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“The Art of Winter” highlights a final look at season through eyes of artists


CLAYTON — In a winter that has lingered like a stubborn cold sore, the thought of viewing any more of it may sound chilling. But there’s still time to see the season though the eyes of artists at the Thousand Islands Arts Center.

The popular “The Art of Winter” exhibit runs through Monday, March 31, at the center, 314 John St. Fortunately, it shows a more gentle side of winter — free of this season’s ice storms, power outages, blizzards and fender benders.

The exhibit of approximately 80 entries in the center’s Italianate building features a range of media — from handwoven tapestry to a photo of an elephant seal in Antarctica.

Nicole Heath, the arts center’s event coordinator, said the annual exhibit, which debuted in 2009 as “The Glass River,” is always popular with area artists.

“It’s a Clayton favorite,” she said.

One attraction of the show, she said, is that it is not juried.

“It’s open to everybody, from amateur artists, expert artists and it runs the gamut,” Ms. Heath said.

It also allows artists to try something new.

“The artists can turn in works that aren’t necessarily what they are best at doing or maybe they are trying something new,” she said. “They will submit it to this show to get a feel of how to proceed.”


The People’s Choice Award, voted on by attendees of last month’s opening reception of the exhibit, was split this year after voters tied in the ballots. Sharing the prize were Jan Byington of Clayton for her oil painting “Twilight Passage” and Serena Buchanan, LaFargeville, for her acrylic/photography piece, “Buddies.”

Both pieces are St. Lawrence River-related. “Twilight Passage” shows a ship, lit up at twilight, passing under the Thousand Islands Bridge at Collins Landing. “Buddies” shows two side-by-side buoys waiting out winter on a dock.

The Corbin Award, traditionally honoring a black and white photograph, was given this year to Robert Hampton, who has residences in Syracuse and Clayton, for his “Snow Shadows” photo.

A trip to Antarctica

But not all art at the exhibit features north country images. Four photographs feature wildlife scenes from Antarctica taken by Clayton residents Daniel A. and Lauran Throop. The couple traveled to Antarctica last fall as part of a trip hosted by Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic.

Mr. Throop said the expedition was the first of its kind he and his wife have taken.

“We decided that Antarctica was our bucket-list vacation,” he said.

Mr. Throop has photos of an elephant seal and a penguin in the exhibit. Mrs. Throop entered two photos of penguins.

“When you go on a trip like that, that’s what people do, take photos,” Mrs. Throop said.

They also had some expert guidance.

“With National Geographic, we were lucky to have several of their very accomplished photographers on the trip with us,” Mrs. Throop said. “It was very educational. They held seminars on everything from using your GoPro video cameras to using your iPhone as a camera.”

She said that at the end of the trip, tour officials estimated that more than 300,000 photos were taken by the approximately 150 expedition participants.

“So you are bound to get some good ones,” Mrs. Throop said.

Mr. Throop said he and his wife took 3,500 photos.

“We reduced that down to our best 108,” Mr. Throop said. “Out of that 108, we picked the four that we decided to blow up and show at the art center."

encouragement to artists

The arts center offers inspiration to veteran artists and newcomers to the art world. In 2011, town of Lyme resident Danna Moles started painting again following her retirement. She has been entering works at the center’s exhibitions for the past three years. Mrs. Moles entered the acrylic/mixed media painting “Cold Creek” for this year’s “Art of Winter.”

“It’s fun to go to the openings of the shows,” Mrs. Moles said. “My husband (Kenneth Carl) and I hang out near my painting to hear comments, since no one really knows who I am. So far, we don’t hear much — except that some people have noticed that I put a cardinal in a pine tree in all the paintings I enter there.”

Mrs. Moles said she enjoys seeing children enter their work at the exhibitions.

“I love encouraging the kids as they excitedly stand by their work,” Mrs. Moles said. “You never know how far they will go or even if they will become the DaVincis of the future. I remember when I was a child and I know how much a little encouragement can affect a young artist.”

staff potter

The “Art of Winter” exhibit has several pieces by Clayton resident Sarah Sims, the art center’s staff potter. The native of Fairbanks, Alaska, joined the staff in October. The center has a pottery studio in the back of its John Street headquarters/main studio where it offers classes to children and adults. It opened in 2006.

Ms. Sims has worked in clay for nearly 20 years and has participated in several workshops led by renowned potter Judy Weeden of British Columbia, Canada.

“She’s brought a creative touch to our pottery studio,” Ms. Heath said.

Ms. Sims said she enjoys blending functionality and art with her pottery. One of her pieces at the exhibit features a bird in front of a stand of birch tree sections, which were hand-formed from extruded coils of clay. The bird is perched on an actual birch branch that sticks out of the ceramic tree trunks. Crystals attached to the branch give the scene an icy feel.

Ms. Sims also has wind chimes, trays, mugs and a whimsical bottle in the shape of a fish at the exhibit.

“Being able to use your hands in any art form is soothing and relaxing,” Ms. Sims said.

The details
WHAT: “The Art of Winter” at the Thousand Islands Arts Center, 314 John St., Clayton
WHEN: The exhibit is open during normal center hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.There is no charge.
OF NOTE: Most of the artwork is for sale.
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