Mountaintop Artists Liman and Trautman Shine in Ridgewood

That area of the Northern Catskills known as the Mountaintop is home to heartbreakingly beautiful scenery, gorgeous summer days, inhospitable winters–and an amazingly active colony of artists and crafters. I’ve written about photographer Francis Driscoll in these pages (and will be doing so again) as well as crafter and antiques dealer Cindy Smith. Now, as a lover of the Mountaintop I’m pleased and proud to report on a wonderful exhibit by Mountaintop artists Peter Liman and Sheila Trautman in Ridgewood, New Jersey.

Sheila Trautman poses near her work.

Sheila Trautman poses near her work.

The exhibit is called Oil and Water Do Mix, and Peter (an oil painter) and Sheila (a watercolorist) demonstrate successfully the truth of that statement. Despite their using two different media for their paintings, their work does blend well. I wonder whether it has to do with the sense of place they bring to their work and, with that, their obvious love for the places they paint. Reading the captions to each painting was almost as much of a delight as seeing the paintings themselves. Of course, a number of the paintings depict scenes in the Mountaintop region,

Peter Liman with one of his paintings

Peter Liman with one of his paintings

and I felt privileged to recognize those; perhaps not many in this New Jersey venue could say that.  Bergen County has its own lively arts scene, and, although these two gifted artists are no strangers to the area (Peter is now resident there),  it’s nice to think of the people in northern New Jersey who are seeing Peter and Sheila’s work for the first time.

Oil and Water Do Mix is at The Stable Gallery, 259 North Maple Avenue, Ridgewood, NJ, easily reached off Route 17. The gallery is open Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm, and the exhibit runs until January 31, If you can make it, do get to see it; it’s more than worth it.

Guests at the reception enjoying the art

Guests at the reception enjoying the art

Antiques Store in Hunter is a Treasure Trove

Ed IMG_2034 s

The Mountain Top region of the Catskills is home to an amazing number of artistic, creative, and literary people. Cindy Smith is one of them. Cindy and her husband, Dan, operate the Antiques store located at the crossroads of Routes 23A and 296 in Hunter (you can’t miss it–it’s just to the west of the junction, on the north side of 23A — at 8176 Main Street).

EdIMG_2040 TC sCindy’s path and mine first crossed at the Mountain Top Historical Society‘s annual Open House, where we were each selling our wares. Because of my interest in historic sites, for possible photographic subjects, I was attracted to the reproductions of historic postcards that she sells, and I bought some for future reference. Not long afterward, I met up with her again at — guess where — a postcard show sponsored by the MTHS at their Haines Falls headquarters. And so during one of my days of rambling round the Mountain Top with my camera, I stopped into Cindy’s store to see her in situ.

I was amazed at Cindy’s knack for filling these few rooms in this lovely old building with as many wares as possible without the effect being one of clutter and jumble.  Actually, the ambiance was warm and homey. I loved it.  In addition to the gently used items — “Old Treasured Belongings,” as she calls that side of her business — she also operates “Handmade by Cindy,” items she makes herself. Handbags in various styles and colors, scarves — you name it.  In addition to her store, Cindy can be found at the many Holiday Craft Fairs in the area. I believe she and I will both be selling at the Craft Fair in Windham on December 14.EdIMG_2040 TC s

These are some photos I took inside Cindy’s store (with her gracious permission, of course). I’ll be processing some photos as “vintage” images and will post them on my photo blog when they’re ready.

Speaking of photos, you can now purchase signed copies of my book Historic Hudson Valley: A Photographic Tour at the Tannersville Antique & Artisan Center! Be sure to check out this fabulous shop and gallery run by Rick Thomas.  Actually, it was Cindy Smith who first alerted me to this Center — another example of the close-knitted artistic community on the Mountain Top.

Ed IMG_2036 s TC