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Art is in full bloom at The Fountains

MILLBROOK — April is an unpredictable month in terms of weather, but it definitely is the symbol of spring.

Artists at The Fountains in  Millbrook, inspired by Director of Community Life Lisa Rieckermann, recently saw their creativity blossom after two long years of COVID fever, and came up with an idea for an art show called “Just Spring.”

It features 13 talented senior artists; the show opened March 20, the first day of spring. The Fountain’s regularly-scheduled annual show, “Expressions,” has been on hold since the pandemic and this is the first art show since COVID hit.  Rieckermann is hopeful “Expressions” will return in June 2022.

Art teacher Ellen Metzger O’Shea has added to her student’s inspiration. The result is a series of artwork that for the most part brings to mind warmer climates, gardens, seascapes and wildlife, including more than one charming scene of cows grazing in a sun-filled meadow.

O’Shea has taught art throughout her life, including in the local Arlington and Wappingers Falls school districts. She is also a respected artist herself.

They have the tools

Residents at The Fountains have access to a  well-equipped studio with glorious natural lighting, and, of course, O’Shea. Some of the residents there have dabbled in the arts as a hobby over the years while pursuing various careers.

Others have never picked up a paint brush or a pencil in their lives, until arriving at The Fountains.

The art they now produce at the retirement community is impressive. It sometimes mirrors their life experiences, places they have been, people they have met, pets they have loved.

Among the works on exhibit there includes a painting of a lighthouse by Ed Schurig. Born in New Jersey, Schurig came to the Hudson Valley by way of IBM 54 years ago, where he was a senior buyer for the firm.

He moved to The Fountains last December, and makes full use of the studio to continue the painting he has loved to do since the age of 22. He has two other pieces on display.

Ted Kerhulas, a retired sales executive for Intercontinental Hotels and MGM, is also a long-time artist.

He began painting while in grammar school in California, his home state. It remained a hobby while he pursued his career, moving from Charleston to other spots before landing in New York.

He prefers outdoor themes, and while he has exhibited his work before, this is first showing at The Fountains.

Del Snook is a dog lover, and his artwork often share that fact. Two paintings in the show are self-portraits with his dog Maggie; another is of a therapy dog who visits The Fountains.

Snook, originally from Iowa, has lived at The Fountains for three years; his son and his family live in Lagrangeville so Snook has plenty of company to come and admirer his work.

Many talents

Leon Nesis is a retired surgeon as well as a prolific painter. His artwork was featured in an exhibit at the Millbrook Library recently. His paintings reflect a great love of the outdoors, from ocean scenes to charming country displays.

Len Weiss is a fixture at The Fountains’ art studio, and his talents are varied. He paints, he carves wood and recently he has taken up caring bark.

Weiss’ work has been featured three times in the annual Watermark calendar, including in 2022. (The Fountains is managed by Watermark Retirement Communities.) His work graces the walls of The Fountains.

His wife, Terry Sawall, has also had her work exhibited, so art is something of a family occupation.

Shirley Ferneke has several of her pieces in the current Fountains’ show. “Golden Days,” an acrylic painting portraying an old gentleman enjoying a country walk with a child, was chosen for the 2022 Watermark calendar as its image for the month of September.

Other artists in “Just Spring” include Fountains’ residents Sue Lischke, Chet Wojtecki, Rosalie Geiger, Polly  Polzella, Lee Andrews, Mary Kay Blasi and Jackie Montgomery.

For more information, call 845-677-8550 or go to www.millbrook.watermarkcommunities.com; The Fountains is located at  79 Flint Road, Millbrook.

The Millbrook Library, meanwhile, will be hosting an art exhibit early this summer featuring residents from The Fountains. Many of the artists from the current exhibit will be at the opening, where people will get a chance to talk with them about their work.

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