SARANAC LAKE – The first Third Thursday Art Walk of the summer took place this week, and although torrential rain, lightning and a tornado warning drove most of the art sellers to the Hotel Saranac, the hotel was bustling and a few brave souls braved the sidewalks until the rain came.
Keatra Lapier and Peter Grayson of Paul Smiths loved the caricature portrait that Shane McIntosh drew of them on the sidewalk during the Art Walk.
McIntosh said he’s only been doing caricature portraits for a month, but he’s been drawing people for a long time — mostly in the fantasy art he creates at Bear Stump Antiques, which he owns.
McIntosh tries never to have idle hands.
“I have a lot of time, so I paint between clients. All day long” he said. “I didn’t want to watch YouTube videos all day, so I started drawing.”
Similarly, he started caricatures because he wanted to sell his paintings and not sit idly by waiting for customers to come to his antique shop.
While a painting can take weeks, McIntosh says caricature is a much quicker process.
“You have to grab an effigy very quickly.” he said. “People don’t like to sit too long.”
While his caricatures show smiling people, his paintings have a darker, more mysterious theme – strange beings crawl underground, protagonists encounter monsters, and a painting depicting a man tying up a wolf is inspired by a Cormac McCarthy novel.
McIntosh does cartoons at the Barley Sandwich every Thursday.
Sam Darring was a DJ “Big Shell” at the Barley Sandwich during the Art Walk. He was brought in by Tim Branfalt, the owner of Black Dog Records and Nostalgia in Bloomingdale.
Darring said this was his first DJ performance ever. He’s been making hip-hop music for years, but said he’s only DJed “eight hours.”
At the Hotel Saranac, Lila Zobel showed the pendants, jewelry and decorations she creates from glass, stone and metal. She started making these shiny treasures in third grade and will be in eighth grade next year.
The glass and stones were collected from everywhere – Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington and at the Saranac Lake Christmas Sparkle Village Craft Show.
Zobel was very happy with the sales she got from her first art walk performance.
Yvona Fast had a large selection of books spread out before her—a collection of recipes, her mother’s memoirs, and a forthcoming collection of poems about loons. Fast has been a food and recipe column for the Enterprise for years and has a large collection for her cookbook.
Edith Urban showed her paintings of the Adirondack wilderness. One, all in black and white, hid a snowy owl between birch trees and snow – to emphasize its natural camouflage. Another showed rain falling over Catamount Mountain, appropriate for the rainy day.
Eugenia Urban made the frames for all the paintings. The two immerse themselves in nature and Edith paints them. Edith has a gallery in Onchiota.
Bruce Thompson, a Saranac Lake luthier, makes guitars by hand. He filled the hallway of Hotel Saranac with the sounds of intricate fingerstyle classical guitar music.
He started building guitars in college in 1973.
“They weren’t very good” Thompson laughed. It took him about 28 years to build one that he felt sounded good enough to be satisfactory. Since then he has built around 75 of the instruments.
Thompson grew up with guitars he thought he could never afford. When a friend gave him a book on building classical guitars, he thought he would never make it. Then he met a man who built guitars.
“Step by step, I realized that no step was so insurmountable.” said Thompson.
He said it was disassemble and rebuild “very informative” while learning how they work.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, he said he hasn’t sold a guitar in two years and stopped building them because he ran out of space in his workshop.
It usually takes him around 80 to 100 hours to complete a guitar. It was longer than average, he said, because he took his time. Plenty if it waits. Bending wood so it doesn’t crack takes a lot of time, steam, and heat.
Thompson said his guitars aren’t about fancy inlays and designs—he just wants to get good tone out of them.
He knew the history of the trees that produced the wood he works with.
The next Art Walk will take place on July 21st.