!!!) – to see the automotive dept., the dairy management farm, the equine science program and the aquaponics greenhouse.

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I’ve gone on this field trip three times and this was the first time I visited the cows.  There I met Assistant Professor Ashley Adams, who loves cow art!

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So this blog post is for her.  I want to share artwork by my bestie, Penny Santy.  Penny is a graphic artist during the day, fine artist by night.  You can find her website here.

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Penny has this wonderful series of cow paintings.  I am totally in love with them.  She uses oils and paints in a quaint studio space in the basement of her home in Eastwood, a subdivision in the city of Syracuse, NY.

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I love the energy in her brush stroke and the juxtaposition of complementary colors used to create shadows.  Not just saying that because she is my friend.  I think Penny’s work would look great in the offices/buildings at the dairy science college!  They are large scale pieces – really breathtaking in person.  I especially love the buttery yellow one!

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Students in my ninth period A day class created cow portraits in oil pastel on black paper.

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We drew them on white paper, transferred them to the black Strathmore paper with graphite paper (magic) and painted out the lines with black acrylic paint.

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I showed students how to build up the color with the oil pastel using a layering technique and encouraged them to create their own consistent style – up and down, diagonal, coloring in circles, etc.

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I just love the way they turned out.  Each one is 16″ x 20″ – my favorite size for student work!  I am thinking of selecting a couple to enter into the Scholastic Art Awards competition, but I can’t decide which ones will be the most competitive.  I like them all.

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OMG, I love cow art too! ❤

Road Trip

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Last night Penny Santy and I took a road trip to Rochester, NY to visit the Nan Miller Gallery.

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What a beautiful place!  Nan Miller has an exquisite eye for abstract art.  I loved everything about the place.  Linda Bigness has been in Nan’s stable for years and her work was prominently displayed throughout the gallery.

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Linda’s husband told me the space is a new incarnation, now located at 3000 Monroe Avenue.  A short hop, skip and jump from the New York State thruway.

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There are sculptures and paintings, and in the back room, prints by well-knowns Keith Haring and Jim Dine!  Price points range from $1,000 to upwards of $60,000!

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The opening was very well attended by patrons of the arts (lots of sold stickers!!!), as well as artists.  Nan and her colleague Gail Leess were so friendly and informative.  If you’ve never been, I suggest a road trip.  It’s definitely in order.   You will love it!!! ❤

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For more information – http://www.nanmillergallery.com – (585)292-1430.

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