SARANAC LAKE — The first Third Thursday Art Walk of the summer was this week, and though torrential rain, lightning and a tornado warning drove the majority of art vendors into the Hotel Saranac, there was hustle and bustle in the hotel and a few brave souls who stuck it out on the sidewalks until the rain came.
Keatra Lapier and Peter Grayson, of Paul Smiths, were thrilled with the caricature portrait Shane McIntosh drew of them on the sidewalk during the Art Walk.
McIntosh said he’s only been doing caricature portraits for a month, but he’s been drawing people for a long time — mostly in the fantasy art he creates at Bear Stump Antiques, which he owns.
McIntosh tries to never have idle hands.
“I have a lot of time, so in between customers I paint. All day long,” he said. “I didn’t want to watch YouTube videos all day, so I started painting.”
Similarly, he started doing caricatures because he wanted to sell his paintings and didn’t want to sit there doing nothing while he waited for patrons to come into his antique shop.
While a painting can take weeks, McIntosh said caricature is a much quicker process.
“You’ve got to grab a likeness very fast,” he said. “People don’t like to sit too long.”
While his caricatures show smiling people, his paintings have a darker, mysterious subject matter — strange beings creep through subterranean hallways, protagonists encounter monsters, and one painting that shows a man tying up a wolf takes inspiration from a Cormac McCarthy novel.
McIntosh can be found doing cartoons at Barley Sandwich every Thursday.
Sam Darring was DJing as “Big Clam” inside Barley Sandwich during the Art Walk. He was brought in by Tim Branfalt, the proprietor of Black Dog Records and Nostalgia in Bloomingdale.
Darring said this was his first DJ gig ever. He’s been making hip-hop music for years, but he said he’d only been DJing for “eight hours.”
Inside the Hotel Saranac, Lila Zobel was showing off the pendants, jewelry and decorations she makes out of glass, rock and metal. She started making these shiny treasures in the third grade and will enter eighth grade next year.
The glass and rocks were gathered from all over — Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington and at the Saranac Lake Christmas Sparkle Village Craft Show.
Zobel was very happy with the sales she was getting at her first Art Walk appearance.
Yvona Fast had a wide range of books spread out before her — a collection of recipes, her mother’s memoir and a soon-to-be released collection of poems about loons. Fast has been writing about food and recipes in a column for the Enterprise for years, and has a large collection for her cookbook from her.
Edith Urban was showing her paintings of the Adirondack wilderness. One, all in black and white, hid a snowy owl among birch trees and snow — highlighting its natural camouflage. Another showed rain falling over Catamount Mountain, fitting for the rainy day.
Eugenia Urban made the frames for all the paintings. The two immerse themselves in nature and Edith paints it. Edith has a gallery in Onchiota.
Bruce Thompson, a luthier from Saranac Lake, creates guitars by hand. He was filling the hallway of the Hotel Saranac with the sounds of intricate classical fingerstyle guitar music.
He started building guitars in college in 1973.
“They weren’t very good,” Thompson laughed. It took around 28 years until he built one he thought sounded good enough to be satisfactory. Since then, he’s crafted around 75 of the instruments.
Thompson grew up playing guitars he thought he’d never be able to afford. When a friend got him a book on making classical guitars, he thought he’d never be able to do it. Then I met a man who made guitars.
“I realized that step-by-step, not one step was that insurmountable,” Thompson said.
He said taking apart and rebuilding was “hugely informative” in learning how they work.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, he said he hasn’t sold a guitar in two years, and has stopped building them because he’s run out of space in his workshop.
A guitar typically takes him around 80 to 100 hours to complete. This is longer than average, he said, because it takes his time. A lot if it is waiting. Bending wood so it doesn’t crack takes a lot of time, steam and heat.
Thompson said his guitars are not about fancy inlays and designs — he just wants a good tone out of them.
He knew the histories of the trees that produced the wood he works with.
The next Art Walk will be on July 21.