( Column 11 / 2002)

"The Lost Valleys"...by...Ron Gladkowski

          "A commentary about creative people living in the small communities scattered through the hills and valleys of Central New York"
          Published in The County Review

"The Lost Valleys" by...Ron Gladkowski "A commentary about creative people living in the small communities scattered through the hills and valleys of Central New York"

"Painting Nudes"

          Ring.....Ring.....The ringing phone woke me up before I was ready to start my day. On the phone was my friend Andrea. She apologized for waking me so early, and explained she was going to be unavailable later in the day, and wanted to invite me to go to an Art Exhibit that evening.
           "It's entitled 'Painting Nudes', and I'll pick you up about 5:30....OK?" She half asked, half told me.
          OK, I mumbled, hung up, and rolled over to finish sleeping.
          I was ready when Andrea arrived, hopped in her car, and we took off. "There will be eats at the show, so we can nibble there." She said.
          She didn't know much about the exhibition, the invitation had arrived in the mail. The card she handed me simply said "Painting Nudes.... Three artists exhibiting, and performing" It was a one month long, with a performance every Friday evening at 8:00. I read the directions while she drove. We wound our way through the countryside, ending up in parking lot of a long, narrow, single story building in a small town. It was apparently an old Grange Hall, but now there was a sculptured steel sign outside that read "Innovations".
          The interior was one large open room, with portable kiosks floating throughout the floor space. The walls, and kiosks were hung with paintings, while track lighting illuminated the work. At one end was a small stage with the curtain drawn, to the right of that was a table set with wine, juice, cheese, and hors d'oeuvres. An assortment of unmatched seats, sofas, and folding chairs was loosely arranged in front of the stage.
          About 20 people milled about, viewing the artwork, carrying on conversations, and sampling the food. I picked up a program, it listed the artists with a short bio, and pictures of each. According to the program... Ida Heardy, a thin sandy haired woman in her late 20s, was born and raised in the hills of West Virginia. James Krench, a solidly built bearded man, in his mid thirties with a receding hairline, was from San Francisco. And, Lucia Sola a dark haired, full figured, middle aged woman came here 12 years ago from Spain. These three artists came from backgrounds about as different as could be imagined, yet here they were putting on a exhibition in a small town in rural upstate New York.
          They are all very talented, as the work showed. Watercolors by Ida are mostly landscapes, often capturing the intensity and strength of the forest, that only someone with an intimate personal relationship with nature could communicate. James' work with acrylics showed bold city-scapes from around the world, using colors, and contrast to portray the character of each city and the people that dwell there. Lucia shows her mastery with oils in portraits that reveal, with great sensitivity and emotion, the personality, as well as the image of the subject.
          I began to wonder, as I looked around, about the title of the show. It was billed as "Painting Nudes", and there wasn't a nude in the collection. Just about then, the lights began to dim, and someone was softly ringing a bell. We all congregated in front of the stage, the bell continued to ring, and the curtain opened. There, on the stage, were the three artists. Each in front of an easel, paintbrush in hand, without a stitch of clothes on! They were the "Painting Nudes"!
          to be continued.....

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