Sunday, June 13, 2010

Two Adirondack Artists at Home

"Pathway Along the Hudson" by Catherine Wagner Minnery

Another rainy day. But today the rain didn't spoil my plans to enjoy the beauty of nature. I may have gotten a little damp making my way from studio to studio, but the magnificent paintings of Adirondack and Hudson Valley landscapes I'd set out to see were undimmed by the clouds and rain. We here in Saratoga Springs are lucky to have two of the finest landscape painters around living right here in the city, and today, as part of a city-wide arts festival, Anne Diggory and Catherine Minnery threw open their home studios for all to come inside and observe them at their work.

Anne Diggory in her Circular St. studio

Anne Diggory's work has been featured in such magazines as Adirondack Life and American Artist, and several years ago she participated in the New York Times series on revisiting sites of the Hudson River School to paint them again in her own style. Many public buildings around Saratoga Springs and other cities also show examples of her work. She lives just down the street from me, but it isn't often I get to see her new work, since she usually shows her paintings at the Blue Mountain Gallery in New York City. So it was quite a treat to walk into her house and see what she has been doing lately.

Anne's been working to combine photography and painting in a fascinating way that incorporates the strengths of both the camera's eye and the painter's vision. Her original photographs (mostly of Adirondack landscapes) are digitally reproduced full size on canvas and then worked over in acrylics, creating multi-layered works of radiant color and extraordinary depth. Here are two stages of a painting she is in the process of creating of the shoreline and vistas across Elk Lake in Essex County.

I could have stayed all afternoon to study this large finished work of a mountain stream, called "Labyrinths," marveling at how the painterly and photographic elements play off against each other. Also, just enjoying the view and losing myself in the image. I could almost hear the rushing water and feel the cool shade and the warmth of the sun beating down on those exposed rocks.

"Labyrinths" by Anne Diggory

* * *

Just a few blocks across town brought me to Walton Street, where Catherine Minnery lives and works in a wonderful old Victorian house just jam-packed with her beautiful paintings.

Catherine Minnery at home among her paintings

Catherine also participated, along with her friend and fellow artist Anne Diggory, in that New York Times series revisiting the sites of the 19th-century Hudson River School Painters, making several trips into the ruggedest Adirondack country to capture images of soaring mountains and plunging flumes. Here's one of those flumes, depicting Gil's Brook near the Ausable Club in St. Huberts.

Although Catherine does work directly from nature, making color sketches covered with copious notes, the final works are almost always completed in her studio. Certainly, the actual landscape is her inspiration, she has said, but adds that she relies "more on the unseen, not the visual, when creating a piece." For me, just a glance at these two paintings standing in a corner of Catherine's living room reveals depths of color far more vivid than any photograph could reproduce, and which speak of a deeper emotional truth than factual rendering could ever evoke.

So who cares if it rains for a week? With beautiful paintings like these to look at, I can travel into nature's glory without even wetting my feet. To see more of both Anne's and Catherine's work, you can visit their websites.

Anne's is at



Kerri Farley said...

Thanks for providing their links! So much talent .... WOW!

Ellen Rathbone said...

Anne daughter, Ariel, was a seasonal at the Paul Smiths VIC a few years back and now works (I believe) at APA HQ in Ray Brook. Small world, eh? Thanks for sharing the artwork.