Painted Landscapes, Clay Demonstrations, and Chickens...all a part of the Artist at Work Studio Tour

The 7th Annual Artist at Work Studio Tour is upon us and what a weekend for it! Reports say that our leaves will be at peak and I must say that nature’s landscape is just as stunning as the man-made works that I am seeing today.

The Artist at Work Studio tour is a free, self-guided tour of 50 artist’s studios that is organized and presented by Saranac Lake Artworks. It extends from Jay, NY to Paul Smiths and Rainbow Lake.

I can’t help but begin in Jay since that is my home town and we have some great artists residing here but I will be brief since I began in Jay last year as well. I begin with Barbara Smith’s Buttons, Buttons. Barbara’s studio always feels like stepping back in time since she works with antique fabrics and produces textile pieces that are reminiscent of grandparents and childhood. Next, a stop at our two commercial artist outposts: the Jay Craft Center and Youngs Gallery where Sue Young is doing some clay demonstrations.

This year, I'm trying to hit some of the outer regions of the tour and drive to Bloomingdale skirting around Whiteface Mountain.  From Brooke Noble’s studio in Bloomingdale, I have an exquisite view of Whiteface Mountain and the Jay Range. The ceramic birds that Brooke is working on are fascinating and she tells us that they will be part of an exhibit—26 Specimens from the Mississippi Valley--at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts beginning on October 25. In addition to the fabulous art, this year is the year of dogs and chickens. At several of the stops I encounter artist-owned dogs and chickens that add to the ambiance of this unique cultural experience.

From Bloomingdale, it is an easy trek to Gabriels and the studio of celebrated pastel artist Diane Leifheit. I’ve always admired her portraits, landscapes, and florals and have been amazed at the clarity that she can create with pastels but this is the first time I have been to her studio to see the broad array of her canvases.

My next stop is Stephanie Dejoseph, also in Gabriels. Stephanie repurposes textiles, designing handbags and accessories. She has lovely pieces for sale in her home and eagerly takes visitors upstairs to her sewing room where the transformations occur.

Then, more fascinating landscapes in Lake Clear at the studio of Shawn Halperin. She calls her work Adirondack Abstracted. Her paintings look to be inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe. In addition, Ms. Halperin sculpts and makes homemade soap. 

I should know better than to allot myself just a day to this tour. If you choose to studio hop next year, make sure to build in plenty of time and don’t chitchat as much as I do. Of course, so much of the charm is the talking to artists and fellow patrons along the way.

Many of the artists on the tour are exhibiting elsewhere in the region so if you didn’t make it to their studio make sure to check out the Saranac Lake Artworks website and see where else you may find their work.

There are lots more cultural events taking place in the Saranac Lake Region click here to find out about them.

Kathleen Recchia has been enjoying the arts in the Adirondack for about 20 years—both as observer and participant (acting, directing, and producing). She also enjoys cross-country skiing, swimming, juggling, and hosting visitors to the area at her bed & breakfast in Jay.

Author:Kathy Recchia
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