Artist of the Month

Kyle Blumenthal at work.

The Reboli Center’s June Artisan of the month is Kyle Blumenthal.

Kyle Blumenthal at work.

The Stony Brook resident is a painter as well as an artisan who creates hand painted silk scarves, which will be on display during June at the Reboli Center for Art and History in Stony Brook. In addition, she has several paintings in the Reboli Center’s current “Bloom” exhibit.

Blumenthal is an experienced and New York State licensed Art Education specialist. She studied Illustration and Advertising at the High School of Art and Design. She holds a BFA in Painting and Art Education from Pratt Institute, and a MA and MFA in Painting from Long Island University. She has served as part of the Art/Art History faculty at Empire State College and was recognized for her artistic achievements in 2010, when New York Foundation for the Arts named her a Mark Fellow.

Currently, Blumenthal teaches painting at the National Art League and leads a portfolio program (which she created) at the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn Harbor, New York. Her work has been written about in Arts Magazine, Newsday, The New York Times and Art News. Kyle simultaneously works in many disciplines. Primarily painting with oil on canvas she has also worked as a Designer of Theatrical Installations for dance. She incorporates the ethereal superimposed upon the material as a concept she strives to convey in her work. The artist cultivates a large flower garden at her home, which supplies inspiration and resource for her creative works.

Kyle Blumenthal’s sunflower silk scarf

Blumenthal has exhibited her work at such venues as the Harkness House Gallery, Museum of American Illustration, and the Kean Mason Gallery in Manhattan, The Long Island Museum, Islip Art Museum, Guild Hall, Mills Pond Gallery and Staller Center on Long Island, and Sodarco Gallery in Montreal.

 “I am honored to have been selected as The Reboli Center’s June Artisan. As an artist living in Stony Brook for many years, I feel this brings that sense of community which is important to me. I remember Joseph Reboli picking up frames from the Setauket frame shop as I was also there at the same time getting tips on how to make my own frames. I remember that his were custom ordered and it was the latest framing for oil paintings. Once again it is the kindness extended to artists and the community that carries on,” said Blumenthal.

Lois Reboli, a founder and president of the Reboli Center said, “Kyle’s work is exquisite, and her scarves are just beautiful. Her silk scarves are very popular in our design shop so we are very happy to have her as our June Artisan.”

The Reboli center is located at 64 Main Street in Stony Brook and is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, please call 631-751-7707.

Photo Captions:

Kyle Blumenthal at work

Kyle Blumenthal’s sunflower silk scarf

Artist statement:

I paint as if in a dream highlighting my everyday experiences in poetic color and form with emotion. My subjects range from still life, landscapes, and portraits in the photorealistic style and futuristic visionary paintings with a surreal edge.’

By Irene Ruddock

In this interview, you will gain insight on a remarkable artist; a photorealist and visionary explorer who seeks to discover the inner world through art. Born deaf, Charles Wildbank achieved degrees from Yale, Pratt, and Columbia. After a few years of teaching deaf students, Wildbank burst upon the art world with his Fifth Avenue window showcases in New York City, portraits of David Hockney and Luciano Pavarotti and his famed eight foot tall rendering of the Cartier diamond. Read on to be amazed and uplifted by his fascinating career and inner depth that has transformed this artist’s vision and ours along with it. 

Tell us about your beginning forays in the world of art? How did being deaf affect your choosing art as your life’s work?

There were hardly any options when it came to communicating as a deaf child other than pointing or drawing sketches to have others understand me. This was followed by strong approvals and eventually requests for some art from me. That is how my art career blossomed since I got adept at rendering just about anything.

How do you hear now? How did you learn to speak so well which is a difficult obstacle for the deaf?

Without wearing a hearing device, I am deaf as a stone, oblivious to all sounds. My parents, in realizing my lack of hearing as a toddler, brought home a rather large amplifier with headphones. For me, it was one of the best gifts. Music would be one of my first sounds. Also, I would wear them in front of a black and white television watching cartoons. This was followed shortly with a large new hearing aid which I could wear strapped around my chest for play outside. This helped me learn to speak and listen and not just read lips. 

It was only recently that I received a pair of cochlear implants. That is when I first picked up the sound of fizz when opening a bottle of Perrier water! Every morning since, i woke up to a cacophony of bird songs outside.

For the most part, I enjoy painting in complete silence. Music is always my love as it was my first sound. For instance, I get so moved by the vocal range of one of Maria Callas’ arias, only possible through my cochlear implants. I am so grateful for this timely modern technology. Also, I am grateful for the closed captioning, for through this, I hear most everything, I am still learning how to listen and recognize language by ear. In retrospect, all those years of speech therapy after school hours were worth it!

Being understood has been a very challenging feat for me and it was though family and friends who would help me enunciate new words. It was perhaps through my willingness to accept feedback without feeling criticized which may have been an essential key to this day.

As a former teacher, I was most impressed by your heartfelt desire for parents to encourage children in their passions and gifts. Can you tell us about your family and the importance of their support in your life’s choice of art.

The idea of praising children for any accomplishment became the norm in my family and it is likely not just love, but the side benefit of children giving back. All my siblings had many talents and in turn received their nourishment and it made us all so proud. I’d wish this for every child in this world as it has such a transforming effect on their overall being. Literally, vices such as bullyism and wars would vanish. One cannot underestimate the power of the arts in our love starved world of today. All it would take is some beautiful architecture, some color in the room, some fashion, some life changing art, or a song to make one’s life turn around for the better!

How has your art progressed since the initial foray into the art world?  

Though I was mostly self-taught, attending art college landed me into such a creative and stimulating environment among like peers. We visited many museums and galleries and took opportunities to remain inspired such as meeting older professional artists. My art output increased among the local art fairs in the Hamptons due to the delightfully growing demand for my art. 

Can you describe the exemplary ‘Hado Series?’ 

After many years of paving out a career in such hyper- real fashion on Fifth Avenue, I wished to make a leap of imagination by adding a touch of surrealism in my newer work. Since many of my dreams contain a common element of water with giant waves throughout, I adopted this Japanese word HADO, which means “wave”.  To achieve this subliminal oceanic effect, I incorporated some of my photographs with  digital tools such as photoshop. I do anything I wished with my more mundane images thus transforming them into another realm from my imaginative choosing. This is followed by using these final images as notes as I paint from my laptop onto a very large canvas. This visual show can observed in my recent “Tempest” and “Emergence” murals.

A lot of us are lost when it comes to understanding digital art, yet you have achieved remarkable work that is not remote or cold in feeling but touches the soul. Can you explain this?

Instead of a computer mouse, I use a special stylus digital pen and tablet with my laptop in creating new images. My photo diaries are uploaded for this purpose, and I often start with a dream in mind’s eye and find elements in reality that I can morph into the composition on the screen. This would take many hours to achieve to my satisfaction. Finally, a grid is laid upon the approved image and sketched by hand onto a new blank canvas. Digitally I can add and take away elements that do not belong and amplify to match any given emotion or whim. Once sketched upon the canvas in pencil, I proceed to paint and brush onto that canvas  with acrylic paint. This process usually take several months to complete.

Your portraits of everyday people are as mesmerizing as your famous portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. What is it that draws you to a person?

Portraits are a very dear subject for me, particularly large ones. Whenever someone visually grabs my attention for any reason, I usually make a request for a pose which often goes rewarded. Perhaps it is their hair or certain attitude that I find appealing.  Essentially, I look for that timeless feeling. 

Your commission to paint for the ocean liner The Queen Mary 2 had to be an exciting honor. 

For those murals on board the QM2, I was approached by agents representing Cunard Lines in Amsterdam by e-mail because my website must have captured their strong interest. There were requirements to be met and one interesting one was that the murals had to be flame proof. After some search online then, I was able to locate a canvas manufacturer that makes this Trevira (TM) brand and ordered 10-foot-wide rolls 40 feet long from Nurnberg, Germany. The ship’s insurance company in London requested my canvas sample and it passed the flame test. These tall murals depict coastal scenes of England and America and are now hung by the elevators on board the QM2. Fans having sailed on board would thoughtfully send me selfies confirming they have admired these murals. Such gestures would make my day.

You are presently showing your work at the Reboli Center’s Bloom exhibit in Stony Brook. What piece do you have on exhibit there? 

Originally, I was going to include my latest “Grand Florale” at this Reboli  Exhibition “Bloom”, however, fortunately and unfortunately, I had sold the mural, all 11 feet of it to a private collector. I decided to exhibit one of my favorites titled, “The Path” which depicts one of my refreshing walks by the beach path covered with rugosa roses in bloom.

How can the public view your work ? 

Visit my latest website, http://wildbankfineart.com and facebook page under “Charles Wildbank” and view my story on the Reboli Center website. Also, I welcome visitors to my studio in Jamesport to see my work in person or to join a group for art lessons by appointment.

Chris Wagner with his owl carving. Photo from Reboli Center

The Reboli Center’s May Artisan of the month is Chris Wagner, Chainsaw Carving Connoisseur.

Chris Wagner was born and raised on Long Island and resides in West Sayville. He is a trained chef and director of food services at a health care facility. It was while that he was working as a chef and researching ice sculpting that he added another dimension to his career. He was enamored by the technique of carving, all be it a bit dangerous, but was compelled to learn the trade. In the summer of 2013 he spent several days learning the basic techniques with well-known carver Barre Pinske at his studio in Vermont. He left with a new creative side job and a love of the medium.

A pelican carving by Chris Wagner. Photo from Reboli Center

Over the years he developed his craft and was able to establish a shop at a local firewood distribution center – provided with a continuous source of discarded wood and an area conducive to the level of noise he generates during his creative process.

Chris Wagners’s statues are primarily animals, very detailed oriented. His pieces are carved with a massive blade. He brings birds and animals to life in a variety of woods. When completed, he uses a blowtorch to burn a smooth finish on each design. This technique illustrates the natural grain in the wood and adds a depth to each piece. To withstand inclement weather, the final step is to stain the work after a relief cut is installed in the back of the sculpture to preserve the wood. Consequently, with chainsaw carving, no two pieces are alike so each one is a one-of-a kind original work of art. He does accept commissions, so please contact The Reboli Center.

According to Chris, “I am familiar with Joe Reboli’s work and he was an amazing artist. I am so honored and thankful to be able to show my work in a museum named for him.” Lois Reboli, president and founder of The Reboli Center said, “This is the first time we have had a chainsaw carving sculptor as our artisan of the month. We are so proud to feature his unique and whimsical work. It is a wonderful addition to our current “Bloom” and floral exhibit at the Center. We hope everyone will be as thrilled with his sculptures as we are.”

The Reboli Center is located at 64 Main Street in Stony Brook, and is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and for more information, please call 631-751-7707.

Artist Keith Lewis in his studio. Photo from Reboli Center

During the month of April, the Reboli Center for Art and History in Stony Brook will showcase the art of jeweler Keith Lewis.

Lewis was not like your average six year old. At that age, he began collecting corn silk from the family garden and bits of broken glass. He imagined them to be like gold and diamonds. Growing up in Europe and Asia, he continued to be enthralled by jewelry, so much so that at 12 years old, he learned to cut gems in South Korea at a lapidary shop and to cast and construct jewelry shortly afterwards.

Heart Earrings by Keith Lewis

Lewis studied art at several universities and graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts in Goldsmithing from SUNY New Paltz in New York. Shortly after graduation, he participated in his first craft show and hasn’t stopped. In fact, Lewis has had the opportunity to show his work in nearly every major craft exhibition in the United States. His Mica Pod earrings were chosen to be the logo for the 2010 Smithsonian Craft2Wear exhibition.

According to Lewis, his process for creating jewelry entails incorporating, “the materials, textures and surprises found in nature. I am currently using amber Mica which I layer with 23K gold-leaf, carving volcanic stone and Anthracite, which I inset with natural pearls and precious stones.

Recycled earrings by Keith Lewis

“In addition,  I create my copper finishes using a Japanese technique called Hiirodo where I heat the finished copper shape until brightly glowing, then plunge it into boiling water to achieve a plum red appearance. In what I call the ‘Raku’ version of this patina, variations in the surface coloration are created by pressing the white-hot copper onto wood, causing flames and smoke which change what would have been an even, plum red finish into more organic tan and dark brown colors. The diverse materials I work with require a combination of goldsmithing techniques to turn them into a piece of finished jewelry.” 

“At the Reboli Center, we not only admire Keith’s beautiful designs and unique materials, but also that for more than 20 years he has been donating a portion of the sales for his ‘heart’ earrings to the Family of Woodstock. This organization provides shelter and services for victims of domestic violence. At shows, buyers of ‘heart’ earrings are given a SASE to send the full cost of the earrings directly to the shelter. He truly is a gem,” said Lois Reboli, founder and president of The Reboli Center.

The Reboli Center is located at 64 Main Street in Stony Brook. Operating hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.  Admission is free, and for more information, call 631-751-7707.

By Irene Ruddock

Artist Doug Reina

Artist statement:

‘I paint Modified-Realism by altering and enhancing colors, using more abstract compositions, and leaving large areas of the painting an ambiguous black.’

Doug Reina, a well-known Long Island artist, is currently preparing for his first solo exhibit at Gallery North in Setauket. Titled Prolonged Perceptions: Recent Paintings by Doug Reina, the exhibit will run from April 7 to May 22 with an opening reception on April 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. and an ArTalk on April 9 at 6 p.m.

I had a chance to dig deeper into the artistic vision of this prestigious artist when I visited his studio located at 290 Main Street, Setauket where he gives lessons every Thursday. Be sure to view his website dougreina.com for additional information about his distinguished career.

When did you first realize your interest and talent in art? 

Ever since I was a small child, I had an interest in making art that expressed my feelings. I sensed that I had talent for art based on the reaction my work was getting from my art teachers and classmates.

Do you remember the first piece of art that you created? 

When I was four or so, I decided to run away by doing a self-portrait showing me running away, which I slipped under my folk’s bedroom door. As I recall it got a really big, affectionate reaction from my mom!

Your parents are involved in the art world. Can you tell us about them and how they influenced you? 

My dad is a sculptor who made large public bronze works. He also taught art at Nassau Community College, where he was the director of the Art department. My mom was also an artist and had a gallery of contemporary crafts in Cold Spring Harbor. The home was full of original, contemporary art. I think having all that work to soak in over the years helped me to develop my own sense of aesthetics. 

Who else was instrumental in encouraging you to pursue your art? 

Stan Brodsky, a Long Island painter, became a mentor to me when I was a student in his Advanced Painting class. Stan opened my eyes about how much more a painting could express. I know I was very lucky to have those classes in that stage of my artistic development. I had the privilege of interviewing Stan about his artistic life at the Reboli Center which you can view on YouTube.  

Can you name another artist whose work you admired and gave you inspiration?  

When I first saw Richard Diebenkorn’s loose, gestural, figurative paintings I was blown off my feet. I see that he’s choosing colors because that’s what he feels the painting needs, rather than what reality says it’s supposed to be. But the thing that always gets me is the way he’ll paint something that’s loosely realistic but arrange the composition in such a way that the painting also feels somehow abstract. 

 Your latest works are going to be shown at Gallery North in a solo show titled Prolonged Perception. How would you describe these pieces? 

They are paintings of the things I am attracted to — obscure, ordinary spaces of contemporary life that are often overlooked. I paint over a blackened canvas, which makes the colors really pop. It also allows for some interesting effects when the black shows through the thin sections of color. But most importantly, I can leave large areas to remain black. This changes the paintings, as they are no longer “normal” fully rendered scenes. The black creates both a powerful design element as well as an equally powerful psychological quality in the work.  

What feelings would you like the viewer to come away with?

I’d like them to feel they are seeing something new and fresh with beautiful color and compositions that have an abstract painting quality to them. I’d like them to take in a view of something often overlooked, yet possess some interesting emotional vibe that is worth slowing down for and considering.   

Your recently published book, Under the Covers, showcases your cartoon work which has been described as ‘absurd, hilarious, and surprisingly touching.’ How did you become interested in cartooning?

My first love as a child artist was drawing cartoons. I continued through my adult life and had some luck getting them published with The New Yorker magazine as well as with King Features Syndicate. I have a love for vintage fountain pens and always have a sketchbook on hand to amuse myself. A few years ago, I had started posting my little doodles from my sketchbook onto Instagram, where they amused my friends and like-minded strangers. I was advised to put them into a book which has been very well-received and can be purchased on Amazon.  

Your immensely popular paintings on cigar boxes are another unique way you express your art. How did that come about? 

There is another Richard Diebenkorn influence. I had read that he would take the lids off cigar boxes, paint directly onto them and give them as gifts to his friends. I do it a little differently though, in that, I like the paper border around the cigar boxes and use that as a “frame” for my paintings. l also left the lid on the box. In fact, I glue them to the box which allows the entire box to be hung on a wall to be presented just like a regular painting.

You have many facets to your creativity, but many still admire your Long Island landscapes. How do you perceive these paintings?

I think my plein air paintings have a freshness to them that I find often hard to replicate when working in the studio. I can always tell the difference between the two types of paintings.  Whenever I paint outdoors, I feel a sense of urgency, as the weather is changing and the sun is on the move — so, there’s no time wasted. I begin to paint ahead of my mind, and I paint more with my heart. That puts an energy into the brushstrokes and that gives the paintings a nice sense of life to them.

Your figurative work encompasses a plethora of interesting characters. What is it about a person that intrigues you to paint them? 

People have so much character that they can add a powerful mood to a painting quite nicely. Plus, they can be a “stand in” for the viewer or me and help tell a type of story in the painting that we all share and feel as humans. 

The prestigious Pollack-Krasner award was given to you twice. What did receiving that award mean to you and how did you utilize it? 

I was honored to have received those grants from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. As an artist, it made me feel like my work had merit and I was on the right track. The grant money has enabled me to open and maintain my studio, which has been here on Main Street in Setauket since 2014. 

Your work is in many private collections. Is there one that brought you the most fulfillment? 

Yes, I was commissioned to paint a copy of Washington Crossing the Delaware. This was a complicated painting that took many months to complete. When it was completed, I felt that I had become a stronger, more confident painter. It’s on my website under the Commissions section if you’d like to see it. (www.dougreina.com) 

What is your lifetime goal as an artist? 

To have a long and healthy life where I can continue to make art that means something to me and to the people who exhibit it and collect it.  

A butter dish by Hannah Niswonger

For the month of March, the Reboli Center for Art & History in Stony Brook’s featured artisan is potter Hannah Niswonger.

Artist Hannah Niswonger

“Hannah Niswonger’s whimsical work is so striking, colorful, cheerful and unique, we’re thrilled to welcome her as the Reboli Center’s March Artisan. We’re sure everyone will be delighted by her creative mix of vibrant designs and realistic animal portraits in her pottery. They are so adorable and colorful that they make you feel so happy,” said Lois Reboli, president and a founder of The Reboli Center.

Niswonger fell in love with clay while in college at Wesleyan in Middletown, Connecticut, where she earned a BA in studio art.  Hannah received a MFA in ceramic sculpture from Alfred University in Alfred, New York. She is currently teaching at Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and has taught courses in ceramics at Harvard University, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition, Hannah frequently teaches sculpture classes.  She gives workshops nationally, as well as exhibiting in galleries throughout the United States. Hannah also participates in juried craft shows, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art Show, the Smithsonian Craft Show and CraftBoston. A resident of Melrose, Massachusetts, she lives there with her husband, three children, one dog and two rabbits.

Plates designed by Hannah Niswonger

According to Hannah, “I build functional pots out of white stoneware. My tools are simple: a knife, a serrated metal rib, a sponge, a brush. All of my work is hand-built from slabs of clay. I love working with slabs like fabric; the pots are sewn together, scored along the edges, nipped and tucked together to make rounded forms from sheets of clay. Using a Chinese calligraphy brush, I paint bone dry pots with under-glaze stains, which act like an ink wash or watercolors on the absorbent surface of the clay. I scratch and carve into the drawings, adding and removing details. The pin tool is both pencil and eraser, adding white to the drawing. I use wax to create motifs that are reminiscent of printed patterns.”

In addition to creating functional pottery of plates, cups, bowls, teapots, serving pieces with images of animals, birds, and fish, Hannah also makes prints, drawings, sculpture and tile pieces. “I love developing new patterns and strategies for adding layers of image and color to clay. This has allowed me to bring printmaking into the ceramic studio. Pattern and color anchor my animals to the pots. They serve as frames, and backgrounds, so that the animals exist in their own narrow space around the pots,” added Hannah.

The Reboli Center is located at 64 Main Street in Stony Brook, and is open Tuesday – Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, please call 631-751-7707.

During February, The Reboli Center for Art & History in Stony Brook is proud to display the stunning botanical and cast glass jewelry created by Michael Michaud Design, as well as by his son Michael Vincent Michaud. According to Four Seasons Design Group, which represents the two companies, “The cast glass processes very much like the lost wax process of casting metal into jewelry. The glass is melted into a mold and then cooled and cleaned reproducing the shapes and colors to be placed into the metal bezels. During the process some air may be trapped in with the solidifying of the glass. It is those bubbles inside that make each piece unique and one of a kind.”

The Michael Michaud Design collection reflects his exceptional knowledge of jewelry making and his love of nature. He started as an apprentice mold cutter in 1973 and worked his way towards being a master precious metal caster and moldmaker. While a student at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Craftsmen, he learned many of the techniques that he still uses today to create his designs of nature in metal. Michaud worked for some of American’s leading jewelry designers before starting his own company.

Michael Vincent Michaud, the son of renowned jewelry designer Michael Michaud, studied with some of the finest glass artists at various institutions including the prestigious Corning and Urban glass programs. He was inspired by his father’s high craftsmanship and love of “art glass.” He was fortunate to begin his career at his father’s studio and collaborated with him to create glass elements for jewelry collections licensed by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and The Victoria and Albert Museum in London. This experience enabled him and his brother Shane, who handles the business side, to create their own company, Michael Vincent Michaud, in 2011.

Their jewelry collection consists of pendants, necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings, brooches and table art such as serving pieces, utensils, trivets and napkin rings.

“For the first time, The Reboli Center is delighted to showcase artisans who are a father and son.  Our Design Shop features some of the jewelry created by Michael Michaud Design, as well as by his son, Michael Vincent Michaud. Their jewelry is exquisitely detailed and so luminous when it catches the light,” said Lois Reboli, a founder and president of the Reboli Center.

The Reboli Center is located at 64 Main Street in Stony Brook, and is open Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free and for more information, please call 631-751-7707.

By Irene Ruddock

Marlene Weinstein

Marlene Weinstein, who “lives and creates” in Setauket, is a much sought-after photographer and mixed-media artist. She has exhibited her photo-art at many well-known galleries across Long Island and NYC, and has won numerous awards from publications, galleries, and art fairs. On my studio visit, I was able to learn more about this diverse photography artist. You may visit her website marleneweinsteinphoto.com, or on Instagram at marlene.weinstein. 

Many people think of photography as capturing a moment in time. How does that belief match your artistic vision? 

That’s certainly one aspect of photography. However, photography has been admired as a unique art form since the early 1900’s. Photographic art creates its own reality through thoughtful use of a specific camera lens, composition, lighting, exposure, and other techniques. When we reconsider the idea that the camera is just a recording instrument, then we can appreciate its versatility. My belief is that the camera is merely another tool used to produce art.

What inspires you to try to capture the perfect image? 

Most of my photography is inspired by the beauty of Long Island’s everyday landscapes, and everyday objects. I’m very drawn to simple scenes with a quiet beauty such as a solitary, silhouetted tree or a rustic barn, and especially foggy, ethereal weather. I also love to compose still life, which is a fun exercise when it’s dark or cold outside.

Did you go to school to study photography ? 

I have degrees in Computer Science and Computer Graphics, and my full-time job is in the technology field. I do have experience in painting so perhaps that is why my work is often referred to as a “painterly.” I’m completely self-taught in photography. It took a lot of practice and experimentation. Photography was another way to be artistic and I found that I loved it! And eventually, my comfort with technology made it easier for me to migrate from film to digital photography.

Was there a photographer who influenced you and how did they affect your career path? 

Alfred Stieglitz was a maverick who founded the historic “Camera Work” publication in the early 1900’s and insisted upon the then-radical idea that photography was an artistic medium. Other 20th-century photographers I admire are Eduard Steichen, Imogen Cunningham, and Man Ray, all quite innovative and experimental. 

What kind of camera do you use and what lenses are your favorite?

I use a full-frame Canon 6D. My most-used lenses are a long zoom for getting in close, and a wide-angle lens for capturing expansive landscapes and creating interesting perspectives. I recently acquired an older Hasselblad medium-format film camera and am looking forward to learning how to use it. 

How do you begin to create your photography? 

These are the questions I ask myself about every one of my photographs: What would I like to share about this subject? Is it color, pattern, motion, emotion? How can I express this? I want viewers to feel a connection to the image, to stop and linger.

Your work is unique in that many of your works are hand-painted. How do you go about creating those? 

Marlene Weinstein

I begin by printing the image in black and white. I then paint selected areas with PanPastels, using brushes and sponges. My technique results in a very soft, vintage look. I treat the image as a painting, paying particular attention to light and shadows, color, and contrast. Sometimes I add colored pencil for fine details. Completing one hand-painted photograph can take a few hours to a few weeks. 

Another distinctive type of photograph you create is called a cyanotype. Could you explain what that is?

Cyanotype is an historic, hand-printed photographic process that is created through UV exposure. There’s no camera! It produces iconic blue and white prints and was originally invented for making blueprints. Cyanotype is a completely manual, unpredictable, and rewarding process that produces fascinating results! 

How do you incorporate mixed media into your photographs?

My mixed media work blends my love of photography with the joy of creating one-of-a-kind, unique handmade art. My favorite technique is to print a photograph on delicate, translucent Japanese paper, and layer it over other papers to add color, pattern, and texture. Then, I’ll paint with acrylics or other media to get the desired effect.  

Do you have a favorite photo? 

One of my favorite photos is “Flight in Fog.” I just happened to catch a flock of geese taking off on a foggy winter morning over a marsh at Sunken Meadow and their line of flight was mirrored perfectly in the water below.

What is the most rewarding part about being a photographer?

It is so satisfying when my finished image is close to what I’ve envisioned. I also feel like my photographs are helping to preserve the memories of this area. When I was younger, I never dreamed that I would sell my photographs. I found it a challenge to do outdoor shows at first, but now I really enjoy talking about my artwork to people.

What kind of workshops do you offer?

I occasionally offer hand-painted photography workshops through Gallery North in Setauket. I’ve also been thinking about a phone photography workshop, or a photography class geared to artists. Stay tuned!

What are your future plans in photography? 

Oh, lots of things! I’ve been getting more and more into hand-altered photographs, because I love creating one-of-a-kind pieces. I’d like to try photo-based collage, printing more on handmade paper, and also more solar plate printing.  

Where can we see your work? 

At the moment, I have work at the Long Island Museum and the Reboli Center in Stony Brook, Gallery North in Setauket, and the Alex Ferrone Gallery in Cutchogue. And just this week, the beautiful Long Island based Paumanok, Transition anthology featuring poems and photographs by Long Islanders was published with one of my photographs on the cover! The book is edited by the tireless and dedicated Kathaleen Donnelly and is currently available as an e-book on Amazon.

By Irene Ruddock

Patricia Yantz

Patricia Yantz, a Three Village resident, is known for her acrylic and pastel landscape paintings. A former secondary art teacher at Sachem School District, she is also involved in many community organizations such as the Three Village Historical Society where she was a former president. 

Presently, she is a joint coordinator of the Candlelight House Tour, on the Steering Committee for the Long Island Museum, and member of the Three Village Garden Club. She belongs to art organizations such as the Setauket Artists, North Shore Art Guild, LIMarts, and Smithtown Township Art Council. She especially enjoys teaching acrylic and watercolor classes at Ward Melville High School’s Continuing Education Program.

W hen did you first become interested in art? 

At an early age I used to watch my father draw wood boats and create his own designs of boats he wanted to build. As I sat next to him, he gave me some drawing paper and I started to draw boats too!

Who were your other role models? 

Besides my father, Sister Lucy at Saint Mary’s High School in Manhasset inspired me to pursue art in college. Later in life, I was inspired by our local icon Joe Reboli. I watched as he took a common view, such as a road or mailbox, and transform it into a masterpiece! It was truly magical. Lastly, the person who helped me find my artistic niche was you! My involvement with the Setauket Artists along with your constant encouragement and faith in me has made all the difference.

It is kind of you to say that! Thank you. Why did you choose acrylics and pastels as your medium? 

I switched from oil many years ago for health and safety reasons. Also, after my cat walked across my freshly painted oil painting and then walked all over my new rug, I decided it was time for a change!

What feelings do you want to evoke when people see your paintings? 

The most important thing I want the people to come away with is a sense of peace. I think color changes the emotion and the feel of a painting, so I often work in warm colors to uplift the viewer.

Where do you like to paint and why?

 Living in this beautiful area is a constant source of inspiration to me. Painting it is a natural outgrowth of my environment. I am truly in awe by the stunning sunsets, meandering waterways and lavish landscapes that invoke a sense of place as well as a sense of peace. I am especially drawn to the creek at West Meadow, Avalon Nature Preserve, and Stony Brook Harbor.

How would you describe your work? 

I have learned so much about tonal aspects and value which I try to incorporate into my paintings. I try to harmonize or unify colors in terms of light and atmosphere. Yet, I do not use a limited palette, but instead look for atmosphere and temperature when creating.

You have won many awards. Tell us about an award that has meant a lot to you? 

I was recently given the incredible award of the 2021 Honored Artist voted on by the Setauket Artists. The artists gave me encouragement, faith, and support over the years which has been a vital part in motivating me to continue this artistic journey.

Why is art important in the world? 

I feel art is so important because imagination is the beginning of creating. This creativity engages the mind and enables alternative ways of thinking and seeing. With so much emphasis on critical thinking, creating art makes one think not only critically, but analytically which is often overlooked in today’s world. Art is a bridge where artists can, through their paintings, communicate universally to reach people around the world.

Where can we see your work?

 I am currently showing my work at the 41st annual Setauket Artists Exhibition at the Setauket Neighborhood House until November 14th. I will be part of “Celebrate the Season” exhibit at the Reboli Center in Stony Brook, “Deck the Halls” at Gallery North in Setauket, and the “2021 Atelier Invitational” at The Atelier at Flowerfield in St. James. To get in touch with me, you may contact setauketartists.com.

The Reboli Center of Art and History, 64 Main St., Stony Brook is pleased to showcase the fine work of Sound Beach based potter, Russell Pulick.

“He has enthralled pottery enthusiasts for more than 40 years with his beautiful designs and craftsmanship,” said Lois Reboli, a founder of the Reboli Center.

Russell Pulick is well-known in the craft show arena where he has been selling his pottery since 1976. His work is also sold through galleries around the country and on four continents. He was an instructor at the Art League of Long Island for 18 years, their studio manager for four years, and taught at the St. James Harbor Country Day School’s summer art program for 14 years. In 2018, he teamed up with several other potters to create The Brick Clay Studio & Gallery in St. James that offers classes, open studio hours and a gallery. He teaches beginner and advanced students there.

According to the artist, “Most of what I know about pottery, I taught myself through research and experimentation. The pots I make are all handmade. They are either ‘thrown’ on a wheel or hand built using the slab construction method. I use speckled brown stoneware clay and fire to 2232 degrees in an electric kiln. I make all the glazes and all are lead free and safe for use with food, as well as in the dishwasher. The pottery is quite durable and may be used in the microwave and conventional ovens. As with most pottery it is not meant to be used on the stove top.”

Pulick designs and creates the following items: bowls; boxes; butter dishes; cups; dip dishes; hand built trays; jars; pitchers and tea pots. He also offers kiln repair and parts, as well as glaze services. His clients include many school districts and universities throughout Long Island. “Being a potter has allowed me to set my own schedule and to be available for my family, never missing important events in my daughter’s life,” he added.

His work will be on view during the month of October. Hours for the gallery are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.  Admission is free. For more information, call 631-751- 7707 or visit www.rebolicenter.org.