ART | Sorting out an heirloom by Arthur Parton

PartonThis oil by Arthur Parton has been in my mother’s family for 80 years or so.

Though they aren’t serious about it any way, shape or form, my parents have amassed a nice little collection of art that includes watercolors, oils, sculpture, pastels and prints — none all that expensive or valuable.

Since my maternal grandfather’s death in 1984, a nice little oil has hung in the front hall of my parents’ house. He’d inherited the painting from some distant cousins in the late 1920s or early 1930s and my mother, his only daughter, kept it after she broke up his house. We’ve never given it much notice. Earlier this summer, spurred by the appearance of a Jasper Cropsey painting on “Antiques Roadshow,” I decided to check our painting out.

Before I share the results of my query, let me also say that my parents are also avid Hudson River School fans who’ve probably been to every major art museum in this country. For my own part, there are days when I wish I’d pursued a career as an art historian — my St. Lawrence thesis explored Frederic Remington’s various depictions of Canada.

It turns out our little oil was painted by Arthur Parton in 1872. Parton, born in Hudson, N.Y. in 1842, was a member of the Hudson River School. Here’s a biography, courtesy of the Pierce Galleries:

Arthur Parton was born in Hudson, N.Y. and along with his brothers Ernets (1845-1933) and Henry (1858-1933), he wanted to become a painter from an early age. Arthur Parton became a prominent 19th century landscape painter after studying with William Trost Richards in Philadelphia and at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and after a trip to Europe where he was highly influenced by the Barbizon painters (1869). In 1872, his view of the Shenandoah River (Virginia) was published in Bryant’s Picturesque America and that publication gave him instantaneous recognition.

During the reign of the Hudson River School Parton became an Associate of the National Academy of Design (1871) and a full National Academician (1884). He was a leading member of the American Water Color Society and the Artist’s Fund Society. He exhibited at the National Academy (1862-1914), winning a prize at the NAD in 1896; the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, DC (1907, 1908, 1910); Brooklyn Art Association (1866-1885); Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition, 1876; Boston Art Club (1882-1909) and more. Awards include one in New York City (gold, 1886); Temple Gold Medal at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (1889); a medal at the St. Louis Exposition (1904) and more. His work is represented in the Brooklyn Institute Museum; the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art, NYC.

Parton painted throughout New York state and is known for his paintings of the Catskill and Adirondack mountains. He was a well-known artist and well-liked, having exhibited for over a half-century at the National Academy, and moving from a tight academic Hudson River School palette into Impressionism.

From 1874-1893, he maintained a Tenth Street Studio at 51 West 10th Street, alongside William Merritt Chase in New York City, and he probably was highly influenced by Chase’s impressionistic canvases of Shinnecock.

We’re in the process of having the piece appraised. Stay tuned!

HUNTING | The Reynolds Clan’s fall campaign begins

ReynoldsFall11_08
Brooks, Steve and Finn have begun their fall campaign. Here, they display a take of ducks.

Fall is a holy time of year for the Reynolds family.

Steve, Brooks and Finn — and soon, we hope, Thomas — take to the waters of the Adirondacks for bird shooting. In a recent dispatch, Steve shared the details of a spectacular duck shoot with longtime friend Chris Williamson of Jones Outfitters.

The take was epic — as you can see in the gallery below:

ARCHITECTURE | Exploring Don Hisaka

Hikasa_leadThe Owen D. Young Library at St. Lawrence University. The main wing, designed by Don Hisaka, was completed in 1980.

More than 30 years after it opened, the Owen D. Young Library at St. Lawrence University continues to be a polarizing building. Set amid a campus that developed in two bursts — the first between 1856 and 1915 and the second between 1925 and 1930 — the international-style, cement behemoth seems incongruous to many. Indeed, its brutalist exterior is a stark contrast to its gothic and neocolonial neighbors.

Once inside, though, one can realize that architect Don Hisaka wanted the library to complement its neighbors. Windows on the second floor frame terrific views of Richardson Hall, Gunnison Chapel and other older campus buildings. Hisaka also intended the building to stimulate — its original furnishings included a spectrum of primary colors. In the 1999-2000 renovation, those were replaced with more muted and earthy tones. Among the library’s other features are a massive indoor garden and raised study carrels known as treehouses.

While ODY can be interpreted to be severe and uninviting, Hisaka’s houses are charming. Based in Cleveland in the 1960s and 1970s and later in Massachusetts and California, Hisaka’s work pays heavy tribute to the international style. Again, though, I find his domestic work very approachable. Check out this house, built as a summer residence in Peninsula, Ohio, in 1965:

Hisaka-Gund-Ext-Trees

And this is the courtyard of Hisaka’s Shaker Heights home, built in the late 1960s:
Hisaka-Hisaka-Courtyard

More Hisaka here.

COCKTAILS | Rob Roy rallies

Rob RoyWe had a couple of Rob Roys last night to warm ourselves from the damp chill that’s been hanging over Cheever Country this week. The glasses are old Waterford coupes we scooped up at a junk shop in Hammondsport on Keuka Lake earlier this summer.

Though we’ve made them before, it’s been quite some time since we indulged in the company of the Rob Roy, the classic Scotch cocktail that is a perfect antidote to cool, damp evenings.

Plus, it’s made with Scotch, our house liquor.

We turned to Dale DeGroff, whose recipe is simple — Scotch, Italian vermouth and Peychaud’s bitters. He tops things off with a lemon twist, which was a very nice touch.

Here’s the deal:

Ingredients
2 ounces blended Scotch (We used Cutty, naturally.)
1 ounce Italian vermouth
Peychaud’s bitters
Lemon twist

Directions

Gather the Scotch, vermouth and bitters over ice in a shaker and shake vigorously. Serve up and with a twist. Enjoy.

FISHING | The Reynolds explore the Salmon River

steelies
ejforbes.com Outdoor Correspondent Steve Reynolds poses with his father and a brown on Tuesday in the Salmon River near Pulaski, New York.

I had a pleasant surprise just a few hours ago when Outdoor Correspondent Steve Reynolds ended a drought of correspondence about his exploits with a some photos and a note.

Winter still lingers in the Adirondacks, but fishing is under way. Reynolds and his father, J.D., set out for the Salmon River in search of steelheads on Tuesday. It’s an annual ritual, as we’ve noted before.

Conditions were fantastic, Steve reports, though the river was rushing at about 750 cubic feet per second. The water’s temperature hovered at a balmy 38 degrees. With the Reynolds was Walt Geryk, a guide who is a leading guide along the Salmon.

“The spawning of the steelhead has just begun,” Steve tells me, adding that while they had a few on the line, they did manage to land one. “It was a great day.”

Here’s a gallery:

SAILING | Braving the sound in wintry weather

sailing gear
Gear you’ll want should you be brave enough to undertake winter sailing, as our newest correspondent, Edward Briganti, has.

Edward Briganti
ejforbes.com Contributing Writer

If you’re a New Yorker (or live anywhere on the eastern seaboard for that matter), you know we’re coming off what’s proved to have been a long winter. As a lifelong sailor, however, I long ago swore off heading out on the water between October and late April unless it was in warmer climes. But after New York’s fourth major snowstorm, I was driven from my cramped, stuffy, over-heated apartment into the outdoors. I have begun “Frostbiting,” as winter sailing in New England is known, on Sundays at Larchmont Yacht Club. It’s amazing how “up” life can look just by spending a few hours in the sun, even if it’s 40 degrees.

On the other side, winter sailing can be a brutally cold and miserable affair — the water is a hypothermic 36 degrees — so cold the floor of the cockpit gets chilly and forms ice inside the boat as you sail; there is more wind and it is shiftier and puffier and more unpredictable than in the summertime — all increasing the dreaded threat of a capsize. The fear of capsizing, however, is what also makes winter sailing so exciting. It’s healthy for the soul to scare the crap out of yourself every now and again. Winter sailing can also be some of the most strategically rewarding and visually appealing sailing there is. The light refracts off the water in a crisper, clearer way and the lack of boat traffic creates smooth waters. When it’s good, there’s often nothing better, so it is critical that outdoor sportsman dress appropriately for the conditions. Below is a summary of the gear I use, love, and recommend. All are based on two key and reinforcing themes: warmth and moisture transfer.

My take on gear is that you pretty much get what you pay for and cheap can be expensive. I take a long-term investment approach to my gear: if you buy the good stuff, it will perform better, longer. While it is recommended that anybody recreating in waters colder than 50 degrees wear a drysuit, it is not mandatory. For the sake of comfort, I use my Gore-Tex and capilene based offshore foul weather gear as my winter sailing attire.

1. Top: Musto MPX Gore-Text Race Smock: My top layer has an active cut, room for layering, articulated elbows and underarms for ease of movement. I like the smooth non-abrasive stretch neck seals with Velcro adjustment, side opening neck with waterproof gusset, and Velcro adjustable neoprene waistband. Side pockets with water resistant zips stash granola bars or a beanie on warm days. The waterproof coating keeps me dry.

2. Bottoms: Musto MPX Offshore Trousers: I lived in these bibs for 4 sultry days in the Gulf Stream on the way to Bermuda during the 2008 Newport Bermuda Race. The 500 denier Cordura seat & knee patches resist abrasion while hiking and moving around the cockpit. There’s plenty of room for layering. The multi-tool sheath stores my Gerber multi-tool. My favorite feature is the 2-way zip, which allows one to relieve oneself over the side without having to derobe.

3. Boots: Shamrock Stretch Boot by Dubarry of Ireland: Cozy feet are happy feet and happy feet make for a good sailor. These boots are gore-tex lined and incredibly comfortable. There’s enough room to fit a Little Hotties toe warmer inside as well. Some people think it’s cool to
wear these boots around town. Don’t. These boots will save your life, so treat those award-winning slip resistant soles with respect and have a pair of sneakers to change into when you’re
back on the dock before you reach the pavement.

4. Lifejacket: Lotus Designs PFD: This was my lifejacket from college sailing. I picked it up on a five-finger discount from the Lost & Found at the yacht club after watching it go unclaimed for an entire summer. The low profile/flak-jacket look is key to keep the things flow. The utility pocket on the front carries your knife, lip balm, granola bar, and beer koozie.

5. Gloves: Atlas Thermal Fit gardening gloves: Yes gardening gloves. Sold individually and preferred by sailors who always seem to lose just one glove. Much cheaper than brand-name sailing-specific gloves, just as warm, and in many cases more functional.

6. Sunglasses: Haber Vision Kenais: A bunch of ex Bollé guys got together and produced a gnarly line of polarized shades at value prices. The full coverage blocks out glare, and the polarized rose-colored lenses allow you to spot that lefty shift coming down the course from 300 yards
away.

7. Hat: Patagonia Beanie: Crews might prefer a thicker wool hat, but as a skipper, I often get warm when I’m in the thick of racing.

8. Fleece Sweater: Patagonia R2 Jacket: This piece will essentially be your mid-layer between your smock and you base underwear. It is super light, super compressible, breathable, and heck, the U.S. Marines even use this jacket (have yet to find the special issue tan and olive drab), it must be good! The softly lined inner collar is where it’s at.

9. Fleece Pants: Patagonia R1 Pant: Similar to the R2 jacket but for your legs. Could get a little warm on the more mild days, if so, drop down to full-length capilene tights.

10. Wicking Undershirt: Patagonia Capilene: No cotton t-shirts in here. We wick and we stay warm and dry. Not much more to say here.

11. Wicking Underwear: Patagonia Active Boxers: The outdoor sportsman can’t have enough pairs of this wicking boxer short.

12. Socks: Patagonia Mid-weight Hiking Socks: If it seems like I’m obsessed with Patagonia, I am. They make good stuff and I believe that pretty much all others are just imitations. In all practicality though, you need a warm sock for frostbiting but it’s important that your sock not be a thick one. In the event you end up in the water and your boots fill up, you need to be able to kick them off easily. While this is an extreme situation, in reality, the Dubarry’s seem to fit better with a thinner sock.

13. Multi-tool: Gerber: The icon on this tool is a sword in a stone. I’ve had this tool since high, school and it has truly been my Excalibur. The quick deploy needle-nose pliers are a big help in clasping cold ring dings and adjusting shroud tension.

14. Knife: Boye Boatknife: A multi-tool AND a knife you say? What for? Well, the Gerber is your toolbox in a sheath for all the nuts, bolts, ring dings, pins, and other misc. hardware on the boat that might require attention. Yes the Gerber has a blade, but every sailor worth his salt knows a knife is really for personal safety. When things get rough and that line needs to be cut to free yourself or your crew from danger, you need a blade that will deploy quickly, cut inch-thick line like butter, and it’s dendritic cobalt so it won’t rust in the saltwater environment. For that you choose Boye.

15. Activated Warmers: Little Hotties:
It might seem like cheating with all this gear to use these little suckers but when it’s cold out, you’ll be glad to have them. Who said you have to suffer and be uncomfortable?! Enjoy some creature comforts and stuff yourself (especially crews) with these activated charcoal warmers.

16. Neck gaiter: Buff Original: Some people like the fleece ski neck gaiter, I prefer the lower profile, climate controlled Buff. The fish scale pattern lets the competition know I’m serious.

HOUSES | An Alpine-style 1960s beauty in Mount Kisco

67grandview67 Grandview Drive in Mount Kisco, our new home.

We’ve taken plunge. My long silence here can be attributed to our recent purchase of a home in Mount Kisco. Mrs. F and I have been completely consumed by the improvements we’re making at 67 Grandview Drive.

The house, built in 1963, is an Alpine-style raised ranch. To be honest, it’s not what I thought we’d end up with. I had visions of us in the classic Westchester starter: a pre-1930, three-bedroom, one-and-a-half bath that was either colonial revival or Tudor in style. Mrs. F. is owed the credit for finding this house and having the vision to see it through. What she saw immediately and I see now was a very interesting interpretation of our style: There are houses quite a bit like this in our beloved Lake Placid and we love the 1960s. So there you have it.

Though the place was an aesthetic mess on the inside — the exterior isn’t perfect either; stucco was carried across three sides of the first level but not on the facade — it had, as the cliche goes, good bones. The kitchen cabinets were solid, the floors were fine and the utilities were in good order. The lot is adequate and provides an ample back yard space. The best features, we think, are the collection of evergreens that screen the house from neighbors and provide an Adirondack illusion.

Since taking possession on March 9, we’ve set about correcting the interior deficiencies. Electrical service has been upgraded. Painting and floor restoration are under way. We cleaned up the Scheirich kitchen cabinets and are in the decide-and-purchase phases of ordering new countertops and new appliances. The bathrooms, one sky blue and one mauve, will wait, as will replacements for the aluminum-frame windows.

You can follow our progress at a special Tumblr blog I’ve created to track our improvements.

And here’s a Flickr set with more photos than you’ll ever need to see.

LIVES | The Rev. Peter J. Gomes, 1942-2011

Gomes
President William L. Fox ‘75 applauds as the Rev. Peter J. Gomes, rector of Memorial Church at Harvard, is hooded by University marshals Aileen O’Donoghue and J. Mark Erickson after receving an honorary doctor of divinity degree honoris causa at St. Lawrence University’s 150th Commencement in May 2010. Gomes died on Monday. Image taken by Tara Freeman, University Photographer.

The passage of the Rev. Peter J. Gomes, longtime Pusey Minister of Harvard’s Memorial Church and Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at the School of Divinity, is worth noting here. Mrs. F. alerted me to his passage just after I arrived at work this morning. Gomes died Monday at Massachusetts General Hospital from complications of a stroke he suffered in December. He was 68.

Though neither of us are Harvard people, we shared a Laurentian affinity with Dr. Gomes, whom we met last spring when he was awarded an honorary degree at St. Lawrence’s 150th Commencement. As I noted on Facebook earlier today, Gomes delivered the finest speech I’ve heard at any of the dozen St. Lawrence commencements I’ve attended. His oratory, which drew simultaneously on his African-American roots and the best traditions of the English church, was remarkable. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., writing for The New Yorker today, likened Gomes’ style to Cotton Mather’s. Here’s a favorite passage from his delivery in Canton:

… I am obliged to say a few things to you. Otherwise, you wouldn’t think me worthy of the degree that has just been given me. And so, I have given some thought as to what to say to candidates for degrees on this very happy occasion. I love occasions like this. They remind those of us who live in the University, as I do, that there is a greater and a wider world out there. And from time to time we must go into it. This is the day in which you must go into it, for better or worse. I salute my colleagues in the faculty, for we don’t have to go anywhere. That is one of the glories of academia. …

You can download — and I strongly recommend you do download it — Gomes’ speech here.

Indeed, he was terribly stylish. All of us who attended last spring’s commencement remarked on his appearance — watch fobs, three-piece suits, circular, tortoise eyeglasses. Remarkable. He received his degree in Harvard’s crimson robe, a tailed Roman collar and a pinstripe suit.

But far more important than that, Gomes was substantive. He was a member of the sadly dying breed of flamboyantly brilliant American public intellectuals. He was deeply complicated. He made waves in the early 1990s when he came out of the closet. As a child, he was convinced that he was a descendant of the Pilgrims — much of his scholarship was devoted to the beginnings of Yankee culture. He was a staunch Republican who delivered the benediction at Ronald Reagan’s second inaugural but broke with his party late in life to support Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick. And he believed the story of Christian faith was ever evolving.

I’ll leave you with this video, in which Gomes addresses the Kennedy School’s Center Public Leadership on the misuse of power by religious authority:

Here’s the Times obituary.

SKIING | Gone skijoring outside Saranac Lake

SkijoringYour writer and his hound, Kennedy, give skijoring a go a few miles from Saranac Lake on Sunday morning.

It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. And in all the years I lived in the Adirondacks, I never gave it a go.

Skijoring, in which a nordic skier is pulled by a dog or horse, is not something I ever thought my hound, Kennedy, could handle. While he is a very fast runner, he’s led by his nose and he only weighs 35 pounds. But on Sunday, during a visit to Camp Mary, aka Mount Van Hann, a property outside Saranac Lake owned by our dear friends Molly and Steve Hann, we gave it a try.

Ken was up for the challenge.

Despite initially trying to play with Lola, the Hann’s English Setter, he eventually got the concept, if not the practice. That nose distracted him quite a few times. He was, after all, at home in his native Adirondacks and he loves to dive into deep snow piles.

By the time Steve yielded the harness to me, though, Ken had basically hit a stride, albeit a slow one as he was tiring out — 45 minutes of dashing around with a snowshoed Mrs. F. diminished his strength.

As you can see in the gallery below, the Hanns have developed a nice little network of loops. Steve, ever the man for a project, has purchased a 1979 SkiDoo Alpine and built a groomer. They’ve got a kilometer and a half of trail in total, all cleared and well marked.

Take a look:

SCENE | Saints v. Yale at the Whale

SaintsYale
Saint goalie Matt Weninger turns back a Yale shot during a recent game at Ingalls Rink.

A recent Saturday night was spent in the company of some of our dearest Laurentian friends. A good group of us headed up I-95 to New Haven, where our Skating Saints were squaring off against the Bulldogs of Yale at Ingalls Rink.

Better known as the Whale for its striking and very unique appearance, Ingalls Rink was designed by Eero Saarinen and was constructed between 1953 and 1958. Like our own Appleton Arena, the Whale has a unique timber roof, whose curves are supported by a central concrete arch. The building was recently renovated and was sparkling on Saturday night. Particularly impressive were the distinctive banners, whose diagonal stripes were highlighted by the shields of each ECAC team. The game was less impressive; the Saints dropped a 4-1 decision to the Bulldogs, the No. 1 team in college hockey.

Prior to the game, St. Lawrence hosted a very nice dinner at the New Haven Lawn Club. In addition to cocktails and a decent buffet spread, the Alumni Association’s executive council sponsored a silent auction. I’m told it raised nearly $1,300.

Here’s a photo gallery:

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