Art exhibit

Stan Brodsky in his studio. Photo by Peter Scheer

By Melissa Arnold

For Stan Brodsky, painting was so much more than just a skill or even a career. It was a language, a love affair, a truly sensual experience. The artist shared those feelings openly with students over the course of a renowned teaching career that spanned more than 50 years. 

Several months ago, the Art League of Long Island in Dix Hills began to prepare Stan Brodsky and Friends, a springtime exhibit celebrating Brodsky’s work along with nearly 30 of his dearest friends, many of whom were former students and mentees.

‘Woman in a Car,’ oil/acrylic on canvas by Doug Reina

On March 30, just two weeks before the exhibit’s scheduled opening, Stan Brodsky passed away at the age of 94. He had continued to work and teach until the final weeks of his life, just as he wanted it. Brodsky’s students noted that the World War II veteran tried to retire a few years ago, but he couldn’t stand being away from doing what he loved. 

The Art League is moving forward with the show as planned, with the exhibit running from April 13 to 28. A reception on April 14 at 3:30 p.m. will allow the artists and those who loved Brodsky to honor his life and legacy.

Participating artists include Ennid Berger, Susan Bird, Susan Canin, Denise DiGiovanna, Simon Fenster, Stuart Friedman, Peter Galasso, Lenore Ann Hanson, Ginger Balizer-Hendler, Caroline Isacsson, Vincent Joseph, Deborah Katz, Marceil Kazickas, Denise Kramer, Barbara Miller, Catherine Morris, Pamela Long Nolan, Dianne Parker, Alicia R. Peterson, Doug Reina, Fran Roberts, Susan M. Rostan, Ellen Hallie Schiff, Laura Powers-Swiggett, Janice Sztabnik, Lois Walker and Hiroko Yoshida.

Stan has touched so many lives, inspiring them to pursue their passions,” said Susan Peragallo, coordinator and curator of the Art League’s Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery. “The exhibit will be a chance for everyone to celebrate him — the 27 artists in the show are only a small segment of those who were influenced by him over the years.”

A master abstract expressionist, Brodsky studied photojournalism and fine art before receiving a doctorate in art education from Columbia University in 1959. Originally from Greenwich Village, he moved to Huntington in 1965. Most of his teaching years were spent at Long Island University’s C.W. Post Campus in Brookville, and a collection of his notes and sketches from 1951 to 2004 can be found at the Smithsonian Institution.

‘Superficial Information,’ oil on canvas by Marceil Kazickas

Brodsky’s relationship with the Art League began in the late ’90s when he became an instructor. The classes were small in the beginning, with just five students enrolled in 1994, but grew rapidly, and eventually people had to be turned away from lack of space. “It’s not so much that he was popular, but he was inspiring and generous in his critiques, and people really responded to that,” Peragallo said.

Peter Galasso of Setauket remembers that Brodsky could often be found in the same way over the years as students arrived for class — sitting at his desk, usually eating an egg sandwich, always poring over an art history text.

“He had a contagious passion, and was constantly reading and continuing to study,” said Galasso, who began studies under Brodsky 20 years ago, eventually becoming a friend and traveling companion. “He was always looking to travel somewhere new or different. He wanted to be inspired by the local color of a place.”

Susan Rostan of Woodbury remembers entering Brodsky’s classroom for the first time while pursuing a master’s in fine art. Brodsky arranged the students in a circle and asked each one to introduce themselves. When it was her turn, Rostan simply told him, “I’ve heard I’m either going to love you or hate you, but I’m cautiously optimistic.”

‘She Wears Her Heart on Her Sleeve …,’ mixed media by Susan Canin

Many years later, Rostan was sitting in a different class of Brodsky’s, this one at the Art League. But she was stunned by the striking realization that nothing had changed: He still wore the same striped sweaters and paint-splattered jeans. She painted a full-length portrait of him that day that will appear in the exhibit.

“He taught us as much about ourselves as he did about painting,” said Rostan, who is now working on a biography of Brodsky. “He was an unusual teacher in that he approached his students as equals and opened himself up to be vulnerable and form friendships with them, which allowed him to encourage them particularly well.”

Brodsky’s friendship and deep encouragement were beloved by so many of his students, said Doug Reina of Setauket. In fact, some of them continued to take his classes for decades just to spend more time with him.

“Stan had this ability to make you feel special. He was genuinely curious about you, and that means a lot,” Reina said. “In the old days before taking his classes, I would look at a scene and just try to copy it. But through him I learned to paint in a way that also expresses how I feel about the subject and the sensuousness of the paint itself. Stan painted with his own language and created something truly unique for the world.”

Stan Brodsky and Friends will be on view at the Art League of Long Island’s Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery, 107 E. Deer Park Road, Dix Hills. Admission is free. For more information, call 631-462-5400 or visit www.artleagueli.net

‘Fall Day at Stony Brook Harbor’

By Melissa Arnold

Susan Trawick of Setauket devoted more than 20 years to helping Sachem East High School students develop their art skills. All the while, she continued to create her own artwork, primarily in watercolors and oil.

Following her retirement from teaching in 2008, Trawick sought to keep her art skills sharp and maybe even make some new friends. She joined several local art classes, including one taught by her neighbor Mary Jane van Zeijts, owner of Studio 268 on Main Street in Setauket.

‘West Meadow Gates’

Van Zeijts taught Trawick how to use a set of pastels she received from friends as a gift, and she immediately fell in love. “Pastels are definitely my new favorite medium to work with,” Trawick said in a recent interview. “The colors are so vibrant and intense.”

Van Zeijts was so impressed with Trawick’s skills that she invited her to create an art exhibit for the studio. That show, aptly titled Land and Sea Pastel Images, will open on March 24.

Trawick’s passion for art is hereditary, she said — her father loved to draw, and she picked up the hobby in early childhood. She married young and was a stay-at-home mother before attending Dowling College for a bachelor’s degree in fine art and Stony Brook University for a master’s in education. Without hesitation, she cites impressionists as her favorite artists, including Vincent van Gogh, Andrew Wyeth and Joseph Reboli.

While Trawick’s work has appeared throughout the area in various exhibits, this show is the first she’s done solo. It will be almost entirely comprised of pastel art, with one watercolor and one oil painting to give a taste of her other skills.

“Setauket is the best place for an artist to live — the landscapes are so beautiful,” Trawick said. “I love the water, the wetlands, the trees, even the little hills here on the North Shore that the South Shore doesn’t have.”

‘Hidden Stream’

Trawick explained that inspiration for a new piece will strike as she’s out driving or enjoying time outside, especially in the light of early morning or at sunset. When she sees something she wants to paint, she’ll take photos to preserve the memory for later. She also enjoys occasional plein air painting. 

Trawick will display more than 30 pieces of varied sizes at the show. Most pieces feature recognizable Long Island scenes, while others show off the beauty of Central Park, Yellowstone National Park and Higgins Beach in Maine, all with brilliant color.

“Susan is an incredibly strong, skilled and prolific artist,” van Zeijts said. “She has used and taught other mediums, but she is so expressive with pastels. It speaks of who she is. We can all relate to her work because a lot of it is local. You can see a picture of Maine and acknowledge it as beautiful, but her Long Island work will be recognizable and enjoyable for people from this area.”

Every piece at Trawick’s show is for sale, with paintings ranging from $50 to $850 and prints for less than $10. Twenty percent of the proceeds from the show will benefit Kent Animal Shelter, a no-kill nonprofit haven for dogs and cats in Calverton, where Trawick has served as a board member for 32 years. Her two dogs and “too many” cats at home are all rescues.

The shelter also offers low-cost and sometimes free spay/neuter services for more than 3,500 animals each year. This critical work helps address excessive breeding, overpopulation and animals left homeless.

“I’ve seen so much suffering of animals in my time doing work with the shelter, so I want to do anything I can to alleviate that suffering,” said Trawick.

Reached by phone, Pam Green, executive director of the shelter, said that Trawick is the quintessential animal lover. “Susan is so devoted and has done a lot of work with helping support our spay/neuter efforts in the area. She also provides a lot of advice for people that come across homeless or sick animals,” Green said.

Studio 268, located at 268 Main St., Setauket will present Land and Sea Pastel Images from March 24 to April 14. The studio is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m.

Join the artist for an opening reception on March 24 from 2 to 4 p.m. Refreshments will be served. For more information, call 631-220-4529.

‘Florence Sun and Shadows,’ oil on linen, by Tim McGuire will be on view at The Atelier at Flowerfield through May 2. Image courtesy of The Atelier

The Atelier at Flowerfield, 2 Flowerfield, Suite 15 in St. James recently unveiled its latest exhibit titled The Atelier Invitational: A Juried Show of Guest Artists at Atelier Hall. The show will be on view through May 2.

Enjoy the eclectic spirit of Long Island artists converging in one 2,000- square-foot gallery, bringing the rhythm of the shoreline, the character of loved ones, and the expression of a wide variety of genres to this show.

Featured artists include Rose Ann Albanese, Ross Barbera, Diane Bares, Nancy Bass, Mary Benedetto, Eleanor Berger, Robert Berson, Pam Best, Marlene Bezich, Al Candia, Kenneth Cerreta, Christine D’Addario, Kittie Davenport, Anthony Davis, Donna Deedy, Julie Doczi, Karen Farrell, Steve Forster, Neda Javanshir, Julia Jenkins, Larry Johnston, Edward Joseph, Patricia Lind-Gonzalez, Smadar Maduel, John Mansueto, Jane McGraw-Teubner, Timothy McGuire, Eleanor Meier, Fred Mendelsohn, Karen Meneghin, Matthew B. Moore, Rick Mundy, David Peikon, Lissette Resnick, Dave Rogers, Irene Ruddock, Oscar Santiago, Lisa Springer, Judy Stone, Angela Stratton, Susan Tango, Victor Vaccaro, Marjorie VandeStouwe and Laura Westlake.

The gallery is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For further information, please call 631-250-9009.

‘Lonely,’ watercolor, by Mengqui Shen, 11th-grader, The Knox School in St. James
‘Brianna,’ acrylic on canvas, by Jemma Guevrekian, 10th grade, Kings Park High School

It’s back! The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook will present its annual student art exhibition, Colors of Long Island: Student Expressions, sponsored by Sterling National Bank, in the Visitors Center through April 7. This annual exhibit affords an opportunity for hundreds of students from across Long Island to display their artwork in a museum setting.

Art teachers from grades K through 12 were asked to submit up to three pieces, either created individually or by groups. 

Traditionally, the theme, Colors of Long Island, allows for many creative interpretations. 

While some students refer to Long Island’s landscapes, others prefer to focus on the cultural diversity that makes Long Island so colorful. The varying interpretations of this theme are portrayed through all types of media, including watercolors, sculptures, quilts, drawings, oil pastels, photographs and computer graphics.

This year’s exhibit includes 240 works of art from students from 127 public and private schools. 

The museum will recognize the achievements of these talented students at two receptions scheduled for March 3 and March 24 from noon to 4 p.m. Parents, teachers, students and the general public are invited to attend. 

The Long Island Museum is located at 1200 Route 25A in Stony Brook. Hours are Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For additional information call 631-751-0066 or visit www.longislandmuseum.org.

Images courtesy of the Long Island Museum

'Evanescence' by Gabriella Grama

The Huntington Arts Council recently announced the winners of its latest exhibit, Objects Found. Juried by Tara Leele Porter of Red Lotus Fused Glass Art, artists were invited to submit work that incorporated salvaged materials like buttons, antiques, toys and textiles to complete their work. 

Participating artists include Beth Atkinson, Lisa L. Cangemi, Kathleen Celestin-Parks, Janet Costello, Heather Gottfried, Naomi Diracles, Terry Finch, Jim Finlayson, Anindita Ghosh, Bill Grabowski, Jeffrey Grinspan, Lenore Hanson, Beth Heit, Julianne Jimenez, Julianna Kirk, Liz Kolligs, Stephen S. Martin, Martha McAleer, Glenn McNab, Kristen Memoli, John Micheals, Gabriella Grama, Gail Neuman, Ellen Paul, Jonathan Pearlman, Howie Pohl, Denis Ponsot, Meryl Shapiro, Sally Shore, Lauren Singer, Toxic/Nature Studios by Scott Schneider and Nancy Yoshii.

“Selecting for this show was challenging because of all the high quality artwork. The artwork varies from minimalist to maximalist with their narrative composed of everyday materials manifested in sublime ways and are like pieces of Jazz who found their form bebopping down the rabbit hole,” commented Porter. 

Jeffrey Grinspan of Commack won Best in Show for “Parallel of Truths and Desire.” Honorable Mentions were awarded to Beth Atkinson of Northport for “Games People Play”; Ronkonkoma’s Gabriella Grama for “Evanescence” (see above); Jonathan Pearlman of East Quogue for “Skate Boys”; and Meryl Shapiro of Forest Hills for “Morning, Afternoon, Evening, Night.” 

“[This is] a wonderful compilation of artistic expression through a vast variety of objects and creative techniques,” said Executive Director Marc Courtade. “I certainly welcome everyone to stop by the gallery to see this exhibit.”

Objects Found will be on view at the Huntington Arts Council’s Main Street Gallery, 213 Main St., Huntington through March 23. Admission is free. For further information, call 631-271-8423.

Eye-opening exhibit depicts the history of slavery on Long Island

'Sharpening the Saw,' 1867, oil on canvas, by William Moore Davis. Image courtesy of the LIM

By Heidi Sutton

After a brief hiatus, the Long Island Museum in Stony Brook reopened last weekend to showcase its latest exhibit, Long Road to Freedom: Surviving Slavery on Long Island, in honor of Black History Month.

Located in the Art Museum on the hill, the show is already receiving quite a lot of attention, evident by the many visitors who stopped by last Saturday. Jonathan Olly, who curated the exhibit, was pleased by the interest. “Part of the challenge of working behind the scenes is that we almost never spend time in the galleries so to see this is great,” he said as he fielded questions from guests.

The project, which took approximately five months of research, features more than 100 items, including paintings, photographs, artifacts, furniture and documents that are tied to Long Island’s slavery story. In addition to items culled from the LIM’s collection, many pieces from the exhibit are on loan from other museums, historical societies, libraries and private collectors.

‘Eel Spearing at Setauket,’ 1845, oil on canvas, by William Sidney Mount is showcased in the exhibit.

Brought from Africa to New York by the Dutch and later by the English in the 1600s, slaves had an impact on every community on Long Island for the next 200 years. Landowners like the Smith, Hawkins/Mount, Townsend, Blydenburgh, Hewlett, Mills, Lloyd and Strong families used enslaved Africans and their descendants to manage their estates until New York State formally abolished slavery in 1827. 

“If you were wealthy in the late 18th century on Long Island you were probably enslaving people,” said Olly. “Because that was what business was.”

“African-Americans have been part of the story of Long Island since the very beginning and they’re still here. Every historical society on Long Island has something that’s tied to their town’s story about slavery. This exhibit was an opportunity to bring all those pieces together and to see what kind of portrait it makes,” he said.

There’s a lot to take in.

As you enter the exhibit you are immediately greeted by William Sidney Mount’s most famous work, “Eel Spearing at Setauket,” on loan from the Fenimore Art Museum in Cooperstown. Last seen at the LIM in 1998, “It’s come home for a brief visit,” said Olly during a tour.

Commissioned by George W. Strong, the 1845 genre painting, depicting a young white boy and female slave by the name of Rachel Holland Hart fishing for eels with the Strong family estate in the background, is a fitting starting point for this important lesson in Long Island’s history.

“It’s a painting of a memory that Strong had as a child,” explained Olly. “The story is the relationship between African-Americans and English-Americans but with a warm glow over it. So it is a slavery painting, but it is a pleasant memory of that time told through this family (pointing to the boy) as opposed to this family (pointing to the woman) which I’m sure would have a very different perspective on that.”

‘The Slaves Grave,’ undated, oil on canvas, by Shepard Alonzo Mount

Long Road to Freedom is told in sections, from when slavery began in New York in 1626 and follows its story for the next 200 years. In a stroke of brilliance, the exhibit is essentially split in half, with one side painted in a dark blue depicting the time of slavery, while the other is painted a light blue to represent freedom.

Visitors can view a door that came from the attic of the Joseph Blydenburgh home in Smithtown labeled “door to slave pen.” Notices from local newspapers offering rewards for runaway slaves line one wall, next to legal documents including bill of sales selling enslaved families and wills specifying what is to happen to the slave, who was part of the estate, after the owner’s death.

The exhibit also highlights the accomplishments of slaves, including poet Jupiter Hammon, whaler Pyrrhus Concer and author Venture Smith, and pays homage to the Quakers, the first group of people who decided that owning people was morally wrong. “The New York Quakers were really the first to question the institution of slavery and basically said, ‘If you want to be a Quaker in good standing you have to free your slaves,’” explained Olly, adding that they protested by not wearing cotton.

Two vignettes, located on either side of the room, reveal a full-size replica of the below-deck quarters of a slave ship complete with leg irons and a replica of what a typical African-American church would look like.

Two headstones retrieved from a former slave burial ground on the Mount property in Stony Brook are on display, engraved with loving epitaphs. 

The entire experience can get quite emotional. “This is very heavy stuff,” agreed Olly. 

Before leaving, visitors are invited to write down their thoughts. One card reads, “They were stripped of their name, their culture, their families, wholly opposite of any of our beliefs. This was an eye-opening exhibit.” It’s music to the curator’s ears. “That’s the best case scenario. The worst thing would be if people come through [this exhibit] and it doesn’t phase them at all,” said Olly. “You want it to touch people, to have something here resonate with them, and it looks like that is happening.”

The Long Island Museum, 1200 Route 25A, Stony Brook will present Long Road to Freedom: Surviving Slavery on Long Island through May 27. In conjunction with the exhibit, the museum will host a symposium on March 9 (see below) and a special screening of the documentary “Emanuel” on April 15 at 7 p.m.

Regular museum hours are Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for students 6 to 17 and college students with I.D. Children under 6 are admitted for free. For more information, call 631-751-0066 or visit www.longislandmuseum.org.

Accompanying Symposium

‘Portrait of Tamer,’ 1830, oil on panel, by Shepard Alonzo Mount. Image courtesy of LIM

Want to learn more? On Saturday, March 9 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. the Long Island Museum will present Long Road to Freedom: Surviving Slavery on Long Island, an all-day symposium exploring the experiences of African-Americans on Long Island across two centuries – from the travails of slavery to the blossoming of free black communities. Scholars will discuss the integral role of slavery in our region’s history and how African-Americans navigated between slavery.

Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and topics of discussion include developing free black communities on Long Island; slavery, freedmen and the Quakers of Long Island; Setauket’s mixed heritage Native-American and African-American communities; gendered experiences in East End captivity and freedom; and lessons learned through Eastville, the Sag Harbor community formed largely by freed people of color. There will be a Q&A session immediately following the morning and afternoon sessions.

Presenters for the symposium include Jonathan Olly, curator of the museum’s Long Road to Freedom exhibition; Mary Elliot, museum specialist at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture; Jennifer L. Anderson, associate professor of history at Stony Brook University; Lynda Day, professor of Africana studies at Brooklyn College; Christopher Matthews, professor of anthropology at Montclair State University; Allison McGovern,  senior archaeologist at VHB Engineering, Survey, Landscape Architecture and Geology, P.C.; and Georgette Grier-Key, executive director and curator at the Eastville Community Historical Society and professor of Africana studies at Nassau Community College.

Those wishing to attend the symposium are asked to preregister by calling 631-751-0066, ext. 211 or email bchiarelli@longislandmuseum.org. Registration fee is $12 per person plus $10 (optional) for lunch. Lunch is also available off-site at Stony Brook area eateries at participant’s expense. 

Snowy Owl by Rainy Sepulveda

By Heidi Sutton

Something special is in the air. From Feb. 9 to 21, the Four Harbors Audubon Society (FHAS) will present a photography exhibit titled A Valentine to Whitman’s Paumanok, featuring the wildlife and landscapes that influenced the early life of one of America’s greatest poets, at The Bates House in Setauket. The venue is a fitting one as it is nestled in the 26-acre Frank Melville Memorial Park where many of the photographs in the exhibit were taken. 

In a recent interview, curator Patricia Paladines, outreach chairman of the FHAS board, said the show will feature the works of 12 photographers who were invited to submit up to five images each. 

The concept for the exhibition came about when Paladines heard from her friend Lise Hintze, who manages The Bates House, that the venue was interested in hosting an art exhibit of some sort. A shutterbug herself, Paladines was familiar with many talented nature photographers who shoot locally. “The whole idea worked very well with the mission of the Four Harbors Audubon Society,” she said. 

Kingfisher by William Walsh

Indeed, the 60-piece collection features breathtaking images of nature, from a great blue heron searching for his next meal, a juvenile kingfisher perched on a branch, a seahorse gripping onto a blade of seagrass in the swift current, to a nest of fluffy cygnets, each more visually stunning than the next.

Exhibiting photographers include Dr. Maria Bowling, Maria Hoffman, Joe Kelly, Anita Jo Lago, Luke Ormand, Christopher Paparo, Derek Rogers, Rainy Sepulveda, Alexandra Srp, Kevin Walsh, William Walsh and Debra Wortzman

“I wanted the show to be a platform for the work of these photographers who dedicate a lot of time capturing the natural beauty of Long Island and hopefully in turn inspire the viewers to make time to go out and enjoy it too in the many parks, preserve and natural shorelines that surround us,” Paladines explained, adding that the idea was to “raise awareness of the variety of wildlife that we can see if we just look around this lovely island.”

The fact that Whitman’s 200th birthday will be celebrated all over the country this year was just coincidental in referencing America’s most celebrated literary figure in the title. “Actually I found that out later,” said Paladines. “I was delighted to learn that it is the bicentennial of Walt Whitman’s birth. I like his poetry and Long Island is where, of course, he was born and where he was inspired early in his life. He uses nature in a lot of his poetry. [When deciding the title] I though it’s Valentine’s Day, this exhibit should be about Long Island and I’ve always liked Whitman’s poem that starts out “Starting from fish-shape Paumanok …” 

Lined Seahorse by Chris Paparo

Paladines is hopeful that this show will become an annual event. “We’ll see how it goes this year,” she laughed.

Join the Four Harbors Audubon Society for an opening reception on Saturday, Feb. 9 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Special guest Darrel Blaine Ford, historian, ornithologist and Walt Whitman personator, will read a few poems from “Leaves of Grass” including “There Was a Child Went Forth.” Refreshments will be served. The exhibit will be on view at The Bates House, 1 Bates Road, Setauket through Feb. 21. All the photographs will be for sale. Call 631-689-7054 or visit www.thebateshouse.org for viewing hours.

Serving the Townships of Smithtown and Northwest Brookhaven, the Four Harbors Audubon Society’s mission is to advocate education and conservation efforts for the enjoyment, preservation and restoration of birds, wildlife and habitat in our communities. The society hosts monthly bird walks at Frank Melville Memorial Park and West Meadow Beach in Setauket, and Avalon Park & Preserve in Stony Brook; lectures at Emma S. Clark Memorial Library; Friday movie nights at the Smithtown Library; field trips; and bird counts including the popular Stone Bridge Nighthawk Watch. For more information, visit www.fourharborsaudubon.com.

A drawing from Torrey’s book, ‘My Dog, Bob’

By Melissa Arnold

For most of his childhood, Richard Torrey dreamed of becoming the world’s first pro hockey player/cartoonist. His father, Bill Torrey, brought home multiple Stanley Cups as a general manager in the National Hockey League. Following in his father’s footsteps was practically his destiny. But young Rich found that his passions were leading elsewhere.

Torrey has spent more than 30 years engaging readers, first as a comic strip creator and later as the author and illustrator of more than 15 children’s books. In February, the North Shore Public Library in Shoreham will showcase his childlike imagination with an exhibit titled, Richard Torrey: The Creative Process.

The cover of Torrey’s ‘Almost’ book

Born in Los Angeles, Torrey grew up all over the U.S. and Canada, spending long summers in a Canadian cabin without TV or other technological distractions.

“I was always drawing,” recalls Torrey, 59, who now resides in Shoreham. “My mind would wander, and I was always coming up with new ideas. I used to cut out the Sunday comics and try to figure out how to draw the characters.”

As luck should have it, Torrey had a chance opportunity to meet beloved Peanuts cartoonist Charles M. Schulz thanks to his father’s career in hockey. Schultz was a diehard fan and season ticketholder for the now-defunct Oakland Seals, where the elder Torrey was general manager in 1970. Rich approached Schulz during a hockey game, eager to present him with a drawing of a horse he’d done recently.

“He wrote feedback on the back of my drawing, and was so kind,” Torrey recalled. “That moment hooked me.”

Still, he found art classes in school terribly boring and too structured, and while he first majored in pre-med at Allegheny College, he knew immediately it wouldn’t work. He got a degree is psychology mostly out of obligation and spent the next several years working with his father, directionless.

But there was plenty of downtime on the job, and Torrey always found himself drawing. Despite self-doubt, his big break finally came in 1984 when his first comic strip, “Heartland,” was picked up for syndication in 180 newspapers.

Torrey would go on to create a successful sports-themed strip called “Pete and Clete,” but as the newspaper industry began to change, he wondered what else he might do for work. 

“Ally-saurus & the First Day of School”

“I looked for avenues that would be a good fit for my style of illustration, and children’s books seemed like the answer,” he said. While Torrey first took jobs illustrating for others, he continued to fill notebooks and reams of cheap paper with drawings, bits of text and storylines of his own. He knew he had to try writing his own books.

“Nine times out of ten it’s going to be a horrible idea, but if you generate enough of them, something is bound to be good,” Torrey said. “All kinds of things inspire me — it might be something on the radio or something my kids did growing up, or just lines that pop into my head.”

Today, Torrey considers himself an artist that writes. His award-winning stories, including “Ally-saurus & the First Day of School” (Sterling), “My Dog, Bob” (Holiday House) and the series “Why,” “Almost” and “Because” (HarperCollins), are drawn or painted almost entirely by hand in a variety of mediums.

Lorena Doherty, adult program coordinator and art coordinator of the North Shore Public Library, said that Torrey is a regular library user and has occasionally read his books to children during special programs there. He is also a well-known speaker at area schools and an instructor at the Art League of Long Island. “Illustrators are genuine artists, and we love to feature local members of our community,” Doherty said. “He uses quick, simple pencil lines in his drawings, and there’s a storyboard quality about them. He’s very playful. This exhibit is different in a fresh way, and I believe it has a wide appeal.”

The exhibit will feature approximately 25 illustrations from Torrey’s career in varied stages of completion, along with text from Torrey explaining his inspirations and work process.

“I think people will enjoy getting a peek into the way I operate when I’m doing a book,” Torrey said. “I talk to kids often, and I tell them that none of it is magic. It’s a lot of work, and a lot of mistakes. There is no single route for creativity. I want people to see the bumps and bruises [in my work]. The path to success isn’t a straight line, it’s more like a ball of yarn.”

See Richard Torrey: The Creative Process from Feb. 1 through 27 at the North Shore Public Library, 250 Route 25A, Shoreham. Torrey will also speak at the library’s Art Forum meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. For more information, please call 631-929-4488.

“Ironing Out the Details” by Nicholas Alberti

The Art League of Long Island recently announced the winners of its 59th Long Island Artists Exhibition. Sixty artists were picked from among the 228 artists who submitted 721 works of art to be considered for selection in this highly competitive juried exhibition. Of those, eight winners were chosen.

The selections were chosen by exhibition juror Tim Newton who is the founder and curator of American Masters, an annual exhibition and sale at the famed Salmagundi Club in New York City.

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE:
‘Jazz is Jazz’ by Alisa Shea of Northport

Awards of Excellence were given to Nicholas Alberti of Wantagh for  his acrylic painting titled “Ironing Out the Details”; Daniel van Benthuysen of Huntington for his oil painting, “The House Down the Street”; Island Park’s Paul Mele for his photograph “Home Sweet Home”; and Alisa Shea of Northport for her watercolor, “Jazz is Jazz.” 

 Honorable Mentions were awarded to Cold Spring Harbor’s Jeffrey Hollman for “Jacob Wrestles the Angel,” wood sculpture; Dix Hill’s Joseph Peragallo for  “The Apprentice Baker, After Vermeer,” photograph; Coram’s Mac Titmus for “To Dream a New Dream,” photograph; and Uniondale’s Marcel Toussaint, “Haitian Slave Revolt Ceremony,” oil painting.

 The Art League is located at 107 East Deer Park Road, in Dix Hills. The 59th Long Island Artists Exhibtion will be on view at The Jeanie Tengelsen Gallery through Feb. 10. Hours are Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.,  Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and weekends from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.   For more information visit www.artleagueli.org or call 631-462-5400.

The Huntington Arts Council recently unveiled its latest exhibit, Discovering Long Island.The juried show features the works of over 40 artists who were selected after submitting work inspired by Long Island’s history and to create a work that focused on an aspect of Long Island’s cultural and natural heritage. Some suggestions were the seaside industry, farm life, Native Americans, the American Revolution, art colonies, photos and paintings of historic landmarks and sites, portraits of reenactors, sculptures of ancestors and assemblages with local artifacts.

Participating artists include Beth A. Atkinson, Anne Barash Breitstein, Holly Black, Paul Cammarata, Christine Carbone, Dorothy M. Chanin, Philip Costa, Joseph Cutolo, Madeline Daversa, Doris Diamond, Vicki Mies Field, Jim Finlayson, Phyllis Goodfriend, Jan Guarino, Rodee Hansen, Beth Heit, Gerry Hirschstein, Geraldine Hoffman, Sonya Horowitz/SRH Perspectives, Melissa Johnides, Kate Kelly, Theo Lau, Jacques LeBlanc, Edward Lee, Melissa Maiello, Carol A. Marano, Jane McGraw, Kristen Memoli, John Micheals, Drigo Morin, Amanda Prangenberg, Howard Pohl, Denis Ponsot, Alissa Rosenberg, Saul Rosenstreich, Jim Sabiston, Donald Sadowsky, Michelle Sepanski, Roya Shamsdiba, Joan Sicignano, Kate Sydney and Don Wilson.

“The works submitted for the Discovering Long Island exhibition were an excellent representation of the spirit of the local landscape and community. I truly enjoyed seeing how the artists conveyed this spirit through varying mediums, from traditional paintings and photographs to three-dimensional and abstract pieces,” said juror Stephanie Gress, director of curatorial affairs for the Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum in Centerport.

Gress chose Anne Barash Breitstein of Huntington’s “Baymen” as Best in Show. Honorable Mentions included “Starry Night at the Fire Island Lighthouse” by Alissa Rosenberg of Commack, “A Day at the Movies” by Donald Sadowsky of Roslyn Heights, “Eaton’s Neck Arrowhead” by Kate Sydney of Northport, “The Memory” by Christine Carbone of Kings Park and “Heckscher Museum” by Theo Lau of Northport.

“Long Island is rich with history and the submissions for this show truly reflect the uniqueness of this call to artists. It’s wonderful to see how artists presented their interpretations is such diverse ways with featuring everything from Long Island lighthouses to an image of a hat maker to a pastel portrait of Walt Whitman. This is a terrific show,” said Executive Director Marc Courtade.

The Huntington Arts Council’s Main Street Gallery, 213 Main St., Huntington will present Discovering Long Island through Jan. 5.  For more information, call 631-271-8423 or visit www.huntingtonarts.org.

To see more images from the exhibit, visit www.tbrnewsmedia.com.

Social

9,358FansLike
0FollowersFollow
1,151FollowersFollow
33SubscribersSubscribe