SARANAC LAKE — It’s Kathy Ford’s 35th year of turning her living room window on the west end of Lake Street into a brightly-lit winter scene, but this year, she did things a little differently.
Last year, the large picture window at 194 Lake St., which for 34 years had been the canvas for her paintings of Santa Claus, angels and nostalgic Christmas scenes, cracked for the second time. Ford always painted right on the window, painting “backwards” — details first and background last.
She’s had to replace her window twice now because of the paintings and said it cost around $3,000 each time. So when the glass manufacturers couldn’t guarantee it wouldn’t happen again, she decided to paint this year’s mural — four nutcrackers decked out in colorful regalia — on plexiglass sheets, hung from a curtain rod.
Ford came up with the design for the four nutcrackers in the fall and had the plexiglass cut to the right dimensions.
After the Christmas season, Ford said she might sell the panels or donate them to a nonprofit to raise money for charity.
Ford, a retired graphic designer, sketches the image out with a Sharpie and fills them in with acrylic paints.
Her Christmas tradition started in 1987 as a fun project to exercise her creative skills and enjoy painting with her children. They’ve grown up now, but the tradition has lasted much longer than she thought it would.
This year, her son’s friend gave her a book of photos compiled from the 34 years she had been making the windows. As the photos change from film to digital and from cameras to phones, over the years, the book shows her kids growing up, heaps of snow in front of the window on years with heavy snowfall and images of her own Christmas scenes sprinkled in.