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Irene Ruddock

Looking for that perfect holiday gift? The Smithtown Township Arts Council’s annual Fine Art for the Holidays exhibit and marketplace kicks off at the Mills Pond Gallery, 660 Route 25A, St. James on Dec. 4 and runs through Dec. 18.

The exhibit features more than 65 original works created by the Setauket Artists. Exhibiting artists include Ross Barbera, Shain Bard, Ron Becker, Sheila Breck, Joyce Bressler, Renee Caine, Al Candia, Gail L. Chase, Anthony Davis, Julie Doczi, Margaret Governale, William Graf, Flo Kemp, John Mansueto, Celeste Mauro, Jane McGraw-Teubner, Eleanor Tyndall Meier, Frederic Mendelsohn, Muriel Mussara, Paula Pelletier, Joan Rockwell, Robert Roehrig, Irene Ruddock, Oscar Santiago, Carole Link Scinta, Barbara Jeanne Siegel, Angela Stratton, Marlene Weinstein and Patricia Yantz.

An opening reception will be held on Dec. 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. to meet the exhibiting artists, view their work and have the opportunity to purchase affordable, one-of-a-kind, original fine art for friends or loved ones while supporting the creation and sale of locally produced fine art.

Gallery hours are Wednesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 4 pm. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, call 631-862-6575 or visit www.millspondgallery.org.

By Irene Ruddock

Gail Laines Chase is a Stony Brook resident who has delighted followers of her paintings for years. She graduated Wilkes College where she received her teaching degree and was able to take art classes which she enjoyed. 

Chosen by the Setauket Artists to be the Honored Artist at the 42nd Setauket Artists Exhibition for 2022, Chase exhibits her work in Gallery North, Mills Pond Gallery, Long Island Museum and the Port Jefferson Village Center. Chase is often seen painting in plein air, a method she feels helps capture the mood of the scene. Her versatility is evident in the mediums she pursues: watercolor, oil and pastel. 

Artist Gail Chase
Artist statement:
My goal is to communicate to the viewer the joy I feel in painting.

You were originally known as a water colorist. Why do you like that medium? 

I love the spontaneity of watercolor. There is something about the feel of the brush gliding across the paper that intrigues me. Painting in watercolor is like taking a mini vacation. Should the muse happen to call and the painting works, that is truly serendipitous! I become lost in its magic; the light, shape, line, but most of all the color. I love color in clothing, the decoration of my home, but most of all in painting. 

What do you like about working with  pastels and oils?

In pastel and oil, again it is the color that I’m drawn to. I love the intensity of the colors because an artist can get the deep saturated color values immediately. Not to mention, pastels and oil is much more easily corrected than watercolor, should an “oops” occur!

What inspires you to paint?

 I’m inspired by nature. I love painting at West Meadow creek which I call my “still waters” place. I love the morning light and the sunsets are spectacular! We are so fortunate to live on Long Island  where there are so many beautiful venues.  

Who influenced you in your art? 

I was blessed to have a grandmother who encouraged me to garden and love nature. Growing up in Pennsylvania, I loved the mountains and pine woods, but when I moved to Long Island, I added the shore and wetlands to that love.   

I’m also inspired by Renoir, Monet and Van Gogh. I was fortunate to study with fine and talented women artists who became my mentors: Harriet Christman, Adelaide Silkworth, Janet Walsh, Ruth Baderian, Katherine Hiscox, and, more recently, local pastelist Mary Jane van Zeijts. 

As a teacher, did you bring art into the classroom? 

Yes, I enjoyed influencing the children by incorporating art into the curriculum. I enjoyed watching the children blossom, nurturing their creativity and senses. When I think of my years in the classroom, a line from Sara Teasdale’s poem Barter comes to mind “… And little children looking up, Holding wonder like a cup.”

Do you have a network of artists?

 I am blessed to have a network of artist friends. We lift up each other’s efforts with positive criticism and support. Best of all, we have become good friends who are there for each other in times of sunshine and shade. 

Tell us about your greeting card collection. 

My watercolor and pastel images have been reproduced as a collection of greeting cards. It began by just sending these cards to friends to which I added poetry. After a time, it has morphed into a business. The cards may be purchased from my website (glcimpressions.com) or in my home studio by appointment.  

Why do you think art is important to society? 

Art is important to society because it speaks to humanity’s better angels. All of the arts are important because they move us to a higher plane of thinking and feeling.

How does art help you in other areas of your life? 

Art brings me joy and gratitude for the beauty of nature. It helps relieve the stress of everyday busyness. It helps me to really look, see and appreciate the gift of a beautiful world. 

The cooler weather and falling leaves signals the return of a perennial favorite, the Setauket Artists annual exhibition at the Setauket Neighborhood House. The show opens with a festive autumn reception on Oct. 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. and runs through Nov. 16.

“The SNH is the perfect venue for our work as it is beautiful, historical and located right in the heart of the community. It gives the Setauket Artists the opportunity to abide by our motto, painting to provide ‘Art for a Lifetime!'” said Irene Ruddock, president of the organization.

Now in its 42nd year, the exhibit will feature the paintings of over 40 local artists, many of which depict the beautiful waterways, bridges, flora and fauna, and historical buildings that make this area so special. 

Judging the show is Charles Wildbank, the famous photorealist, muralist, and fine art oil painter who was first known when he rendered the famed Cartier diamond work for Fifth Avenue windows. His stunning ocean scene, “Dawn at Sea,” will surely capture your heart.

As a yearly tradition, the Setauket Artists group invites work each year by beloved artist Joseph Reboli supplied by the Reboli Center of Art and History. Another guest artist is Gia Horton who recently was on the cover of Dan’s Papers. Enjoy her oils of Long Island boating and landscape scenes, especially of the east end.  

This year’s honored artist is Gail L. Chase. “Gail was chosen for her beautifully charming watercolor, oil, and pastel paintings, as well for her years of dedication to the show. Whenever we need help, Gail is always willing to accommodate us. Hers is an honor truly deserved,” said Ms. Ruddock.

For the 17th year, Fred Bryant of Bryant Funeral Home, an avid art collector, is the organization’s sponsor. “Fred has been a godsend to the group providing us with funds to cover our various needs such as signs, brochures, and announcements. The artists are grateful for his loyal support, and he is much appreciated by all of us,” Ms. Ruddock said. 

The beautiful exhibit offers diversity of mediums such as “Sunflower Serenade” by watercolorist Eleanor Meier, “LaGuardia” by pastel artist Julie Doczi, “Willow Pond” by acrylic artist Ross Barbera, and “North Shore Inlet,” a collage and acrylic mixed-media painting by Celeste Mauro. 

The Setauket show wouldn’t be the same without the popular local artists. Much admired photographer Marlene Weinstein is displaying her sought after local scenes. Flo Kemp’s soft-ground etchings and daughter Karen Kemp’s oil on board paintings will be on exhibit. Look for Kyle Blumenthal’s interpretation of ballet dancer Nijinsky with its vibrant colors and contemporary flair that is very enlightening. 

Ms. Ruddock attributes the Setauket  Artists’ success to the group’s sheer talent as each is highly recognized in their field. “However, what makes our group different from other groups is that we have a great sense of camaraderie and work together as a team. We are  always putting our clients, the valued members of our  community, first.”

Many unframed pieces and smaller works will also be for sale throughout the show. Ms. Ruddock suggests, “Start your holiday shopping early! Support the artists by taking a raffle on four of our  artist works — Lorraine McCormick, Eleanor Meier, Shelia Breck, and Jane McGraw Teubner.” Raffle winners will be called on Nov. 16.

Participating artists include Ross Barbera, Shain Bard, Rina Betro, Kyle Blumenthal, Sheila Breck, Joyce Bressler, Renee Caine, Al Candia, Gail L. Chase, Anthony Davis, Julie Doczi, Marge Governale, William Graf, Gia Horton, Laurence Johnston, Flo Kemp, Karen Kemp, Joanne Liff, John Mansueto, Celeste Mauro, Lorraine McCormick, Jane McGraw Teubner, Terry McManus, Eleanor Meier, Frederic Mendelsohn, Muriel Musarra, Paula Pelletier, Joseph Reboli, Joan Rockwell, Robert Roehrig, Irene Ruddock, Oscar Santiago, Carole Link Scinta, Barbara Jeanne Siegel, Angela Stratton, Susan Trawick, Marlene Weinstein, Charles Wildbank and Patricia Yantz.

The Setauket Neighborhood House, 95 Main St., Setauket presents the 42nd annual Setauket Artists exhibition from Oct. 23 to Nov. 16 daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.setauketartists.com.

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.

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.  

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.

As autumn arrives on the North Shore, so does a perennial favorite, the Setauket Artists exhibition. Now in its 41st year, the beloved show returns to the Setauket Neighborhood House on Oct. 24 with a reception from 1 to 4 p.m. Over 40 local artists will be participating this year along with guest artist and nationally known oil painter David Peikon.

Peikon is showcasing his stunning painting of an east end farm which displays the naturalism of his landscapes. “Capturing nature in all its infinite beauty is a never-ending challenge. I endeavor to create paintings that pull the viewer into the space as if they were alongside me,” he said.

This year’s Honored Artist, Patricia Yantz, will exhibit five of her latest paintings. “The artists chose Patricia because of the superior quality of her acrylic and pastels paintings and years of dedication to the organization. She works tirelessly on various committees and has become our newly elected recording secretary,” said Irene Ruddock, President of the Setauket Artists. 

The cover artist is John Mansueto, a Parsons School of Design graduate in Fine Arts, who exhibits in New York City, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. “I love to explore Long Island and when I saw the sunflowers in the crates at Riverhead’s Briermere Farm, I knew I had to paint it,” he said.  

The works of pastel artist Jane McGraw Teubner will be on view as well.

“The Setauket Artists are honored to include Jane McGraw Teubner, PSA, MA, Master’s Circle who has been accepted into the permanent collection of the Salmagundi Art Club, won the silver medal from Allied Artist of America, was accepted into the Pastel Journals best one hundred and will soon be award the title Eminent Pastelist from the International Pastel Society,” said Ms. Ruddock. 

The only photographer in the show is the incomparable Marlene Weinstein who is exhibiting her hand-painted and mixed media pieces to the delight of her ardent followers. This year, the group is happy to welcome back Laurence Johnston, another fine artist who explains that he is “influenced by the light that living near the water brings and elevates the ordinary to the sublime.” Look for his beautifully painted oil Setauket Spring hanging over the fireplace in the entry hall. 

For lovers of contemporary art, Shelia Breck will awe you with her Matisse-like painting of Katey and Paul Edelson’s soft and sensual colors will bring you into the peaceful world he endeavors to capture. Celeste Mauro will wow you with her creative impressionistic acrylic and collage paintings. 

For nostalgia and history, you will enjoy Carol Link Scinta’s Rainy Day at the Setauket Neighborhood House and The Setauket Diner as well as William Graf’s luminous local watercolors of a Stony Brook sunset and Frank Melville Memorial Park. 

Flo Kemp usually creates soft-ground etchings, but this time she offers a very large, softly hued oil painting aptly titled Purple Mountain Melody. Frederic  Mendelsohn, who enjoys painting the bucolic waterways of Long Island, presents his oil piece titled Stony Brook Harbor and you are sure to be enchanted by Renee Caine’s  oil painting Enchanted Evening. 

Ruddock is excited for the opening. “As coordinator of the exhibit, I try to attract outstanding artists and I am thrilled with the quality of the paintings in this show. All of your favorite Setauket Artists will be there — Al Candia, Muriel Musarra, Rob Roehrig, Eleanor Meier, and so many more who will be showcasing their latest local paintings and looking forward to seeing you,” she said.

The reception is in-person, but a tent (with electric warmer) will be provided for viewers to wait until the number of people in the house matches the New York State guidelines. Refreshments will be served and raffles for paintings by Anthony Davis, Anne Katz, and Celeste Mauro offer a variety of styles and mediums: oil, watercolor and acrylic/collage paintings will draw you into the excitement of this annual autumn community event.

The artists deeply appreciate Fred Bryant of Bryant Funeral Home, who has been their generous sponsor for 16 years. Explains Ms. Ruddock, “Every single year, the art group uses the donation Fred gives us in a productive way that enhances our show, and, over time, has made it what it is. The artist are grateful indeed!” 

Participating artists include:

Ross Barbera, Shain Bard, Ron Becker, Rina Betro, Kyle Blumenthal, Sheila Breck, Joyce Bressler, Renee Caine, Al Candia, Gail L. Chase, Anthony Davis, Julie Doczi, Paul J. Edelson, Marge Governale, William Graf, Laurence Johnston, Flo Kemp, Karen Kemp, Joanne Liff, John Mansueto, Celeste Mauro, Judith Mausner, Lorraine McCormick, Jane McGraw Teubner, Terry McManus, Eleanor Meier, Fred Mendelsohn, Muriel Musarra, David Peikon, Paula Pelletier, Cathy Rezin, Joan Rockwell, Robert Roehrig, Irene Ruddock, Oscar Santiago, Carole Link Scinta, Barbara Jeanne Siegel, Angela Stratton, Susan Trawick, Marie Lourdes Velez, Marlene Weinstein and Patricia Yantz.

The Setauket Neighborhood House, 95 Main St., Setauket presents the 41st annual Setauket Artists Exhibition from Oct. 24 to Nov. 14 daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Open Halloween, closed Nov. 6 and 7). Face masks are required. For more information, visit www.setauketartists.com or email [email protected] 

 

By Irene Ruddock

Artist Robert Roehrig

Robert Roehrig is a Setauket artist who has been active in the local art world for many years. He is primarily a landscape painter who has exhibited his oil paintings through his membership in several art organizations, winning awards and accolades along the way. The current vice president of the Setauket Artists, he enjoys spending time with his wife Joan, children and grandchildren, singing with the Harbormen Barbershop Chorus, and playing paddleball with his friends.

Were you interested in art as a child?

I always loved to draw. An important early influence was an artist named John Nagy, who had a TV show in the 1950’s that provided lessons on how to draw. I found it fascinating, so my parents bought his instruction book for me. In it, the artist showed you, step by step, how to complete a picture. I still remember the pictures: a railroad train with smoke billowing, a boy wearing a sombrero, etc.  I happily finished every one.

Could you tell me about your journey as an artist?

I took art courses in high school and at Hofstra University, and throughout the years, I continued to draw and paint with watercolor. When I retired from teaching, I decided to try something I hadn’t done since high school – oil painting. I soon found the versatility and rich colors of the oil medium to my liking. I loved the process of creating an oil painting — choosing the scene, forming the composition, mixing the colors, applying the paint, making adjustments and viewing the final piece. 

Where do you look for inspiration?

I enjoy painting Long Island landscapes and seascapes, as well as scenes from countries my wife and I visit while on vacation. In my paintings, I try to capture the beauty of the natural world. Interesting boats or buildings also attract my attention and I often choose subjects that highlight the contrast between sun and shadow. While traveling, I’m always on the lookout for a potential painting. The completed paintings help to rekindle some wonderful memories.

What techniques do you consider most important to obtaining your artistic vision?

As a realist painter of land and sea, it took years of practice to gain some competence. I found that brush control and the ability to blend colors is critical. For instance, to achieve the soft look of clouds or reflections in a lake, I lay in colors with a medium brush and then very gently, in even strokes, blend the colors with a large, very soft brush. If necessary, I can go back later and add a little more definition.

Are there present-day artists whom you admire and learn from?

I admire and learn from many of my fellow artists. The exciting thing about art is that every artist has a different  technique so visiting an exhibition is a learning experience. In terms of the larger art world, I always loved the paintings of Edward Hopper, Andrew Wyeth and Winslow Homer, and, more recently, Joseph Reboli.

You have won many distinguished awards. Can you list some of them?

I was chosen as the Honored Artist in the 2016 Setauket Artist Exhibition where I won the Award of Distinction for my painting, “Late Afternoon, Brooklyn.” At the Mills Pond Gallery in 2018, I was selected to be part of the Winner’s Circle, winning first place for my painting, “Off Duty.” 

I was especially honored to be “Artist of the Month” at Long Island Museum Arts in Stony Brook (LIMarts) in 2018 where I was asked to exhibit my works in their gallery. And finally, I was awarded first place in the juried North Shore Art Guild’s exhibition Perspectives of Long Island, for my painting, “Still Afloat.” Each award I have won has brought me much satisfaction.  

What advice would you give to other artists?

I would advise them to improve their skills by continuing to paint since you learn by doing and experimenting. I would encourage them to stick with a painting since sometimes the unexpected happens and the painting that didn’t start out so well ends up being a nice surprise.

Where are you presently exhibiting? 

From May 16 to June 6 I will be exhibiting with the Setauket Artists at the Deepwells Mansion in St. James. You may also see my painting of West Meadow Beach at the North Shore Art Guild Gallery in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express in Centereach through June 13. Visit my website at rhroehrig.com.

By Heidi Sutton

As the warmer weather finally arrives on the North Shore, the community is invited to enjoy a spring art exhibit by the Setauket Artists at the historic Deepwells Mansion in St. James. The show opens this Sunday, May 16 with a reception from 1 to 4 p.m. 

“The Setauket Artists are thrilled to be invited back to Deepwells,” said the group’s president Irene Ruddock. “We are looking forward to taking a deep and grateful breath for the wonderful opportunity to exhibit our paintings.” 

Participating artists include Ross Barbera, Shain Bard, Ron Becker, Joan Bloom, Kyle Blumenthal, Sheila Breck, Joyce Bressler, Renee Caine, Al Candia, Gail L. Chase, Anthony Davis, Bart DeCeglie, Julie Doczi, William A. Dodge, Paul J. Edelson, Marge Governale, William Graf, Melissa Imossi, Anne Katz, Flo Kemp, Karen Kemp, Joanne Liff, John Mansueto, Celeste Mauro, Judith Mausner, Lorraine McCormick, Jane McGraw Teubner, Eleanor Meier, Fred Mendelsohn, Muriel Musarra, Paula Pelletier, Russell Pulick, Jessica Randall, Cathy Rezin, Joan Rockwell, Robert Roehrig, Irene Ruddock, Oscar Santiago, Carole Link Scinta, Barbara Jeanne Siegel, Angela Stratton, Susan Trawick, Marie Lourdes Velez, Marlene Weinstein, Ellen Winter and Patricia Yantz. 

According to Ms. Ruddock, the art group has planned several special events in conjunction with the exhibit.

“This year, we have some private artist studios upstairs which is exciting! Artists such as Al Candia, Fred Mendelsohn, and Rob Roehrig are exhibiting additional paintings as well as joining us in the show,” she said. 

In addition there will be a gift shop featuring pottery by Russell Pulick and jewelry by Jessica Randall and Ross Barbera. Smaller works, cards, and books written by the artists will also be available and three paintings will be raffled off.

“We welcome the public to the opening reception on Sunday, May 16 to enjoy some light refreshments, view the paintings, meet the artists and to stroll the beautiful grounds of Deepwells Mansion,” added Ms. Ruddock.

The Setauket Artists’ Spring Art Exhibit will be held at Deepwells Mansion, 2 Taylor Lane, St. James from May 16 to June 6. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., closed Monday and Tuesday. Visit www.setauketartists.com for additional exhibit events. COVID restrictions apply. For more information, call 631-365-1312 or email [email protected]