Plein Air in Saranac Lake The K&J Show

The Saranac Lake Art Works – Plein Air Festival welcomed nearly 50 artists, all of whom signed on to participate in this year’s event which marks the 4th time the event has visited Saranac Lake.

AUDIO – 082012 – K&J SHOW – Saranac Lake Plein Air Festival

Artists came with blank canvas and by Sunday afternoon filled the Harrietstown Town Hall Auditorium with outdoor paintings of the Adirondacks. Thursday, artist painted in the Village of Saranac Lake, Friday, artists were invited to paint at the VIC in Paul Smiths, and Saturday they chose a location in the Adirondacks. One painter would win Best of Show at Sunday’s show and sale.

This year’s Juror of Awards is Ann Larsen, she’s recently been juried into the Outdoor Painter’s Society National Show inDallas, and was recognized with an honorable mention award. Ann is from Edenburg, NY.  when choosing the winners, she looks for composition color in the values, and she looks for the emotion in a painter’s work. Her goal is to see that they have a grasp on the subject. The show was mixed between professional high level artists and some possibly even beginner plein air artists.  Ann says she hopes that the awards that she gave will encourage those beginning artists to have something to aspire to..

The 2011 Best in Show went to Nikolay Mikushkin of Syracuse. This year, Larsen chose a smaller painting as the winner. The painting is of a marsh in Tupper Lake and was painted by Crista Pisano. “I feel like she hits every single button for the things that I look for and I can tell that she’s on top of her game as far as painting goes.” Larsen tells WNBZ she had not heard of Pisano before, but she says “That piece stood out even though it’s a very small painting, technically, emotionally, physically, and every painting that she did was consistent in her work and it shows another mark of the professional artist and even though they were smaller, every piece was wonderful.”

Larson travels around the country and doesn’t make it to the Adirondacks very often but when she does, she loves it. “There is a gallery in Albany called Sorrell Gallery,” Larson said at the paint show on Sunday, “and they’re always looking for local things, or New York things for their clients and she says this is a great opportunity to come up and paint, either at the Visitor’s Interpretive Center, Osgood Pond, White Pine Camp, or on the Ausable River and there are hundreds of places, it’s just a beautiful place to paint.”

Sandy Hildreth works with Saranac Lake Artworks and she says this event is her baby..  “I came up with the idea 4 years ago and this year we’ve had over 50 artist register and we’ve have a very successful show and sale in the Town Hall,” Hildreth said, “Lots of great paintings have come out of the last several days.”

Event Organizer Sandra Hildreth (left) and Best of Show Winner Crista Pisano (right)

“We have artists using pastels, which is like chaulk, and a lot of artists using oil paints, and artists working in water colors and we have one artists who worked in pencil.” Hildreth continued “Quite a variety of styles involved in the festival and artists came from New Mexico, Virginia, Maryland and several others from out of the state and then alot from various parts of New York, including the city, and then our locals participated”

This yea’rs best of show Winner is from Rockland County, New York which is right outside of Manhatten (AUDIO) .. She comes up with a bunch of other painters from the area and she likes to paint in the afternoon. “Even if I’m not actually painting, I’m driving around looking for things to paint which is just as important as doing the actual painting,” Pisano said at the art show, “I’m looking for color changes and the light, and the best thing about being in the Adirondacks is you don’t have to pay $7.00 to cross a bridge and you don’t have to pay another toll to get to the nearest park. and there are so many views to choose from.”  On her way to the show, she noticed a pristine view in Tupper Lake of marshes and trees which she chose to paint on Saturday.  That painting won “Best of Show” and sold almost immediately at Sunday’s show and sale.. This is Crista’s third year at the festival, but the first time she had noticed the marshes in Tupper Lake. One of Pisano’s remaining  paintings at the show when we spoke was a view from the Adirondack Loj Road in Lake Placid which was selling for $450.

Charlie Hunter is from Bellows Falls Vermont and spent most of his time at a location near Paul Smith’s College. Charlie Recently was written up in Plein Air Magazine, a publication for aspiring artists..

Charlie Hunter poses with some of his paintings from the Plein Air Festival


The Adirondack Artists Guild Gallery, is located at 52 Main Street in Saranac Lake and served as the pickup location for maps with painting locations and directions to painters..  Each artist in the event donated a small painting for Auction (up to $150.00) with many of the paintings selling for full price. All of the funds from the Auction are being donated to Pendragon Theatre this year. 10% of the proceeds from the sale of artist paintings support the Artist Guild and the balance supports each individual artist.

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