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Come and discover the unique works created by regional fine artists and artisans at The Winter Arts Festival. This juried fine art show and sale at the Lodge at Holiday Valley is Saturday, November 18th from 10am to 6pm. You will find many works inspired by the natural environment, but none more so than those by these participants whose muses are land, sea and wildlife.

Landscape oil painter and Copley Master Mikel Wintermantel describes how nature inspires and revives him this way, “Whenever I need to reset or I have a chance to escape the “rat race,” I invariably turn to nature. It is a common human reaction to stress, a compulsive need to reconnect with the environment. That feeling has been with me my entire life. It is not something that is taught, it is part of my very being. For those reasons, it was a foregone conclusion that I would paint landscapes, particularly the luminous landscape of the northeast that the artists of the Hudson River School captured in the mid-19th century. We are fortunate to be surrounded by much of the same light and space that inspired those artists to create a tribute to Mother Nature. And I am fortunate enough to have the ability to create my own visceral response, in paint, to the beauty of the American landscape.”

Mikel’s work is well known and has found a home in numerous collections worldwide. He has had the pleasure of meeting many of those collectors and is at once humbled and flattered to be included in those collections, hanging alongside many of his favorite artists.

In a much wetter environment, underwater photographer Jerry Cummins Sr. is a scuba diver first and later became a photographer of seascapes so he could share his experiences with his family and friends. It started as a hobby, and this past summer he successfully sold his work at Art in the Park in Olean, and now he joins the Winter Arts Festival. Jerry’s company, J & D Scuba, in Allegany will be 40 next year. He describes how he got into the business, “I started scuba diving back in 1969 while in high school – I was a huge “Sea Hunt” fan of Lloyd Bridges [a 1958-1961 television program]. I was so hooked that when I got out of the US Navy in 1977 I wanted to get more involved in diving and became an assistant instructor. Then I open J & D Scuba Shop in 1978 and in 1980 I became a NAUI Dive Instructor. We offer all levels of scuba training and specialize in dive travel.”

For his equipment, Cummins uses a GoPro with underwater housing, red filter and Strobe. He shoots wherever his scuba company trips have taken him – the Bahamas, Utila, Galapagos Islands, Philippines, Honduras, Palau, and Yap Great Barrier Reef to name a few.

Wildlife photographer Rocky Holland found a renewed interest in outdoor photography while living in Alaska in the late 1960s. After he returned to his hometown of Kane, Pennsylvania, Holland wondered if he could ever find as compelling natural subjects again. He quickly discovered that Northwestern Pennsylvania and Southwestern New York are ideal locations for nature photography with no lack of subjects.

Although he uses a digital camera, Holland explains, “My photography is still “old school,” which means I still go into the field, spend hours at locations, and do not computer enhance my images. What you see in my pictures is really there!” He began showing his work to the public about fifteen years ago. Now, with his business, Eagle-Eye Photography, Holland does many nature shows during the year, ranging from small local displays, to larger nature art festivals, to giving talks on the joys of nature photography. Holland is also working with the Pennsylvania Wilds and Allegheny National Forest Travel Bureau to promote tourism in the area.

Come meet these artists, hear what inspires them and buy some of their original works to put on your wall and inspire you every day!

The Winter Arts Festival is produced by the Cattaraugus County Arts Council with special support from Holiday Valley Lodge, the Ellicottville Times and the Cattaraugus County Department of Economic Development and Tourism. There is no admission charge for shoppers, but you are invited to participate in the basket raffle fundraiser for CCAC featuring wares from regional businesses.