Two Takeyce Walter shows on display at the Arts Center

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Takeyce Walter’s serene slices of rippling streams and cotton candy-hued clouds, crafted by strokes of gouache, oils and soft pastels, seem to shimmer in the sunlight streaming through the gallery windows at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy.

“I worry about these places,” the artist said, looking at a wall of 29 paintings of blazing sunsets and tree-lined lakes inspired by the nature of upstate New York. It’s the second week of November, and it’s almost 70 degrees, a reminder that climate change looms behind the unseasonable sunshine.

Walter has been painting landscapes in earnest since she, her husband and her oldest son moved from the bustle of New York City to the Capital Region in 2003. She currently has her brush in two shows running at the Arts Center until Nov. 26: her solo show “A Breath of Fresh Air” and “Creative Collective,” which she curated.

When Walter and her family first moved to Saratoga County, adventures in nature were their go-to affordable activity. She was awestruck by the lakes and mountains, particularly in the Adirondacks. Soon her pencil sketches in her notebooks weren’t enough, and she started painting.

“A Breath of Fresh Air” and “Creative Collective”

Where: The Arts Center of the Capital Region, 265 River St., Troy
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m  Monday and Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Saturday, through Nov. 26
Tickets: All exhibits are free and open to the public


“It was an urge,” Walter said. “I had to share this with people. I didn’t know if people knew that this was happening in the region.”

Her landscapes have hung in shows across the Capital Region, with “A Breath of Fresh Air” being her latest. The 64 works displayed on the Art Center’s gallery walls were all inspired by the Adirondacks.

Some were created “plein air,” or painted on-site outdoors, like the glimpse of Lake George she captured on a 4-inch-square of paper at Shelving Rock Falls. Others were recreated from photographs or quick sketches on napkins captured roadside on drives, and many are places special to her family. She hopes that these spaces continue to exist so her children, and future generations in general, can share them with their families despite the uncertainty of climate change.

“One of these pieces will hopefully outlive me and be with somebody well into the future,” Walter said. “I would love for them to say, ‘So that place, let’s go there and see what it looks like now,’ and hopefully it looks just like that.”

Among the landscapes are paintings Walter made during Creative February, a daily creation challenge she co-created with artist and friend Kate Edwards in 2014. The idea began when Walter told her husband that for her birthday, she wanted daily time to make art. Social media attention from artists and art lovers as Walter and Edwards shared their daily creations evolved the informal challenge into a Creative February Facebook group of 132 participating artists from around the globe and almost 1,500 posts with the hashtag #creativefebruary on Instagram.

While Walter has shown her Creative February works in galleries before, including last year’s collection of 28 works highlighting places conserved by the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, “Creative Collective” is the first juried exhibition curated from Creative February artists’ submissions. Joining a selection of Edwards’ works are 23 pieces mostly by local artists. Mediums and subjects range from a delicate pen, ink and watercolor drawing of a door in San Miguel by Pamela Stendardi to a 3-D abstract landscape made with fabric and found objects encased in a plexiglass shadow box by Penny Deere. 

As Walter walks around “Creative Collective” talking about Creative February, the artists and the pieces on display, two women fresh from an oil-painting class at the center approach to compliment Walter on “A Breath of Fresh Air” and her ability to capture light and texture. The three talk about the Adirondack landmarks they recognized before heading out.

Walter meets the praise with genuine warmth and gratitude. She makes art for herself, she said. It’s her meditation, how she finds balance. The fact that others respond to it, and that some even want to buy it and live with it, still blows her mind.

“I like to think I’m passing on that peace and calm and restorative quality to that home,” Walter said. “And hopefully they will look at it and absorb some of that restorative process that I went through to create it.”

 

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