Thursday, December 15, 2016

Renewing a Love Affair

Well, I'll bet I got your attention with that title!!!!

Over the last few months I've been renewing my love affair with glass. Several years ago I fell in love with stained glass and did quite a few pieces like small lamps and window hangings. My most ambitious pieces were two sidelight windows for my front door. But after I stopped taking classes I stoped working with glass, mainly due to issues of space and I wasn't keen on using lead solder in the house. I could have used unleaded solder, but it doesn't flow as well. So I put glass aside and went back to painting.

Last winter I decided to take a class in Kiln Fused Glass at Ilene Layow's Eye Studio. I renewed my love affair with glass (oh the colors, the luminosity, the subtle ripple effects!!!) and I have been taking classes on and off since then. For some reason I really love cutting and breaking glass! And okay it's another way of working with color, light, form and design: some of the things I am most concerned with in my paintings.

Pictured above are a few of the most recent pieces, all done with the intention of giving them away as gifts (it is that time of the year). The red, green white candy dish is a contemporary take on Christmas, the four blue and yellow combinations with red sprinkles (frit) are dessert plates, to be used at any time of the year, but they would be nice for Chanukah as well. And the yellow and red dish is an "any time of the year dish".

Here are a few close-ups.

The Land Between the Waters

I've also been working on and off with a series which I call the Land Between the Waters. My life, especially in the summer is all about spending time at camp on Grass Lake and over on The St. Lawrence River where I teach art classes and show my work. So the series began with that idea of me being on the land between the waters. The series blossomed into several pieces where the land, either green or brown glass, winds its way through undulating blue patterns. Some pieces I have kept, some given away.

The first piece in the series--going with a beachy look.

The piece above belongs to my son Michael and his wife, who also live in the land between the waters in the Pacific Northwest.

Green and blue combinations are the colors of the lake: blue in the distance and green in the bay as the green trees reflect their color into the water.

Today I created a piece where the water runs through two pieces of land, just another variation on a theme. If it comes out good, I'll post it.

And for old time's sake here is one of the sidelights in stained glass that I mentioned at the beginning of the post.

And Now for Something Completely Different

Ilene Layow's Eye Studio where I take my Kiln Fused Glass classes is moving in the next few weeks. When the Studio moves into the new and much larger space I will be teaching Watercolor Classes. I'll keep you posted!
Here's the link for the Eye Studio.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Catching Up, Taking a Break

Joan Applebaum, Barbara Baum, Bobbie Panek and Judy McGinn pose with Gambrinus the King of Beers.

Catching Up

After spending months preparing for two big events I decided to take some time off from studio work to attend to some things that had fallen by the wayside. The events were both wonderful and all-consuming and I was cramming in preparations for each as I was trying to keep up with my regular studio work. Exhausting! 

The first event was the 90th Anniversary of the CNY Branch of The National League of American Pen Women. I should start by saying we celebrated our anniversary for an entire year with special exhibits, field trips and events. And seven of us went to the Pen Women Biennial in Washington DC, an unforgettable experience.
(Above) Five members of our group outside the White House West Wing just after our private tour.

The culmination of our year-long celebration was an exhibit of art, poetry, prose from current Pen Women and artifacts from our 90 years of history. The exhibit was held at Onondaga Historical Association---the best place in town to celebrate history! We also gave out "Friend of The Arts" awards to three members of the community.

I was in charge of the art/poetry show and the exhibit of artifacts. Which means that for a few months a whole lot of artifacts sat in my living room waiting to be combed through and either selected or put back in storage (AKA still in my living room). 

Being a history buff I was in my element when I was sorting through the artifacts and placing them on display at OHA. But alas, the exhibit is over and I still have several boxes in my living room.

Many people were involved in making our Pen Women 90th Anniversary Celebration a success--too many to name here, but essentially the entire CNY Branch of the NLAPW and Onondaga Historical Association! What a great night it was.

And if you would like to learn more about the NLAPW visit

And On to the Next Event

As soon as the Pen Women event ended I started attending to last minute painting and details for my show at Tyler Art Gallery @ Oswego State Downtown. I was delighted when Amy Bartell the director of the gallery asked me back in 2015 if I was interested in showing my work in the Fall of 2016. I had planned on this show being a little different from my other exhibits. I always try to have a general theme (I'm usually all about the landscape and water) but this time I wanted a slightly different twist on my usual.

Land, Sky, Water

Land, Sky, Water are themes I have visited often in my work and this time I selected that theme but with a specific direction. This time I was concerned with painting atmosphere, rather than specific imagery. I had a few images all set for the show but planned on creating a few more. As it turned out I painted seven new paintings to go with seven other paintings I had done previously. I was very happy to sell a painting even before the show went up on display! But by the time I was done I needed a break from painting.

The opening reception which was part of the Downtown Artist Series, was well attended. There were friends from Syracuse, North Country artist friends, fellow Pen Women, friends from church and many students from SUNY Oswego.

The Downtown Artist series also featured the work of two student artists: Graphic Design student Melissa Digiovanna and Poet Milo Licata. Melissa, pictured here with her mom and yours truly,
 created a poster based on the colors of my painting "Daybreak". Milo wrote two poems based on my work. After the student presentations I gave a short artist talk.

Taking a Break

So, after these two big events I decided to take a break from the studio (yeah remember that from the first paragraph???) and concentrated on removing wallpaper, spackling walls, painting and otherwise finishing up the kitchen renovation started way back in the summer. Then I went onto tackle a few more neglected things on my list. And then a few more. Then it was time to put up the Christmas decorations.

All the while I kept thinking of my next painting. Break's over. Time to get back to the studio.

Oh, and those boxes of Pen Women artifacts are still in my living room.

Related Link:
My show Land, Sky, Water will be on display at the Tyler Art Gallery @ Oswego State Downtown until January 20, 2017.

"Daybreak" watercolor

Monday, November 21, 2016

Just Can't Leave the Water!

In my recent artist talk at Tyler Art Gallery @ Oswego State Downtown I mentioned how living near the water has influenced my paintings. That influence comes through in my other work as well. The colors, the images all make their way into the more abstracted pieces I do in silk and in glass.

The wall hanging on silk has our iconic little island against a tie-dye background bordered by blue fabric. Ornamental buttons made from polymer clay in shades of blue, green and white anchor the corners with shimmering beads (sunlight on the water???) coming from their centers. 

The 2 glass plates are part of my "Land Between the Water" series. I can identify with those each summer as I go between home, Grass Lake and The River. 

So even here at home with the snow swirling around outside, I am back at the lake.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Tyler Art Gallery @ Oswego State Downtown Presents: Land, Sky, Water

Tyler Art Gallery @ Oswego State Downtown Presents:


Land, Sky, Water 
Watercolor, Acrylic and Pastel
by Joan Applebaum

"The focus of this exhibit is on landscape - specifically on relationships between land, sky and water. I am intrigued by the drama of light and moisture mingling in the air creating those silvery spaces where land, sky and water connect, resulting in portrayal of atmosphere rather than of a specific scene. The unique characteristics and challenges of each medium (watercolor, acrylic and pastel) influence the final look of each painting." - Joan Applebaum

Joan Applebaum's colorful paintings of Upstate New York and its woodlands and waterways have been exhibited in galleries and shows throughout New York State.

In addition to being a working artist, Joan teaches during the summer months at the Thousand Islands Arts Center in Clayton. She maintains studios in her home base in East Syracuse and at her camp in Redwood.

Joan's exhibits have included solo shows at the Delavan Art Gallery, the Adirondack Centers for the Arts in Blue Mountain Lake and Old Forge, and the Community Arts Council Gallery in Utica and several locations in Syracuse and surrounding areas.
November 4, 2016 - January 20, 2017
Reception and Downtown Artist Series
Friday, November 45-7pm
Downtown Artists Series: 6pm
Artist's Talk: Joan Applebaum
Poet: Milo Licata
Graphic Designer: Melissa Digiovanna

Inspired by Joan Applebaum's work, Milo Licata will read new work written in
response to the exhibition. Melissa Digiovanna will discuss her graphic design
interpretation of this collaboration.

This series is sponsored by SCMA Dean, Dr. Julie Pretzat and ARTSwego

Tyler Art Gallery @ Oswego State Downtown:
186 West First Street, Oswego, NY 13126 (315) 216 - 4985
Oswego State Downtown
Gallery Hours:

Wednesday:  12pm - 5pm
Thursday:  10am - 6pm
Friday:  10am - 5pm
Saturday:  11am - 5pm
Sunday - Tuesday:  Closed

Amy E. Bartell
Tyler Art Gallery, Assistant Director
Instructor: Graphic Design and Illustration
227 Tyler Hall
SUNY Oswego
Oswego, NY 13126

Sunday, October 2, 2016

New Images for Land--Sky--Water at Tyler Art Gallery @Oswego State Downtown

Bellingham Rain, watercolor

New Show, New Images

Over the last 6 weeks I have been preparing some new images for my upcoming show at Tyler Art Gallery @Oswego State Downtown. The exhibit titled Land--Sky--Water will feature at least 4 new watercolors and 3 new acrylic paintings.

These pieces, along with 7 other paintings are all about atmosphere and less about portraying a specific location. There are a couple of paintings with some landmark images which will immediately betray their location, but all of the others are non-specific. 

Haunted by Water

To quote Norman Maclean in A River Runs Through It and Other Stories, I am haunted by waters.
I have always been drawn to the water and find my self most at peace when I am by the water. I love painting the shimmering surface of the water mirroring the moods of the sky and the morning mist rising and mingling with the air in such a way that it's hard to tell where the land begins and the water ends.

Those are types of paintings you will find in this show. A little less detailed than some of my other work; it's definitely all about atmosphere and using the push-pull of warm and cool colors to convey depth and mood.

The show opens November 4 with a reception from 5:00 - 7:00 pm. I'll be giving an artist talk around 6:00 pm followed by a presentation by a poet and a graphic designer. They will be discussing how my work is interpreted in their art form.

I hope you will join us!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

LAND--SKY--WATER opens Nov 4 at Tyler Art Gallery @ Oswego State Downtown

"Daybreak"  watercolor


I've been preparing for an exhibit at Tyler Art Gallery@Oswego State Downtown. Yesterday I had an opportunity to see the space which is located in an old bank in Downtown Oswego. It is conveniently located near bookstores, restaurants and an artists' co-op/store. So I'm happy to be surrounded by so much culture. And of course to be near the water.

Water plays a huge role in my work as it has been the focus of so many pieces. Especially in those pieces where sky and water merge almost seamlessly, so that you can't tell where the sky begins and the water ends. 

Other times water has served as a vehicle for reflection and distortion of landscape with colors and shapes bouncing recklessly across the picture plane.

The focus of this exhibit will be on landscape, specifically on relationships between land, sky and water. I am intrigued by the drama of light and moisture mingling in the air creating those silvery spaces where land, sky and water connect, resulting in portrayal of atmosphere rather than of a specific scene.

The unique characteristics and challenges of each medium (watercolor, acrylic and pastel) will influence the final look of each painting.

Locations: Bellingham WA, Dingle Ireland, Cape Henlopen Delaware, Hull Massachusettes, St. Lawrence River, Grass Lake-- just to mention a few

For the most part the locations in the paintings are non-specific, except for a few landmarks which you will spot right away. The show will open on Friday, November 4, 5:00 - 7:00 pm, with a reception open to the public.

I hope to see you there!

Monday, August 29, 2016

It's Been a Great Summer!

"Marina #1"  acrylic

It's Been a Great Summer!

And it's not over yet. Thank goodness. I have come to the conclusion that we need an extra week in each month, especially in the summer.

Once again I have had the privilege to teach a few summer classes at The Thousand Islands Arts Center in Clayton. I've lost track how many summers I have taught painting there but it is one of my favorite places to teach. It's also been a treat to see some wonderful art shows in the TIAC Gallery.

This summer I taught a couple of watercolor classes, an acrylic painting class and an intro to painting on silk class. In each class I was impressed by the students' willingness to try something new. And as always the teacher learns as well as the students,  so I have a few new ideas to experiment with in the coming months.

What's coming up for Windy Hill Studio?

In November I have a solo show at SUNY Oswego State Downtown Gallery.

The show titled "Land-Sky-Water" opens November 4 and I'll have more information about the show in upcoming blog posts.

Meanwhile, here's a preview of one of the images from the show.

"Dingle, Land, Sky and Water"  pastel

Monday, August 1, 2016

Learn to Paint with Acrylics!

Clouds Rolling In

Well, this is where you will find me next week!

No. Not swimming in the river.
Teaching at the TI Arts Center!


Thousand Islands Arts Center                                                                                                              

Clayton, NY
August 9 - 10
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
$75 ($65.50 TIAC members)

Acrylic painting is a great way to get started as a painter. Colors mix beautifully, the paint dries quickly and mistakes can be easily painted over with this medium.

In this class you'll learn how to mix colors and to use complementary colors and neutrals to their best advantage.

We'll also cover several techniques for applying paint including palette knife, dry brush scumbling and wet into wet blending. Each student will be able to complete 1 or 2 small paintings.

All materials will be supplied by instructor. No need to bring anything but your desire to learn this exciting technique!

You can call the TI Arts Center for registration information 686-4123 or visit


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Capturing Atmosphere With Color

"Sun-Soaked Afternoon" watercolor

"Invitation" acrylic

Same Scene, Different Mood

Whenever I am kayaking on the lake I stop by this scene just to take in the natural beauty and the man-made additions which just seem to invite us to stop and take a break. And since I'm usually tired from paddling I do stop. Sometimes I take a few pictures, other times I have sketched this scene.

The two paintings above inspired by this scene are very different in mood. "Invitation" was painted in acrylic using a full palette of color. And it was under-painted in complementary colors to give an extra depth to the painting. The red chair on the dock is in real life a white chair, but I painted it red because I felt that the scene needed a bright warm color to draw attention to the focal point. The reds in the trees and on the ground create a balance of warm colors throughout the painting, leading our eyes around the composition.

"Sun-Soaked Afternoon" a watercolor, is less about depth and detail and more about creating a mood: a hot, sunny, somewhat hazy day. The limited palette of harmonious colors (all lying next to each other on the color wheel) and lack of detail create a dreamy atmosphere. I omitted the hammock in this painting because I wanted less details in the composition. Color, especially the push and pull of warm and cool colors becomes more important than details when trying to set a mood. The fade in/fade out quality of the wet-on-wet watercolor technique lends itself nicely to the subtle blend of colors giving an overall dreamy, hazy feel to the piece.

Related post on limited color palette:

Related post on painting atmosphere:

Monday, July 25, 2016

Art Along the Way: the Pacific Northwest

Art Along the Way--Seattle

My husband and I recently returned from a trip to the Pacific Northwest, specifically Seattle & Bellingham, WA and Vancouver, BC. Along the way we encountered so much wonderful art.

In Seattle the Chihuly Glass Garden and Museum was nothing short of breathtaking. I became a fan of  Dale Chihuly's work after reading an article about him in National Geographic. When his "Seaforms" exhibit was shown at the Everson Museum in Syracuse back in the 90's I made it a point to go and see the show. I was delighted  by the colorful undulating forms illuminated from below and displayed against a black background. The Chihuly Museum in Seattle utilized the same presentation.

As we made our way from Seattle to Bellingham we saw the work of many other glass artists in various gift shops and galleries. Some had studied with Chihuly; his influence seemed to be everywhere.

Art Along the Way--Bellingham

In Bellingham we discovered the Lightcatcher Building which is part of the Whatcome Museum Complex. There was an installation of large scale works by 4 different artists with color as the uniting theme. Pictured below are sections of two of the installations--I had to get those complementary colors in the same picture! And below that, an abstraction of water, sky and sun.

In Bellingham we also saw these charming sculptures on the campus of Western Washington University.

Art Along the Way--Vancouver

We saw Totem Poles or Story Poles from Seattle to Vancouver. The ones pictured here are from Capilano Suspension Bridge Park outside of the city of Vancouver and Stanley Park in the city of Vancouver. 

I was happy to see my favorite character: the Raven. I have used the stories of Raven The Trickster in some of the art lessons with my students at the YMCA Arts Studio. How the Raven Made the Tide was my favorite lesson, integrating art, music and storytelling. And Raven the Trickster tricked us by turning our black tempera paint a funny greenish black. The kids were enchanted by the idea of the Raven tricking us. I didn't have the heart to tell them that it was just the paint going bad.

The real star of the Pacific Northwest is the natural beauty of the area, but I've gotta say we saw some really fabulous man-made art too!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Somethin's Fishy and It's 5 O'clock Somewhere

Breaking Out

A couple of weeks ago I decided it was time to break away from the watercolor and acrylic landscapes for a bit. I had been thinking of experimenting with mono-prints.  I had taught a mono-print class at the Y Arts Studio a couple of years ago and really enjoyed experimenting by adding other media to embellish the final piece. 

So I printed several color field backgrounds (it looked like Mark Rothko had invaded my studio---Ok that's an Art History reference --you can look it up). Anyway, when the color fields had dried I added the focal points by printing fish stencils on the top print, and creating martini and wine glass shapes out of cardboard for the other mono-print. The shaggy borders were made by inking cardboard scraps and printing them to help define the picture plane. (I actually used paint, not ink but you get the idea.)

After all of that had dried I added other decorative elements with markers and stenciled letters. The process is a lot of fun and it's very freeing to break out into something new and different.

Fine Arts and Crafts and even Belly Dancers! Join us at Arts on Genesee June 18 - 19.

Yes that's right! Fine art, crafts, art-to-wear, wood working and artisanal soaps. All in one location complete with on-site food trucks, live music and even belly dancers. And FREE ADMISSION!

We have an impressive line-up of artisans (check out the poster!!!), so come on out and enjoy the show on the grounds of May Memorial in Syracuse. 3800 East Genesee St.

You can find us on Facebook too, so please "like" us and share!

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The NLAPW Biennial Conference: A Joyous Balancing Act and I Loved Every Minute of It!

A Joyous Balancing Act and I Loved Every Minute of It!

Although I have been an Artist Member of the National League of American Pen Women for many years I have never attended a Biennial until this year. I have to admit that half of the draw was the location. I LOVE DC and the fact that 2 of my 3 children live there made the idea of attending even sweeter. I could combine Biennial time with family time. Little did I know how much of my family would ultimately end up in DC for that weekend! My husband, his two brothers and sister-in-law added to my own children and their significant others made for an Applebaum invasion. But luckily our Nation’s Capitol provided plenty of entertainment or work for everyone, so I was free to go hang out with the creatives! Armed with my trusty iPhone onto which I had downloaded the DC Metro map and walking maps of the Dupont Circle Neighborhood, and an assortment of rain-gear I set out daily to join the most creative group of women that I have ever encountered. 

And they were not just creative, they were accomplished, and confidant in their abilities. And so willing to share. I loved the presentation on Computer Sculpting/3-Printing and was amazed by how many of our older members ( 70+ ) were working in those programs. Innovation is not bound by age. And the breadth of knowledge that one women had on the role of the WASP in WWII was incredible and I think she could have talked for another hour. Her technical set-up failed her and we were disappointed to not see the WWII photos, but she had enough knowledge of her subject to overcome the difficulties and carry on.

And the Painted Sounds presentation was extraordinary and something we should look at doing for our own branch. And yes, I am working on a painting based on one of the poems. I was also impressed by the Art Shows 2-d and 3-d, and the stately settings for both. Pictured here is CNY Pen Women Barbara Baum's oil painting (she made our banner too, which is held by our President Janet). Rachael Ikins and Ilene Layow were both represented in the PW Art Competition as well. Rachael's pencil drawing drew many favorable comments and Ilene's fused glass piece fairly glowed at the Pen Arts Reception.

Many years ago (probably around 1999) I arrived on the doorstep of the Pen Arts Building with my husband and three little children in tow. I introduced myself and family to a very surprised and gracious Judith Lafourest, who was at that time our NLAPW President. She gave us some lemonade and a tour of the building. What a treat to see her so many years later at the Biennial and to discover that she remembered me and my family. I have a feeling that not many other people show up unannounced on the doorstep of the Pen Arts Building with 3 kids in tow. No wonder she remembered us!

The Biennial provided opportunities to meet artists, composers and writers from all over the country. It also gave us (CNY Branch) time to bond as a group and I loved the goofy moments as well as the recognition we received at the Letters Luncheon. The opportunity to sneak away for a bit to see the National Gallery with Wendy and Rachael was a treat.  I wish we could have had one day to just all sightsee together! And Bobbie Panek and I need to do more press conferences together. teehee

Pictured below with Bobbie, me, and author Jackie Mitchard is Sheila Byrnes, our Biennial Chair and CNY Member and now one of our National VP's. Sheila did a fabulous job organizing activities, meetings, food etc. What a powerhouse! I hope she had a chance to take a needed break after all the work was done.

Although I enjoyed journalist Cokie Roberts take on Vinnie Ream,  Jackie Mitchard’s speech probably touched me the most. Jackie’s syndicated column got me through those years of balancing raising a family with feeding my creative soul. 

And speaking of balance, at the end of each day I had the opportunity to spend time with my family. As my family is all scattered across the country we try to catch family time whenever possible. So at the Biennial I found myself doing what I always do: balancing family and my creative self. 

And I wouldn’t change a thing. 

Except maybe to have had the "Applebaums West" (Mike and Kristi ) with us. But that's an adventure that's coming up soon!

And if you want to know more about The National League of American Pen Women click on the link!