For the less gifted among us, opportunities to schmooze with artists often come fueled by wine and cheese at gallery openings. But why shouldn’t somewhat stronger spirits get in on the action, now that local farm distilleries are joining wineries as hot destinations on the Hudson Valley tourism circuit?
On Saturday, June 6, that’s exactly what will be happening at the Tuthilltown Distillery in Gardiner — except that the seven artists involved will actually be at work, in an all-day event being billed as a Plein Air Paint-In. “They’re going to pick places around the property and set up around 9 a.m.,” explains distillery co-owner Ralph Erenzo, “along the [Shawangunkill] river; at the dam; in the distilling room — sprinkled around the property. They’ll break for lunch, and there’ll be cocktails on the deck at the end of the day.”
So visitors to the facility will be able to check on the artwork in progress, as the seven try to capture the views from their vantagepoints in oil paint or watercolor, in between taking a tour or trying out the latest product lines in the tasting room. “Anybody can come; there’s no charge,” Erenzo hastens to add. “You can go up to the artists and ask questions.”
Another approach that the owner recommends to folks who want to talk to the artists about their work is to make a lunch reservation at the Inn at Tuthill House, right next door. “The restaurant will be open all day. If you want to hang out with the artists and have lunch with them, come at noon. They can give you much more attention when they’re not trying to work at the same time.”
The participating artists in the Paint-In, whom Erenzo describes as “generally local,” were “rounded up” by Gardiner-based artist Annie O’Neill. They include Kevin Cook, Marlene Wiedenbaum, Lynne Friedman, John Varriano, Marsha Massih, Katherine Gray and Lucy Morris.
By 5 p.m., says Erenzo, the day’s completed paintings will be placed on display on the distillery porch, available for purchase. Mixed drinks using the various alcoholic beverages made at the distillery will be made available at the deck party, and the paintings will be on sale.
For more information about the Plein Air Paint-In, call Ralph Erenzo at (845) 255-1527. To make lunch or dinner reservations at the Tuthill House, call (845) 255-4151. For information about booking a tour of the distillery, visit the website at www.tuthilltown.com.