Author Archive

River Day | 10 June 2009 | Kingston

River Day | Clearwater | by Nancy Donskoj

River Day | Clearwater | by Nancy Donskoj

River Day | Halve Maen | by Nancy Donskoj

River Day | Halve Maen | by Nancy Donskoj

River Day | Onrust | by Nancy Donskoj

River Day | Onrust | by Nancy Donskoj

River Day | Cornell | by Nancy Donskoj

River Day | Cornell | by Nancy Donskoj

River Day | Welcome Party | by Nancy Donskoj

River Day | Welcome Party | by Nancy Donskoj


June 18, 2009 at 10:07 am Leave a comment

Stikker’s and Hoegen’s Space Explorations at the Dorsky

Amsterdam artists Carolien Stikker and Philipine Hoegen will spend their residency in Ulster County working on a film project at the Samuel Dorsky Museum, at SUNY-New Paltz. Stikker captures and manipulates photographic images to create a kind of “technological sublime,” while Hoegen is an installation artist utilizing video, photography and print media. Here are edits of a statement from the artists about the project: (more…)

June 18, 2009 at 8:30 am Leave a comment

The Enigmatic Paintings of Dutch Artist in Residence Marit Dik

Painter Marit Dik is one of 10 artists from the Netherlands visiting Ulster County this year in commemoration of the region’s centuries-old exchange with Holland. She will be showing her large acrylics at the Art Upstairs gallery in Phoenicia as well as at SUNY-Ulster in September. Dik, who prior to becoming a painter was trained as a psychologist,  has shown her work in galleries throughout northern Europe. She paints representational but enigmatic scenes that scintillate with light. Below are excerpts from a recent critique of her work by American writer Donna Wolf:
“The landscape paintings of Marit Dik immediately transport the viewer to a serene setting far away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Drawing inspiration from nature and familiar everyday settings, children often populate her large, abstract yet figurative paintings on canvas. Her work depicts scenes with a splendid tranquil atmosphere while simultaneously capturing a brief, fleeting moment…
“Dik achieves this quasi-idyllic quality through her choice of subject matter as well as through her abstract figurative style of painting. In the series of paintings completed in 2006 and 2007, she explores narratives and scenes of children relaxing, playing… just being in the outdoors…The children in her work can be seen as a metaphor for innocence…Their presence imparts the works with an air of harmonious nonchalance, yet [there is a] mounting tension of their pending adulthood in the not too distant future…

“Using thinly applied acrylic paint on canvas, she captures a melodious struggle between paint and light. Like expressionistic painters in the past, such as Cezanne, she avoids strong lines, choosing instead to carve forms through the juxtaposition of patches of paint…A gentle flowing pulse seems to ripple across the canvas…The use of paint as light also enhances the fleeting aspect of the actions…of the figures. The large scale of the paintings in combination with the open, close-up angle she provides the viewer allow us to penetrate the setting without disturbing its carefully constructed harmony.  Creating a partition in the dense forest gives us just enough light to observe the scene without becoming a trespasser.

“… the abstract landscape settings that form the background take on a life of their own in her series of trees and flowers. Using abstract painting techniques, she draws our attention to specific details of a flower or tree without attempting to depict them realistically. She paints in just enough detail to whet the viewer’s appetite and give an impression of the moment and setting…She is not merely interested in a realistic rendition of a situation, instead she is interested in the atmosphere, the feeling, the emotion…you can almost feel the unspoken  tension and potential of the scene.

“The painting technique in the body of work produced in 2009 during a residency at ArToll, Germany, resembles camouflage material; her brushstrokes and color patches subtly hint at the presence of small animals. She maintains a sense of intimacy by adapting her work to a smaller scale…Here we become acquainted with her impression of the forest, which is both powerful and majestic. It is therefore not surprising that she has entitled this series Jagd und Liebe, Hunting and Love.”

June 18, 2009 at 8:26 am Leave a comment

Quad Meal Specials at Two Dozen Ulster County Restaurants Offer Taste of Hudson Valley

Twenty-six restaurants, located in Kingston, Saugerties, New Paltz, Woodstock and Mount Trempor, are offering a $16.09 meal special during the Quadricentennial Celebration of Henry Hudson’s 1609 voyage. Ulster County is known for its abundance of excellent restaurants, and the discounts enable visitors and residents alike to sample the regional variety of culinary offerings at a very reasonable price.

Chefs are taking the opportunity to be creative. Here are a few sample deals, most of which are offered through October:

The Holiday Inn in Kingston, located on Washington Avenue, is serving a traditional Dutch dinner. The current menu: split pea soup; sweet and sour pot roast with egg noodles and Dutch-style coleslaw; and Malva pudding, a cake made with apricot jam, topped with caramel sauce and whipped cream. After your meal, check out the 10 artist-designed banners painted in Quadricentennial themes on display in the hotel through May.

New World Home Cooking, located at 1411 Route 212 in Saugerties, is serving a sweet pea and leek brown-rice risotto. The item has been selling briskly, according to management. The restaurant has attracted a following for its “global peasant food,” and on Friday nights it features live music, with no cover.

The Steel House, located in Kingston’s Rondout district, is offering two $16.09 specials: a large individual pizza and a pitcher of beer or soda, and eggplant rollatini with pasta. Located in a former foundry, the restaurant has a waterfront patio and outside tiki bar. It serves New Italian cuisine, including brick-oven pizza, as well as steak varieties.

A block away, Savona’s Trattoria is offering a choice of any pasta on the menu with a free glass of wine or dessert. The casual dining room serves Italian classics at reasonable prices and features a wide selection of Italian wines.

Peekamoose Restaurant and Taproom, located on Route 28 in Big Indian, is emphasizing Hudson Valley ingredients in its Quad special. Sample entrees it has served so far are shad roe and an organic vegetable plate, with roasted shitake mushrooms, artichokes, asparagus, peas, lightly wilted pea shoots, and Quinoa grain with homemade ricotta cheese. Located in an old farmhouse, the restaurant has a tree-trunk chandelier and is decorated with natural and found objects; there’s a bar with a deck and a nightly bonfire.

Other participating restaurants are Mariner’s Harbor, Rosita’s Mexican Restaurant, Mezzaluna Café, Ship to Shore, Dolce Café, Hoffman House Tavern, Portobello Ristorante, Terra Nova 4 Seasons, Elephant Wine & Tapas, Roudigan’s Steakhouse, Frank Guido’s Little Italy, Armadillo Bar & Grille, and Ship to Shore in Kingston; Gilded Otter Brewing Co. and Village Tea Room in New Paltz; Café Tamayo, Café Mezzaluna Bistro, and Gisiano’s Restaurant in Saugerties; Bread Alone Café and Bakery, Landau Grill, Oriole 9, and Violette in Woodstock; and Catskill Rose Lodging and Dining in Mount Tremper. For a complete list of addresses and contact information, visit

Another business offering a Quad special is Jarita’s Florist, in Woodstock, which is selling a $16.09 floral arrangement. Quad discounts on lodging are offered at the Holiday Inn and Rondout in Kingston, Moondance in New Paltz, The Inn at Stone Ridge, The Grouse House and the Smythe House in Saugerties, and Pinegrove Ranch and Family Resort in Kerhonkson.

April 20, 2009 at 4:37 pm Leave a comment

April 2 Quad Kick Off a Big Success

Last night’s kick off at the Holiday Inn in Kingston was an auspicious start to Ulster County’s seven-month-long Quadricentennial Celebration. A large crowd filled the hotel’s spacious atrium, which was festively hung with a dozen artist-designed banners (the excellent hanging job was courtesy of a fork lift and labor contributed by Darmstadt Overhead Doors).

Adam from New World Cooking

Delicious comestibles served up by eight restaurants previewed the taste treat in store for visitors and residents who order the $16.09 Quad meal “special,” which will be widely available at area eateries during the celebration months. The old-time fiddle, banjo and mandolin tunes played by Earl and Mimi Pardini and their band mates in The Slide Mountain String Band kept things lively. There was time out for remarks by Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, County Executive Michael Hein, Ulster County Tourism Director Rick Remsnyder, and Carla Smith, executive director of the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild, speaking on behalf of the arts organizations and other groups hosting Quad events. The speakers highlighted various Quad-related initiatives planned for the county and its abundance of cultural, natural, entrepreneurial and historical resources.

Assemblyman Kevin Cahill

Assemblyman Kevin Cahill

All in all, a rousing good time was had by all, and the TV cameras were there to capture it. Participating restaurants were Savona’s. Peekamoose Restaurant and Taproom, New World Home Cooking, Mariner’s Harbor, The Steel House, Rosita’s, Mezzaluna Café, Ship to Shore, Dolce, and the Holiday Inn, which featured a colonial Dutch “Malva pudding,” made with apricot jam. Banners were painted by Steve Ladin, Jane Bloodgood-Abrams, Jacquie Roland, Matt Pleva, Iya Battle, Robert Sweeney, Hendrik Dijk, Lynn Woods, Dennis Connors, Cynthia Winiker, and Erik Richards in collaboration with Cristina Brusca.

Earlier in the day. there was a formal proclamation commemorating the county’s 400 years of history and the opening of an exhibition of historic documents, “the Formation of Government,” at the Ulster County Office Building, located in Kingston. The proclamation was printed on handmade paper made from Abacca fiber by the Women’s Studio Workshop. The well-attended opening gave the public a first look at several documents in old Dutch, including the 1661 charter of the Dutch Court at Kingston.

April 20, 2009 at 4:24 pm Leave a comment

11 Artists Paint “Set Sail” Banners

With the Quadricentennial kick-off on April 2 less than a week away, area artists are working overtime to finish their “Set Sail” banners that will be displayed at the Holiday Inn in Kingston, later to be hung over lower Broadway in the Rondout district. Each strip of canvas measures approximately 2-1/2 x 5 feet, and just getting the 11 pieces of cloth cut, sewn and gessoed was a labor of love—courtesy of Sister Hildegard Magdalen Pleva, OssR, a member of the Redemptoristine Nuns at Mother of Perpetual Help Monastery, located at Mt. St. Alphonsus in Esopus.

Sister Hildegard notes that cutting out the banners to the precise size, sewing the thick fabric, and allowing for the shrinkage that occurred when the canvas was gessoed were among the challenges. The monastery is amply equipped with sewing materials and equipment, since the sisters make a living by sewing ceremonial capes for a Catholic lay organization. She says her contribution is a way of expressing gratitude for the lovely Hudson River landscape. “The picture windows of our monastery look out on the river and remind us every day of the wonders and beauty of all creation, [which] for us [is] a reminder of the constancy of God,” she says.

The banners are being painted in a variety of styles and images, including fanciful depictions of Henry Hudson and river landscapes. Kingston resident Henk Dijk has depicted a dramatic, fierce-looking figure head, representing Holland’s Seven Provinces, of a 17th-century ship that is being painstakingly reconstructed in the Netherlands, using the original blue prints. Jane Bloodgood-Abrams, also of Kingston, is painting a luminous landscape in the traditional Hudson River School style that has given her a noteworthy following, while Jacquie Roland, a resident of Saugerties, is working on two night scenes—Henry Hudson standing of the deck of his ship on an icy evening and his namesake river at twilight.

In researching Henry Hudson, Iva Battle, who lives in West Shokan and describes herself as “a painter of myths, archetypes and invisible energy,” became fascinated by the Native Americans. So one side of her banner will honor the Lenni Lenape, while the other will depict Hudson being swept down into the ocean into the arms of a couple of mermaids. (On his third voyage, Hudson was put out to sea in a small boat after his men mutinied; the mermaids refer to a log entry in which he described an encounter with a mermaid in Antarctica.)

Matthew Pleva (Sister Hildegarde’s son) is planning a landscape scene done in pen and ink. Known for his small-scale graphite pencil drawings, he admits he is “a little overwhelmed. Right now I’m struggling to get something 5 x 10 inches to be 2.5 x 5 feet.”

The other artists contributing banners are Steve Ladin, Cynthia Winiker, Robert Sweeney, Yourij Donskoj, Dennis Connors, and Lynn Woods. The banners will hang in the atrium of the Holiday Inn until July 1, when they will be moved out to the street. Come to the kick-off on April 2, from 5 to 7 pm, at the Holiday Inn if you’d like to see a preview of these colorful artworks.

March 27, 2009 at 9:30 am Leave a comment

Art about Holland: Then and Now

Very broadly, you could entitle the Quadricentennial’s first two art exhibits, both opening April 4 and running through April 25, “Holland Then and Now.”

willem-burgert1“Holland Then” is a show of realist watercolors by Willem Burgert depicting 17th-century Holland and New Netherland at Donskoj & Co, a gallery in Kingston’s waterfront Rondout district. A resident of Alkmarr, Burgert is one of 10 artists from the Netherlands participating in the county’s Artists in Residence program. Burgert’s watercolors were from a book he recently wrote and illustrated about the adventures of three adventurous young people in the 1600s who traveled from northern Holland to Amsterdam and thence to a region of New Netherland that’s now Kingston. The pictures and detailed descriptions provide a vivid sense of what life was like back then. Burgert’s skills in historical story-telling were honed in two previous books, a picture book about Alkmarr’s 750-year history and a book about the Dutch North Sea island of Schiermonnikoog.

hendrik-dijkThe “Holland Now” counterpart is an exhibit at the Kingston Museum of Contemporary Arts, located a few blocks from Donskoj & Co., of photographs by Kingston artist Hendrik Dijk documenting the enigmatic World War II concrete bunkers that still litter the landscape in a region of Holland known as the New Dutch Waterline (sluices and a series of locks enable it to be quickly flooded, for defense). Dijk, who was born and raised in the Netherlands, noticed the small windowless structures on a recent trip to his native land. They were built by the Dutch to house soldiers fleeing possible bombing attacks and over the years have faded into the landscape (removing the vault-like structures is very expensive). Dijk is interested in their decay and how they have been incorporated into the surrounding farmland, becoming almost invisible. He plans to photograph all 200 of them.

March 15, 2009 at 3:12 pm Leave a comment

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