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Kingston’s Artist of the Hudson River School

Rondout Creek (c. 1850). Credit New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Life is a journey they say and achievements during lifetime of an individual are occasionally evident years later, long after the demise of the individual himself. This is a great story of Jervis McEntee. The legacy of this great painter has begun to resurface approximately 125 years after his death.

Jervis’ life especially in the painting aspects is showcased by two major exhibitions and it’s clear that the work of this prolific painter who was little known by then presented a unique capture that seemed absent with other well- known painters of the time. The story of this 19th century painter is found in the collections of his own personal journals that provides a great insight to artist’s interested in unveiling the early moments of the considered United States first native art movement, the Hudson River School.The historical full-dress portrait of Jervis McEntee that is present at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of art housed at the state university of New York at New Platz presents the undisputed contribution of this poet-painter in the life and evolution of art in the United States. Therefore, the personal journals and the portraits in two different exhibition zones and presenting two different perspectives gives an in-depth view of the early American art, all attributed to Jervis.

1828 is the definitive year for the birth of this noble painter who was born and raised in Rondout which later merged with Kingston. This area where he was raised has evolved to become a magnet for two generations of American artists thus producing a number of popular artists who significantly contributed in the poetic and painting sector of the United States.

In the time of Jervis, artists through their works ventured to abandon the grand tradition of allegorical, devout and antique themes and conveyed the spiritual solace found in nature and this was characterized by the periods of political and social glitches that prevailed through the 19th century.

During this time, artists in America such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and William Cullen Bryant utilized the advancements that were being witnessed to gain expansive grounds for their artistic works and thus utilized this state of affairs to merge arts with prototypical and entrepreneurial Yankee pride. Among those who also played a significant role in molding this entrepreneurial pride was McEntees mentor, Fredric Edwin Church who traversed far and wide within and beyond the continent and during such explorations created poetic landscape prospects which presently serve as the 19th century documentaries.

Contrastingly, Jervis’ works were limited in scope and centered in various American glamorous landscapes. Unlike other artists, he did not venture into expansive travelling but instead spent most of the time at home and his works were relatively small in size. Thus the Kingston exhibition calls him a self-taught country artist whose contribution in the national academy of design made him quite influential.

McEntee majorly commuted between Rondout and his Manhattan gallery on 10th street, in a building designed by Richard Morris Hunt for artists. His collections which are rarely seen provide an unprecedented welcome to his family life as well as social aspects of his life. The photos in these collections include the McEntee parlor, filled with books and paintings, a picture of his wife, Gertrude who was a singer and the picture depicts her as dazzlingly costumed for her role in Esther. His sister, Mary married Calvert Vaux who was a co-designer of Central Park.

The collection also covers a gift presented to McEntees of a volume of Henry Shaw’s Dresses and Decoration of the middle ages. This gift was given by actor Edwin Booth who was welcomed and assisted by the McEntees after his brother John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Abraham Lincoln.

The early paintings of Jervis present a unique and interesting appeal regardless of the naïve style which they are presented. To begin with, the Rondout Creek and Hudson River and Ponckhockie peninsula (circa 1850) provides capacious view of the earth including the land and water as well as planes with the sailboats that propel the eye toward the horizon. This artwork is a contrast of another one of his works called The Woods of Asshockan Catskills (1871) which presents a viewer with a deep exposure within the woods with its light and texture paying homage to the Church.

At the Dorsky exhibition, the paintings of McEntee portrays him as a unique yet modest painter who lived among other American legends. Despite the exposures and other encounters as well with other painters, his brush preferred to meander through quiet forest paths and to seek spaces between branches during his artistic work and the final work looked quite appealing. He himself admitted to the love of his style as he wrote “what I do like to paint is my impression of a simple scene in nature” in his journals.His works presented a love of nature and he could pursue the nature’s ruminating moods in late autumn and winter when trees become bare while the sky appears grey. One of his paintings, The Approaching Storm, Early Evening presents blackened woods yielding to the thunderous clouds which were castigated in rumbling tones of gray, blue and black. The link between his painting and his personal entries in the journal is undisputed which finds him occasionally fretting over money, headaches and premature loss of his life.

Despite the fact that most of his paintings focused on nature’s darker moments, sunlight was as well captured in a number of his works. Winter Sunset after a Storm (circa 1870) and Beeches and Ferns (1859) are examples of such collections. Worth to note, a number of his works also presented a betrayal of the European influences that McEntee publicly criticized for abandoning the fidelity of nature and examples of such works include The Danger signal (1871).

While his works failed to gain great recognition then, the Dorsky exhibition however describes McEntee as an artist who stayed true to himself and to the sense of place which was essentially part of his being. To find more and learn about this great artist, visiting Kingston and Dorsky exhibitions as well as West Chester Street where McEntee lived will provide a great insight to the life of this artist. Making a memorial visit to the cemetery where Vaux’s tombstone stands and is surrounded by those of McEntee and his family can be worthy it.


Chinese Calligraphy by Freda Lee-McCann

Freda Lee-McCann

Chinese-American artist Freda Lee-McCann discusses her artistic combination of traditional Chinese calligraphy with Western influence.

Comprised of a diversity of human activities, whether music, drawing, painting, photography, or sculpting and other avenues, the arts represents an outlet of expression in universal language. Its physical manifestation is highly powerful, capable of overcoming cultural barriers and finding ways to bring people together towards a beautiful shared experience.

Calligraphy or the handwritten art of lettering traces back to ancient times, since 600 B.C.

Chinese-American artist Freda Lee-McCann and her works are also deeply linked in history. She has managed to perfectly blend her mastery of traditional Chinese brushwork and watercolor painting based on a more Western-style.

Trying to break the rules, but still, trying to maintain traditional aspects at the same time is exactly what she’s doing. Freda implies that this sort of marries the two cultures.

The outcome? Art that has brought to life her view of the world as an artist who was born in the United States, but actually grew up in China.

She further says that she was in search for her own voice. Freda refers to living almost all her life in the US and being so much American now, but there remains a part of her that’s undeniably very Chinese. Hence, she finds it emotionally essential to be able to maintain the part of her work that elicits a Chinese ambiance.

In Freda’s skillful hands, the ancient decorative handwriting or calligraphy takes on a new meaning. colorful, distinctive, and quite remarkable as her unique piece. This week’s Full Frame Close Up entails visiting Freda at her studio situated in Virginia. We are bound to witness her impressively creative way of putting East and West together into one astounding form.

Chinese Calligraphy is a visual art form of calligraphy in which its practice is widespread in China. This exceptional art is undoubtedly prized in China, and revered in the Chinese cultural sphere, including Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

This tradition in East Asia originated from China as well, and was further enhanced by other countries. Today, the calligraphic form exhibits general standardization the myriad of styles the tradition holds. Chinese calligraphy is mostly associated to ink and wash painting, wherein both methods are achieved using similar tools and almost the same techniques.

Calligraphy and painting stand out from other cultural arts for the reason that they put emphasis on motion and are dynamically brimming with life. Stanley-Baker states that calligraphy is sheer life that is experienced through energy in motion, thereby registered as traces on silk or paper. He adds that the main points are time and rhythm incorporated in shifting space. This art of writing has likewise led to the development of various forms of art in China. Examples would be intricate seal carvings, ornate crafted paperweights, and traditional inkstones.

Freda Lee-McCann

Born in Washington DC. China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong are the places she lived in, and eventually moved to the United States in the year 1960.

Background in Art:

Studied Chinese painting along with C.P. Huang during the year 1955 and also with C.B. King unitl 1960, in Taipei, Taiwan. Studied at the University of Maryland where she minored in Art. In the year 1981-2003, took up Chinese Painting in New York City along with C.C. Wang. She also entered workshops with Skip Lawrence, Diana Marta, Catherine Liu, Joe Mayer, etc.


Current Member of the Studio Gallery located in Washington, DC. Member of The Spectrum Gallery Inc. located as well in Washington DC, from the year 2000-2006. Signature Member of the Baltimore Watercolor Society. Member of the Rockville Art League, The Art League in VA, WPA/C, the Howard County Council for the Arts as well as the West River Artists Group.

Teaching Experience:

May 2008 – Invited for a demo at Potomac, MD, in the Sumi-e Society Local Chapter
2007-2008 – Chinese Landscape Painting workshop held for the Charles County Art Alliance in MD.
2005 – teaching private students at home since this particular year.
2004 – Laurel Art League, conducted a painting workshop for Chinese Landscape
2002 and 2003 – Conducted a number of painting workshops located in Columbia
May, 2001 – guest lecture for Chinese Landscape painting at the Howard Community College
1999-2006 – Taught Chinese Ink Painting in Gaithersburg MD at the OASIS
1997 and 1998 – guest lecture for Chinese painting at Towson University for the Watercolor Class II


Laura Poss – Watercolorist competition

What began as a pastime activity is currently the job that Laura Poss makes a living with. Laura is a Greensboro native who is thrilled to announce her entry into the prestigious Watercolor Society of North Carolina’s 70th Annual Showcase. This reputable event acknowledges and rewards some of the leading watercolorists within the state.

iTunes by Laura D Poss

iTunes by Laura D Poss

Poss takes pleasure in all kinds of arts and crafts and strongly believes that her creativity came from being a lone child up to the age of 10 years. Her obscure home life propelled her into finding things that she could be able to paint or draw, many times impressing her mother with her flawless artistic potential. During her teenage years and also early adult years, she turned to illustration, mostly imitating animated characters in books or movies, which she claims greatly inspired her at that particular point in her life. When she got married and got a son, Poss just naturally began creating art for her kid by furnishing his room with her original art pieces. Additionally, at that particular time, she became passionate of craft acrylic and quickly began painting all black surfaces present in her home and also her furniture.

Poss stumbled upon watercolor painting when her son started middle school. She used to stay at Oriental, North Carolina State when she checked out the works of a certain professional watercolor artist known as Ernest Johnson. “The manner in which he painted the sailboats was so crisp and attractive, and I could hardly believe the transparent essence of his watercolor washes”, claims Poss after describing that Johnson’s artwork was what motivated her into this dimension of art.

The Watercolor Society of North Carolina’s Annual Exhibition is an event that plenty of statewide watercolor enthusiasts struggle to be able to gain that precious acceptance into. Poss came to know about the competition following the work of artists in the North Carolina state that she greatly admired. Whenever a certain artist is embraced into three of the prestigious annual exhibitions, then that artist is presented with the honor of becoming a signature member of the society, which is what Poss has been dreaming of. “I believe that setting goals for me to achieve as an artist forces me to try out new things and to put more effort in becoming a better and greater artist”, said Poss, who strongly believes that setting goals is key to preventing her from being self-satisfied with her work.

For the occasion, Poss shall unveil what she described as her masterpiece paintings. The piece is referred to as iTunes, and it encompasses photographs that she took of her 16-year-old son when they visited Southport last summer. “I felt that the view would make a magnificent painting of him, by the way he was sitting, listening to music on his iPod, and looking at the beautiful water. He is still with us the parents, but still setting himself aside, choosing to listen to his music and finding a place to sit all alone“,Poss said, also adding that she was not quite sure if her son was aware he was being photographed by her. Poss was permitted to submit two paintings into the competition, and even though she had a hard time picking her second painting, the iTunes piece was unquestionably her first choice for presentation.

Northern Saw-Whet Owl by Laura Poss

To be accepted into the Watercolor Society of North Carolina’s Annual Exhibition is pretty much a big deal for Poss and as she had claimed, it is perhaps her greatest achievement as a watercolorist. She has showcased her pieces at very many juried arts and crafts exhibitions before, along with festivals across the North Carolina state, and also has received the honor of selling out over a hundred of her indigenous watercolor paintings in addition to many other magnificent reproductions.


Do you want to go?

The Watercolor Society of North Carolina’s 70th Annual Exhibition shall be unveiled at Mooresville Arts, situated at the W. Center St. Mooresville NC, starting on the 11th of October all the way to 29th November. The exhibits shall be open for public viewing and will be unveiled from Tuesday to Saturday from around 12 noon to 5 pm

Laura D. Poss is a watercolor enthusiast with an infatuation for the outdoors. Stationed at Central North Carolina, she is motivated by the distinct view of the South Eastern United States area. The linchpin of her work explores vast nature and also outdoor scenery, including landscapes of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge, wildlife, birds, the nautical and seashore view amongst other nature themes.

Poss’s painting technique is perchance well described as impressionism with a bias to realism. She struggles to utilize enough detail to administer life and realism to her subjects, at the same time blending a loose style of watercolor which lets the paint mix and flow on paper. She concentrates majorly on texture in her work and also prefers to paint with multiple watercolor layers to form some depth and interest. As a transparent kind of medium, she believes that the watercolor’s greatest resilience is its capability of displaying multiple layers of brushstrokes and washes at the same time.


Max Mallie

I am obsessed with water colours and have been painting since I could hold my first brush, I have a huge passion for my own work and others, I love to teach and inspire others. I’m a very proud Dad with 3 girls and amazing wife who shares my passion for painting.

Max Mallie