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

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Lively Arts Scene on the Mountaintop

On a recent Sunday afternoon I drove up to the Mountaintop region of Greene County—the villages along Route 23A—to check out what was happening, especially since some interesting art events were available. My first stop: XTreme Barns and Beyond, an exhibition of photographs by Richard Schepper at the Kaaterskill Fine Arts Gallery in Hunter. Be prepared to be surprised; intrigued; to wish the photographer were there so you could ask, “But how … ? Why … ?” Whatever — you will definitely not be bored. A gifted photographer of nature scenes both stunning and serene, Richard Schepper pushes the envelope when it comes to walking (or blurring) the lines between photography and painting. Don’t miss his show; it closes October 28.  Kudos to the gallery and director Carolyn Bennett for hosting this challenging exhibition.

My next “art” destination was Catskill and Thomas Cole’s House, but first I stopped in Tannersville to enjoy the colorful buildings on Route 23A. Tannersville is the mountaintop place for restaurants. This picture shows Susan Kleinfelder’s Rip van Winkle “Breast Cancer Awareness” statue outside the Tannersville General Store, one of many artistic renditions of ol’ Rip in  “Rip Lives 2012,” the third annual such event sponsored by local Mountaintop businesses.

The Thomas Cole Historic Site was holding its annual open house, always a good time to enjoy free admission to Cole’s house and studio (including the special exhibition of the year) and a variety of entertainment and other activities for all ages.  I interviewed Thomas Cole himself (a.k.a. Catskill Mayor Vincent Seeley), who was gratified to see such an enthusiastic turnout and amazed to learn that he had such a thing as a Website. The 2012 special exhibition features landscape paintings by 19th-century artist Louis Rémy Mignot. Mignot produced a variety of masterpieces in his tragically short life; having just seen Richard Schepper’s daring exhibit in which several of the photos looked more like paintings (Braque came to mind), I was now face to face with a painting—Mignot’s  View Across the Valley of Pierstown —that could well have been mistaken for a photograph. Art is amazing. And here are some photos from the event: