Traditional county path to creativity: Event centered around holiday highlights art hubs in region

Join participants for the most unique art event in Western New York. Featuring local artists of the North Shore Arts Alliance, this driving Art Trail tour consists of artist studios, artist hubs, and galleries at 12 different locations around Chautauqua County for Memorial Day weekend.

Meet some of the area’s finest visual artists and find meaningful pieces for gifting or keeping. Pick up your “Passport” at any location and collect stamps along the way to win a gift certificate.

All Memorial Day Art Trail locations will be open May 25 and 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Find more information and the interactive map at: www.nsaachautauqua.org/art-trail.html

Artists, some in their own words, include:

— Tom Janik, a retired chemistry professor. Along with his career in chemistry, Janik has had a lifelong interest in photography starting at the age of 11 with a Brownie camera. His photography is centered on landscapes and the natural world. Photography has the special quality of extracting, revealing and recording the beauty that oftentimes goes unnoticed. Tom is inspired by many great landscape photographers such as Elliot Porter, but also by photographers whose images have a graphic art quality, e.g., Pete Turner. He has a recent book of Lake Erie photographs available to see and/or purchase.

Thomas Annear — Adventure meets quiet contemplation in my paintings. From the snow capped peaks of the Tetons to the old growth forests of Western New York his paintings capture the grandeur and beauty of the American landscape. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University, my career has shifted over the years from political and abstract pieces to paintings that focus on contemporary uses of the environment. For nearly twenty years, I have sought to capture the unique geography, weather patterns, and natural resources of Western New York through my plein air paintings.

Ronnie Lafferty — I am a watercolor artist painting in a realistic style. I use a limited palette to paint a variety of subject matter and approach each painting uniquely. Achieving a harmony within the painting is important. Life is a miracle, each life is unique and I hope the viewer sees that. Our world is always changing, especially the sky and seashore. I love the way the natural world reveals itself in different times of the day, different seasons and cycles and with varying human influences. My hope is that you will find them peaceful to view. I intend to honor the Creator in everything I do. Working primarily from photographs in my studio to create paintings from personal experience I also accept commissions. I hope to resume giving instruction in 2024 through the Art Start program at Fredonia First Church.

— Terry Lair — The intense textures and subtle colors of the natural world influence my art. Whether it is drawing or painting, my work usually starts with a personal emotional reaction. I often see a “story” and my work evolves into a narrative, in which mood and viewer response are the primary goal. I have been included in several local art exhibitions at 3rd on 3rd Gallery (Jamestown), as well as solo exhibitions at Lakewood Library & Ryder’s Cup (Lakewood) and a featured artist in the Taste of Toledo (Toledo Ohio). I have a Bachelor of Arts degree and I am currently the Art Facilitator at Aspire of WNY where I teach art to individuals with physical and developmental disabilities.

— Seri Beeson, Curator Of Shiny Objects Studios. As long as I can remember, I’ve been collecting and making things. My training is informal and ongoing, with handmade items created from bits of fabric, glass, and stone. COSO Studios focuses on casual, everyday objects of adornment and holding. Current fixations are hand-crocheted jewelry with “found” pottery, glass, and stone and an assortment of handmade crossbody bags from upholstery fabrics. Just as birds collect fantastical found treasures, my goal is to create items you will enjoy gathering for your own personal collection, or share with those you love.

— Wally Latimer — I am inspired by colonial, biblical, Norse, shake and other historical craftsmen when I make my oval wooden boxes. The wood I use is sourced from significant local trees: the Forest Hill Cemetery, Eagle Street, George Weaver’s home, Temple One, the Post Office and the unbelievable figured and spalted maple planted by Squire White and his son Devillo in the early 1800s at the White Inn. My work includes traditional bride’s box, presentation boxes for graduates, music boxes and I am always learning to create different styles of these beautiful wooden boxes.

— Sarah Brown-Millspaw — Watercolor illustration artist Sarah Brown-Millspaw lives on a small farm outside of Westfield, New York. Passionate about nature, animals, and the joys of childhood, these themes often surface in her whimsical work. Sarah has been creating art her whole life and has been painting full time since 2020. In recent years, turning her watercolor paintings into surface patterns and fabric designs has become an integral part of her creative process.

— Tony and June Burns have been creating scroll saw art puzzles since 1984. All of our work is both our design and creation. Each puzzle is individually cut by hand on a scroll saw, sanded, stained and painted, resulting in a unique, three dimensional work of art. With respect to our natural world as well as human-kind our work is safe and non-toxic. Our designs reflect our love of nature as well as the people. Many new designs each year are inspired by the colors and shapes that surround us. It is our joy to share our journey and our mission to put a smile on the faces we meet.

— Janet Mandel received her training in fine arts from Mercyhurst U. in Erie, Pa. She began her career as a fashion illustrator, and received national acclaim in fashion, fiber arts and portraiture before focusing her work exclusively on wildlife. Her wildlife work has been published and sold by the National Audubon Society, National Geographic Society, Smithsonian Institution and HSUS among others. She has showcased her work for over 25 years at wildlife and fine art shows throughout the northeast U.S. and has recently opened her studio locally by appointment or special event.

— Jackie Damore — Chautauqua Lake, its birds and animals, its surrounding landscape, the changing seasons, and the changing weather and light of each day provide me with a never ending source of inspiration for making paintings that attempt to capture a unique combination of those elements. I’ve become most attracted recently to the aesthetics of tonalism and trying to incorporate this concept into my landscape and lakescape paintings. A limited color palette creates a sense of unity that appeals to me aesthetically and as I progress with this direction my paintings reflect this shift. Of course this doesn’t apply to my bird paintings… I just love the variety and elegance of birds and try to paint them in whatever colors God made them.

— Marcia Merrins is a juried artist at several prestigious craft shows throughout Western New York. An award-winning mini documentary was produced of her work. Marcia sculpts a wonderful menagerie of wood fired and raku animal pieces, from hippos to elephants, that are fun and collectible. Marcia also creates signature pieces that are quirky themed, including bright and sassy “footed bowls”. She is drawn to whimsy and her work reflects what she finds in contemporary footwear and clothing. Fairy houses are new in the studio and adorable. She recently launched a solo exhibition “Soulful Sculpture: Where Art Meets Personality” at the Octagon Gallery in Westfield.

— Melissa Meyers’ passion for art is one that loves to explore new ideas, new media, and use materials in ways they were not intended for. Sometimes even with good results. Her inspiration is found mainly in nature, which abounds in Chautauqua County. She works in traditional mediums, as well as alcohol inks, photography and mixed media. She graduated from Buffalo State College with a degree in Design, and learned to transfer her skills to digital when art started moving into new platforms.

— Audrey Kay Dowling — I use my work to convey a deep appreciation of the natural world. Form is beautiful, color is exciting, movement is visually stimulating, and texture and patterns open inspire me to express myself. I enjoy using many different art mediums. I attended SUNY New Paltz where I received my BS in Art Education. I also have an MS degree from SUNY Fredonia. I continue to expand my artistic education through several ceramic, painting and printmaking workshops. After teaching for 30 years, I am now a full time award winning artist and gallery owner of Portage Hill Gallery.

— Sandra J. Ebling-Maggio — A native of Fredonia, Sandra prefers a smartphone camera to reframe the natural world as she sees it, using minimal technological effects. Through this technique, nature is visualized in the mind’s eye of the artist, then expressed through the photograph, to create a dialogue with the viewer.

— Cynthia Norton grew up in Chautauqua and graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1969, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors and a major in sculpture. Her career has included a range of artistic pursuits. Since 1987 she has headed her own company, Cynthia Norton Designs, producing hand-painted textiles and specializing in hand-painted clothing for sophisticated, artistically inclined women (and sometimes men). The mission is to help people look their best with beautiful clothing that reveals the artist’s hand, imparts vitality, is comfortable and easy to care for, suits the individual and allows her (or him) to shine.

— Ellen Paquette is a painter, fabric artist, harpist, and nature lover who works out of her rural studio in her hometown of Warren, Pennsylvania on the edge of the Allegheny National Forest. Along with earning a BA in Art, she spent time studying anthropology and archaeology. Ellen is a Juried Artist of the Wilds Cooperative of Pennsylvania. She specializes in painting Renaissance style portraits of endangered species and creating whimsical soft sculpture beings based on myth, folklore, cryptozoology, and Pennsylvania wildlife. Her goal in her work is to highlight the natural dignity and intelligence of wild creatures.

— Nancy Nixon Ensign — I have lived along the East Coast for over 22 years, in Cleveland, New York City, Orlando, Rochester, and Tampa. I returned to the countryside of my childhood in 2001. Past curator, gallery owner, and scenic artist, I have been curating the Patterson Library Octagon Gallery in Westfield, NY since 2002. I create paintings in abstract and collage. Each painting is unique and hopefully reflects the beauty of the world around us telling a story along the way. I try to seize the essence of the landscape in my paintings and transport viewers alongside me on my creative voyage.

— Debbie Penley — I am a multimedia artist with a recent concentration in fiber art. With a focus on nature and wildlife animals, my work ranges from the realistic and lifelike to the abstract and whimsical. I enjoy the tactile qualities of my work, and am often amazed at the almost magical transformation of the raw materials from a fluid state into something more enduring and solid. I often imbue a spirit of play and joy into my pieces with the intention of inviting the audience along on the journey with me.

— Jim and Pat Reno have been making pottery for more than 40 years at their location at 6007 Centralia-Hartfield Road, Dewittville. They are open daily by chance or appointment, and can be reached at 716-753-7551 or preno@fairpoint.net. Their website is www.renopottery.com. Stop by to see their new, highly decorated designs, which include Woodpeckers, Dragons and Rhinos.

— Susan Forrester-Mackay I am a child of the sixties when beauty, love and peace were going to change the world. I create artwork because the beauty of the process is the best mind- altering state I have ever known. The need to touch, feel, respond and communicate human emotions within the landscape of the human form is enormous. The subject of human beings and their interactions is an endless source of fascination for me; hence, most of my work is figurative and evocative, focusing on the variety of everyday human gesture.

— Susan Simmons Susan Simmons paints landscape, figurative and abstract paintings in oil, acrylic, and watercolor. She received her most recent award in Jamestown’s Roger Tory Peterson’s 2022 Inaugural Plein Air Festival. Susan paints from life, photos, and imagination, and is quite diverse in her styles. Her fine arts and graphic arts studies include Miami Made Community College, Everett Community College, and the University of Texas at Austin where she attained her bachelor’s degree in fine art. Susan surprises her clients and admirers with unique artistry, utilizing both her fine arts and graphic arts backgrounds, and continually evolves to create inspiring and often intriguing artwork. Susan resides in Jamestown, New York.

— Tim A. Sivertsen — I’ve been working on several different tangents of late. There is a developing series of monochromatic pastel/charcoal landscapes on paper. There is also an ongoing series of fanciful figures in motion (pastel and acrylic). I’ve also pulled up a number of older, unfinished (unresolved) pieces out of my past and am attempting to rework them. It’s very interesting to pick up a piece put to the side years ago and revisit my thought processes at the time. I also have an ongoing series of monochromatic pastel portraits of females in the works.

— Patrick Stokes — I consider myself a portrait photographer whether my subject is a person or a landscape and I approach both with wonder, curiosity, and awe. I started my photographic journey in a dark room at 14 and over the years drifted in and out of capturing images over the years. Being a tech fan, I picked up my first digital camera in 2001 and progressively began to grow my passion for capturing images anew. With the advent of cell phone cameras and computational imagery I took the leap into fine art photography with the acquisition of state-of-the-art lenses and cameras. Photography to me is time traveling and as an avid traveler and sci-fi enthusiast I hope someday a millennium from now someone will discover one of my images and be transported back in time. Please follow my explorations on Instagram or visit my website.

— Karen Glosser is inspired by the awe and wonder of nature, and spends much of her time exploring this wonder right here in her native Western New York State. Karen’s work centers on the idea of using her camera to create painterly images that capture the essence and emotion of these moments in the outdoors. She can often be found exploring her muses, the many lakeshores and woodlands of Chautauqua County. Karen’s most recent work has included creating fresh, new images for three of her long running series: Water, Woodlands and Wanderings, and Winter Dreams.

— Karen Taverna is an enthusiastic jewelry designer and artist whose creations are as vibrant and diverse as the natural world itself. Karen finds endless inspiration in the earth’s raw beauty, channeling her reverence for the elements into her stunning enamel, copper, silver, and gemstone designs. Through her work, Karen hopes to inspire others to embrace their own creativity and to find beauty in the world. Her passion for art and jewelry is a matter of heart, reflecting a vibrant spirit, colorful palette and slightly bohemian style.

— H.C. Videll is a versatile, experienced artist who creates large abstract paintings, and many kinds of sculpture from geometric shapes to faces using a variety of materials. He currently resides in Busti, and has many connections in Memphis, Tenn. He is affiliated with Gallery 56 in Memphis, TN. He also produces music which can be found on Spotify, Amazon, Apple music, iTunes, and Deezer. He has been in numerous exhibitions beginning in 2009 in Tennessee, with more recent shows in Lakewood, NY and the Octagon Gallery in Westfield. His no nonsense artist statement, “If you like it, make me an offer” speaks to an artist of few words and a lovely sense of humor.

— Joseph Grice is a wildlife illustrator currently working in Jamestown. He earned his BFA from SUNY Fredonia in 2010, and has taught art at Infinity Visual & Performing Arts in Jamestown, and at Holt School of Fine Art in Charlotte, NC. He began painting watercolor birds as his primary subject matter in 2016, a tribute to his childhood where he grew up watching birds and spending time studying Roger Tory Peterson Field Guide books. His current work expands his use of media to include oils and digital illustration. It focuses on light and dark, limited color palettes, and movement.

— Denise Williams is owner of The Living Glass Gallery located at 71 East Main Street, in the beautiful historic downtown of Westfield. Living Glass Gallery is a proud sponsor of the Chautauqua-Lake Erie Art Trail and features original glass work by artist and owner Williams, along with displays of work by several local artists working in pottery, sea glass jewelry, photography, painting, soft sculpture and ceramic sculpture.

— Susan Gutierrez — I am an artist living in Jamestown. Chautauqua County has been my home for over 40 years. Through my art I try to capture the life and energy that surrounds us. I use mostly a palette knife to pay tribute to the beauty that encompasses this region. My paintings are a way to share an experience; a recollection; a moment. I hope that my paintings can be a conduit for viewers to recall a memory, stir an emotion, or transport them somewhere familiar.

— Peter Hamilton — Many of my wood pieces have been made from found materials: discarded cherry headboards; table parts; cabinet doors. Of course, various wood species from a kiln-dried lumber company nearby. Salvaged lamp parts. For the carpentry, selection, and keen attention to the grain color of wood is utmost. I like including steam-bent components to the work. Much of my work reflects a mood at the time, or a particular detail that carries onto another piece, or a frivolous impulse to make mock sticks of butter, or a representative subject in sculpture. Brass, copper. I have works with motion, they spin and turn.

Carrie Sheffield — My work is inspired by the natural world around me. I create pieces with an organic feel, using color and shape to intertwine a new story with lingering history. I create pieces that are constructed in layers, weaving together unique narratives that connect viewers to emotions past, present, and future. I am inspired by movement and view my creativity as a journey of exploration. As I find inspiration in the world around me, I also discover myself. My expression represents hope, determination, and second chances, as I pursue art in everything.


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