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Artist Stuart Friedman paints at Frank Melville Memorial Park during a previous Wet Paint Festival. Photo courtesy of Gallery North
Two-day plein air painting event combines art, history and nature

By Rita J. Egan

Gallery North’s 20th annual Wet Paint Festival will take place in what was once considered a Setauket hub.

Held on June 1 and 2, the plein air painting event, featuring more than 40 artists, will be held on the grounds of the Tyler Homestead. Located at 97 Main Street, the mid-1700s home sits across the street from the Setauket Post Office and Frank Melville Memorial Park. Right in the homestead’s backyard is the Patriots Rock Historical Site, where the Battle of Setauket was fought.

For the 2024 event, Gallery North has partnered with Three Village Community Trust (TVCT), which owns the Tyler home. Erin Smith, Gallery North’s director of development, said they were pleased that the land trust was willing to make the Tyler Homestead available for the event.

The property will serve as the center point, where artists can explore around and near the property to decide the subject of their paintings. Choices include the house and property, Frank Melville Memorial Park, Patriots Rock, the Setauket Green, Emma S. Clark Memorial Library, nearby churches and the three Factory Worker Houses located less than a mile down the road.

“You bring your easel, and whatever vignette or view that moves you, you paint,” Smith said. “It’s nice because the whole idea of plein air painting is that it captures the light really well, and it gets you outside. You can really capture the historic beauty of the area in a unique way.”

Smith added that, during past festivals, some artists have chosen to paint objects such as an ice cream truck or bench. As for the Tyler Homestead and the area, it was chosen for “its historical significance and natural beauty.”

“It’s a highly visible central location for the community,” she explained.

Herb Mones, TVCT president, agreed that the Tyler house is the perfect location.

“It not only has the expansive yard, but it’s on Main Street, and it’s so close to so many other historical sites, parks and venues that the artists could spread out, and yet the Tyler house is the central focus,” he said.

In addition to various activities set up in the Tyler Homestead’s back and side yards, Mones said TVCT will provide tours of the Patriots Rock site and discuss the role early Setauket residents and British occupiers played during the American Revolution.

Artist Angela Stratton, who has participated in past Wet Paint Festivals, said she always looks forward to being outside and choosing what to paint.

“When you go out to paint, and you’re looking around, it’s kind of what hits you in your heart,” Stratton said. “One day, to some, a certain spot can look beautiful. The next day you can go and that doesn’t intrigue you.”

The artist added that she welcomes spectators’ questions and appreciates children being exposed to art at the festival. How quickly an artist completes a painting, she said, depends on the person and the canvas size. She said many base how long they spend on a painting on how the sunlight hits a subject during a certain time of day or some will stay despite the light passing.

For Three Village Historical Society Historian Beverly C. Tyler, the homestead is more than a landmark; it’s the home he grew up in. The historian said for a time the property had flowers all over, from front to back, that his stepfather, Lou Davis, cared for. Tyler described the flowers as “absolutely gorgeous.”

“Having the Wet Paint Festival there is sort of a continuation of his efforts to use the property,” Tyler said.

The historian fondly remembers playing on the grounds.

“Everything was very interesting around there, and I would sometimes sit on the front porch and just watch the cars go by and count the number of Chevys and Fords and other types of cars that were going by, and I could see everybody that came into the post office.”

Tyler added the area appeared in several postcards, and the Neighborhood House next to his family home was once a summer boarding house his grandfather ran in the late 1800s and the early 1900s.

In addition to viewing artists at work, attendees can participate in wildlife and plant life lectures or go on a guided tour of plein air paintings with regional artists Doug Reina and Christine D’Addario. WUSB 90.1 FM/107.3 FM will present live musical performances each day. Visitors will also be able to purchase food from LevelUp Kitchen and enjoy a delicious picnic in an idyllic setting.

Later in the month, from June 25 to July 7, art lovers can enjoy an exhibition at the Reboli Center for Art and History, 64 Main St., Stony Brook featuring the participating artists’ paintings. An opening reception will be held on June 25 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Schedule of Events

Saturday, June 1

11 a.m. History Walk with members of the Three Village Community Trust

Noon to 2 p.m. Music by Tom Killourhy

12:30 p.m. Meet local wildlife from Sweetbriar Nature Center

2 p.m. Take part in a plein air art tour with artist Christine D’Addario

Sunday, June 2

11 a.m. History Tour with Margo Arceri of Tri-Spy Tours

11:30 a.m. Nature Walk with the Four Harbors Audubon Society

Noon to 2 p.m. Music by Kane Daily

1:30 p.m. Plein air Art Tour with artist Doug Reina


Generously sponsored by the Village Art Collective and Suffolk County’s Department of Economic Development and Planning., the Wet Paint Festival will be held on the grounds of the Tyler Homestead, 97 Main St., Setauket from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, and Sunday, June 2. The event is free of charge for spectators. A rain date is scheduled for June 15 and 16. For more information, call 631-751-2676 or visit gallerynorth.org/pages/wet-paint-festival.

By Julianne Mosher

On June 17 and 18, visitors from across Long Island headed to Old Field Farm in Setauket for Gallery North’s 19th annual Wet Paint Festival, a fun-filled weekend to not only admire local artists practicing their craft en plein air, but to see the excitement of a derby. According to Sally Lynch, owner and farm operator, the festival couldn’t have come during a better weekend.

The 2023 Seaside Hunter Derby took place on June 18 on the campus and as the riders competed, over 40 artists took to their canvases to paint and sketch the local scenery and content. 

“All the horse people are thrilled to see their horses painted,” said Lynch. “There’s a reason why the horse remains a constant subject of the arts.”

She added that the day before, the farm hosted vintage riders (ones who ride side saddle) in full old-school costume who also modeled for the artists on-site. 

The two-day festival also featured nature walks courtesy of the Four Harbors Audubon Society, live music by Tom Killourhy and the Keenan Zach Trio, plein air art tours with Jim Molloy and Nancy Bueti-Randall, a history tour with Margo Arceri of Tri-Spy Tours and an animal presentation by Sweetbriar Nature Center.

The event was sponsored by bld Architecture, Jefferson’s Ferry and Suffolk County’s Department of Economic Development and Planning.

All of the artwork created at the festival will be on display at the Reboli Center for Art and History, 64 Main St., Stony Brook on July 5 through August 27. The public is invited to an opening reception on July 21 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

This year's Wet Paint Festival will be held at the Sherwood-Jayne Farm in East Setauket. Photo courtesy of Preservation Long Island

By Melissa Arnold

Since 2004, Gallery North’s annual Wet Paint Festival has invited artists from far and wide to revel in nature’s beauty. For a week or a weekend, artists enjoy each other’s company and a healthy dose of plein air painting — the tricky, constantly changing art of working outdoors.

This year’s festival, scheduled for June 4 and 5, will be held at the historic and picturesque Sherwood-Jayne Farm on Old Post Road in East Setauket and seeks to build upon past events where visitors can watch the artists work and ask questions about their creative process. There will also be the opportunity to tour the Sherwood-Jayne House, go bird watching, enjoy live music and more.

An artist paints plein air at the Sherwood-Jayne Farm. Photo from Preservation Long Island

“The landscape of the show has changed in a variety of ways over the years, not just in location but in the way it’s structured,” said Ned Puchner, executive director of Gallery North. “During the pandemic, people could paint remotely for a two-week period. Last year, we had a few different locations to choose from. This year, we’re returning to the traditional style of having a specific site where everyone will come together and paint for a weekend, with some additional activities for the public to enjoy.”

The Sherwood-Jayne Farm was originally slated to host the Wet Paint Festival in 2020, and planning for the event was nearly complete when the pandemic shut things down.  

“Gallery North reached out to us a few years ago looking to change up the festival from the way it was done in the past,” said Elizabeth Abrams, Assistant Director of Operations and Programs for Preservation Long Island, which cares for the property. “We used to team up with the gallery for an apple festival, and considering we are just down the street from each other, it was natural for us to work together again.”

Preservation Long Island is a multifaceted not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting Long Island’s history and culture. Founded in 1948, their focus is on education, advocacy, and the stewardship of historic buildings and artifacts.

Abrams explained that the Sherwood-Jayne House was built in 1730 as an early colonial, lean-to salt box dwelling. The house and surrounding farmland were cared for by the Jayne family for more than 150 years. In 1908, it was acquired by the founder of Preservation Long Island, Howard Sherwood, who lived in the home and displayed a variety of antiques there.

Throughout the weekend, the Sherwood-Jayne House will be open for tours with Preservation Long Island curator Lauren Brincat. Keep an eye out for the Tallmadge wall panels, and the incredibly beautiful wall mural in the parlor that’s meant to look like wallpaper — they are very rare to see, especially on Long Island, Abrams added.

“The house contains a large portion of Howard Sherwood’s personal antique collection and other bits of history from colonial Long Island. This area had a foundational role in American history — exploring the house and its collections are a unique way to learn more about that important time period,” she said.

There will be plenty of outdoor inspiration for the artists at the festival as well. The property is also home to a variety of outbuildings and trails, gorgeous old-growth walnut trees, an apple orchard, and all kinds of wildlife. 

The Four Harbors Audubon Society will lead tours exploring the wildlife and ecology of the area, with a particular focus on local birds. If the barn is open, you might be lucky enough to meet some goats, a few sheep, or an old, sweet white horse named Snowball.

Visitors are free to wander the grounds at their leisure, watch the artists work or ask questions, Puchner said. For those who are feeling shy or not sure what to ask, an artist will offer a guided tour and lead discussions once each day.

“The whole objective of the Wet Paint Festival is to help people understand what goes into the process of creating a painting, and to meet local artists. It’s a great way for someone who has no artistic experience to learn how it all works,” Puchner said.

Nancy Bueti-Randall, pictured in her studio, will join over 40 other artists at this year’s Gallery North Wet Paint Festival.
Photo by Heidi Sutton/TBR News Media

Over 40 artists will be participating this weekend including Nancy Bueti-Randall of Stony Brook who began to paint outdoors as a way to recharge while raising her three children. She’s spent more than 20 years creating and showing her work, which runs the gamut from pictorial to abstract, figures and landscapes. Most of the time, though, she’s painting in her garden or other familiar surroundings.

Sometimes, she’ll start a painting with the idea to focus on one thing, but something else in a landscape will catch her eye instead.

“There are a lot of challenges with plein air painting. It’s very fleeting — a landscape is always changing, even from day to day,” Bueti-Randall explained. “You have to be fast and responsive to what’s going on around you. It’s about becoming engaged with the thing you’re painting. I can get overwhelmed by beauty, and I try to capture the essence of what I’m seeing in a process of give and take.”

Marceil Kazickas of Sands Point considers herself an artistic late bloomer. She started drawing and painting to cope with a health crisis, and found that when she was being creative, she wasn’t in pain. Kazickas prefers to work in oil, which she loves for its luscious, sensual properties.

“When you go outside, there’s an overwhelming amount of information to take in — the views are always changing, the clock is running, and you want to get your design done quickly because the light and shadows are constantly evolving,” she explained. 

“I’m not as focused on painting exactly what I see … People can get caught up in producing a finished, frameable piece of art, but for me it’s exciting to be outside and come up with whatever I can in the short time I’m out there, even if it’s nothing. It’s about the painting process.”

Puchner hopes that the variety of activities, including a scavenger hunt for kids and live music from the Keenan Paul Zach Trio and Tom Killourhy, will appeal to all kinds of people.

“These new additions will give the public the opportunity to enjoy nature, the arts and history all in one place, and our artists will have a fun new location to experiment and be creative in,” he said.

The 18th Annual Wet Paint Festival will be held June 4 and 5 at the Sherwood-Jayne Farm, 55 Old Post Road, East Setauket from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Rain date is June 18 and 19. The event is free and open to the public. 

All participating artists will have their festival work on display in an exhibit at Gallery North, 90 North Country Road, Setauket, from July 7 through Aug 7. A free opening reception will be held at the gallery from on July 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. 

For more information about the festival or to register to paint, visit www.gallerynorth.org or call 631-751-2676. Learn more about Sherwood-Jayne Farm at www.preservationlongisland.org.