Exciting times await people who venture out to see the sights in East Otto Country this year! Our opening date will be May 1, 2014, and this year someone new has joined our group to bring handmade and homegrown goods to travelers in Cattaraugus.
Our newest member is Keith McKale, a wood carver of prodigious talents. His carvings and wood works are truly amazing. Working from his home/studio on Tough Row Hill Road, Keith’s carvings revolve around natural subjects, specifically wildlife. He creates a wide variety of objects including birds and chip carved birdhouses, as well as Welsh love spoons, whittled chains and plaques. Keith also has a number of handcrafted carvings that he will make to order.
Charter members Mike and Elliott Hutten continue to produce fine handmade stoneware pottery at Hog-Shed Studio Pottery on the Otto Maples Road (County Road 13) in Otto, N.Y. Here you can find mugs, vases, plates and bowls as well as handmade birdfeeders and decorative pottery. There is nothing like the feel of your very own stoneware mug when you really need the comfort of a good cup of coffee. Come see the studio and watch Elliott as she works through the many stages of bringing a pot from a simple lump of clay to something that is a durable and beautiful personal treasure.
Just next door on the Otto Maples Road is Robin Clark of Brookside Studio Watercolors. Robin paints the beauty of the rural landscape and the nobility and strength of the country people around her. Her style incorporates the use of a limited palette of three colors, cadmium red, cadmium yellow and Prussian blue. She uses a direct application of flat color giving her paintings a bold and high contrast quality similar to that of a tempera/watercolor cross. Robin has always loved a good story and often weaves them into her paintings. She feels her best review came from a woman from Louisiana who wrote, ignoring the dictates of grammar, “Your paintings make me feel like you been in my head, like you seen what I seen.”
A few miles away, in Ellicottville, N.Y., is Barbara Fox who brings life to her paintings at the Mill Street Art Gallery.
As Barbara says, “I believe that no matter what the subject, a painting should incorporate beauty and technical fluency. More than something to look at for a few seconds, it should be compelling and foster further investigation. I want the viewer to think, ‘I have never seen that subject quite like that before.’”
Barbara uses references from photographs and life, and the intuition that she has developed in my many years as a painter. Each painting begins with a loose pencil drawing, and Barbara builds up the colors and value using multiple layers of washes. This gives the paintings luminosity and richness of color.
East Otto Country Associates will begin their new season May 1, 2014. Most members have hours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For a map and specific information, see their web site at www.eastotto.com or call (716) 257-9549. Also, see members of East Otto Country during the Cattaraugus County Arts Council’s Routes To Art open studio tour on May 17–18. More info at www.routestoart.com.