River School raises a glass to a beautiful life
Throughout the month of July, the artists of the Wallkill River School in Montgomery are raising their glasses to the beauty of existence with “A Toast to Life,” an exhibit featuring the paintings of Ellen Trayer, Janet Campbell and emerging artist Naomi Genen.
Her long career as an artists started simply enough for Ellen Trayer, who said she was jealous of her children’s art work so, in her mid-30s, she tried her hand at painting – and liked the results. Trayer said she immediately fell in love with oils and taught herself how to paint. Over the years she added both pastels and figure drawing to her artistic repertoire.
Trayer often takes her passion on the road, traveling with her husband to exotic locations. Some of the paintings from these trips are in her exhibition.
“I’m an artist who is fortunate to be able to combine my passions: travel and painting,” said Trayer, a native of Long Island who moved to the Hudson Valley in 2007 after her retirement.
But even though Trayer is inspired by travel, the artist also finds her inspiration from the beautiful scenery of the Hudson Valley. She is a represented artist at the Wallkill River School and her work has been accepted into the North East Watercolor Society International Juried Exhibition and in regional shows of the Middletown Art Group, the Orange County Art Federation and the Wurtsboro Art Alliance.
While living on Long Island in 1984, she received a first place award from the South Shore Art Association. After taking an artistic sabbatical, Trayer resumed painting in 1990, and in 1997 she received a third place award from the South Shore Art Association and an honorable mention in the Winter Arts Festival run by the New York State Park Commission.
Living on the Shawangunk Ridge, close to the Bashakill Wetlands in Sullivan County, offers the second artist, Campbell, plenty of subject material. Her primary interests are in landscape and figure work and, most recently, the pouring of watercolor pigments.
Campbell said that her studies in the Botanical Illustration Program at the Bronx Botanical Garden led to her passion for watercolor. Using this medium, she captures the essence of a subject while allowing the pigment to speak for itself whenever possible.
In her first solo exhibit, taking place in the workshop room of the Wallkill River School, Genen’s paintings focus on the beauty of the Hudson Valley region of New York and the inter-costal region of Miami, Florida. Her subjects include landscapes, wildlife, fauna and flora.
“I recently joined the Wallkill River School Plein Air painters and I thoroughly enjoy capturing the essence of a landscape in a limited amount of time,” said the artist.
Now retired, Genen spends much of her time painting. Most of her works are acrylic but she also has a few oil works. She said enjoys the vibrancy found in the acrylics and feels that the medium accommodates her temperament in that it is “fast drying and intense.”
For more information about the gallery, call 845-457-2787.
By Matt Frey