SARANAC LAKE - Crista Pisano is the pint-sized, mini-skirted painter who won the Plein Air Magazine "Best of Show" award at the 2012 Adirondack Plein Air Festival held in Saranac Lake.
Her prize-winning painting was a little 3-inch-by-12-inch oil of nearby Tupper Lake.
She comes from Nyack, just north of New York City, and said she likes coming up to the Adirondacks because "you don?t have to pay any tolls to cross bridges or enter the park."
Best in Show winner Crista Pisano
(Photo — Sandra Hildreth)
Affectionately nicknamed Amy Winehouse by her friends at the festival, Pisano also commented, when genuinely surprised to receive the award, that she was so glad she put on her eyeliner that morning.
Pisano won the $200 Saranac Lake ArtWorks Award at the 2011 Adirondack Plein Air Festival. She was given the $250 Cape Air Award at the 2010 festival, which was the first time awards were given out.
Her paintings are usually purchased during the Show & Sale on the last day of the event. Her 2012 "Best in Show" Award was donated by Publisher Eric Rhoads and is a one-fourth-page full color ad in Plein Air magazine.
The 2012 Adirondack Plein Air Festival had a record 56 artists registered from a number of different states, one Canadian and a good representation of regional New York artists.
As before, the first day was the popular "Paint the Town" event. The village of Saranac Lake saw traffic jams as onlookers watched artists and easels set up all over.
Each artist donates a 5-inch-by-7-inch painting for a silent auction; this year's nonprofit beneficiary was Pendragon Theatre, bringing year-round live performances to Saranac Lake for more than 30 years.
While auction figures are not final, it looks like Saranac Lake ArtWorks, the event sponsor, will donate $2,500 to Pendragon Theatre.
It rained a little on Aug. 17 while artists were out painting along the trails at the Paul Smith's College VIC, and on that Saturday it was 36 degrees at sunrise but a glorious day for painting. Adirondack blue skies and puffy cumulus clouds were apparent in many of the paintings.
Each artist was allowed to frame and hang three pieces, completed at the event, in the Show & Sale held in the Harrietstown Town Hall on Aug. 19.
The juror of awards was nationally known plein air painter Ann Larsen, of Edinburgh. Larsen paints in plein air events all over the country, but she lives in the Adirondacks. Besides the "Best in Show" Award, donated by Plein Air magazine to Pisano, Janet Marie Yeates of Northville received the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce "Cover Art" Award, and her painting of the historic train depot will be used on the cover of the 2013 SLACC Visitors Guide and website.
Eberhard Froehlich of Montreal was awarded two round-trip tickets from Cape Air, George Van Hook of Cambridge was given the $200 Saranac Lake ArtWorks Award, Fred Holman of Brant Lake received the $200 Adirondack Artists' Guild Award, Marion Kratky of Northville was given the $200 Pendragon Theatre "In the Moment" Award, Tarryl Gabel of Poughkeepsie earned the Adirondack Medical Center "Spirit of Health & Healing" Award, Marilyn Fairman of Johnstown won two nights of meals and lodging donated by Saranac Village at Will Rogers, for the second year in a row Gretchen Kelly of Hudson received the Bookstore Plus Award for the most outstanding watercolor, Judy Soprano of Rochester was given a certificate for dinner for four at the St. Regis Cafe for the best painting done at the Paul Smith's College VIC, and Nicolay Mikushkin won a $100 gift certificate donated by the Adirondack Motel in Saranac Lake.
Two honorable mention awards were presented to Nancy Brossard of Childwold and Chrissy Pahucki of Pine Island. The $100 Time Warner "People?s Choice" Award, determined by ballots cast by exhibit visitors, went to Daisy dePuthod of Hopewell Junction for a painting of Little Italy done at night. DePuthod drew quite a bit of attention for setting up her easel after dark in Riverside Park, across from the restaurant, and painting with the aid of little battery operated lights attached to her easel.
Art collectors eagerly awaited the opening of the exhibit and several times had to be asked to wait until after the awards were given out at 1 p.m. because the pieces they had selected to purchase were going to receive awards. An original work of art, created by a talented artist right on the spot, is becoming more valued both as art and as a special souvenir of a visit to the Adirondacks. By 3 p.m., there were a lot of blank spaces on the display walls, and 17 of the participating artists had sold one or more paintings.
The fifth annual Adirondack Plein Air Festival will take place Aug. 15-18, 2013.
Information is available at saranaclakeartworks.com. Contact Sandra Hildreth at 518-891-1388 to be added to a mailing list, or to host artists to paint the views from their home or camp.