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GALLERY | “Adirondack Waters” by Tom Bessette, Peter Hornbeck & Daniel Way
May 19 - June 26
Photographs by TOM BESSETTE and DANIEL WAY | Watercolors by PETER HORNBECK
RECEPTION: Friday, May 28 | 5:00 PM + 6:00 PM + 7:00 PM
Reservations required for one of the reception times listed above – call (518) 251-2505 x128.
Water is one of the most fundamental components of life on Earth. Our bodies contain anywhere from 55% to 78% water, and we literally can’t live without it. We usually take water for granted, since we can draw it from our faucets, and it covers 70% of the Earth’s surface. Sometimes it can be destructive, such as when it is dumped in huge amounts during hurricanes, or when it floods our basements. But water can be fun and entertaining also: we can swim in it, explore it with scuba and snorkel gear, and travel across it in various watercraft. Water can also be artistically beautiful, especially when it is calm and mirror-like. In the nineteenth century, an entire genre of artistic expression, the Hudson River School, was inspired by the waters of the Adirondacks and Hudson River Valley.
The three gentlemen have shared a love for paddling the ultralight-weight boats made by Peter Hornbeck on various Adirondack lakes, ponds, rivers and streams for over a decade. In doing so, Peter Hornbeck with his watercolors, and Tom Bessette and Daniel Way with their cameras have not only benefitted from the physical exercise of gliding across unspoiled waters, but have also felt spiritually uplifted by the natural beauty of our surroundings. They have often shared the experience with each other as members of our League of Extraordinary Adirondack Gentlemen, enhancing the pleasure even more.
This exhibit is their collective visual ode to the beauty and benefits of our Adirondack Waters. It is also a tribute to Peter Hornbeck who passed away on December 26, 2020, and whose unique and magical boats have made it possible for thousands of water enthusiasts to feel the unique form of physical and spiritual enlightenment that he created almost a half-century ago. Over a thousand Hornbeck boat owners from all over the world share their photographs and experiences on the “Hornbeck Boat Lovers” Facebook page. We hope you enjoy viewing our images as much as we have enjoyed creating them from our outings.
ABOUT TOM BESSETTE
Tom Bessette holds a Master of Fine Art in Photography degree from the State University of New York at New Paltz. He has been making images in the Adirondacks for over 50 years. He is a retired instructor at University at Albany.
ABOUT PETER HORNBECK
Peter Hornbeck (1943-2020): artist, boatbuilder, teacher
Peter’s watercolors reflect his lifelong love of wilderness.
Although a child of the suburbs, Peter was introduced to wild places by a paternal uncle, Lyle Hornbeck. As an adult, Peter wanted to live in a place where trees outnumber people. He met his wife, Ann, in 1967. The couple married in 1969 and moved to the Adirondacks in 1970. They bought property and a house in need of work along Trout Brook Road in the hamlet of Olmstedville in 1973. By that time, Peter was teaching at Johnsburg Central School in North Creek. He often drew portraits of his students and doodled cartoons as part of tests and homework assignments.
Peter painted with oils until the mid-1970s when he switched to watercolors. He preferred the spontaneous nature of the medium.
Peter and Ann established Hornbeck Boats on their property in Olmstedville. Through the years of building the business, working on the house and teaching, he kept drawing and painting. He admired the painter Winslow Homer, who, born a century earlier than Peter, spent summers in Minerva.
Peter loved a ramble through a trailless stretch of woods. He liked to camp, paddle, fish and simply sit, watching the natural world around him. The images he gathered in his mind came out on paper: the way a fish jumps; the smudge of a campfire rising against a towering forest; the way the sky is reflected in water.
As the boat business expanded, so too did Peter’s studio space. For the last 20 years of his life, he painted in a studio on the second floor of the store at Hornbeck Boats. He liked the light in the studio, and the sound of Cold Brook gurgling by just feet away.
Peter often gave away his paintings and drawings as gifts. He surprised many people – from friends and customers to the oncologist who treated Ann in 2019 – with pencil and watercolor portraits. He used photographs, mostly pictures he took himself, as a basis for his work. Peter’s paintings were also used in Adirondack Life, the Adirondack Explorer and other publications as part of advertisements for Hornbeck Boats.
ABOUT DANIEL WAY
Daniel Way, M.D., a native of Glens Falls, practiced rural family medicine in the Adirondacks for 37 years with the Hudson Headwaters Health Network before retiring in 2018. During his medical career he developed a talent for photographing the landscapes and people of the Adirondacks, which he has exhibited in galleries and published in three books. You can learn more about Dr. Way’s books, writing, photography and the League of Extraordinary Adirondack Gentlemen (LEAG) at his website. Daniel and his wife Harriet Busch, M.D., live in Glens Falls and part-time in Indian Lake.