NCAC 'Best in Show' award a portrait of friendship

Nov. 16—WATERTOWN — A city man known for his community service to Meals on Wheels and for his skills as an antique furniture repairman is in the spotlight these days as the 74th annual Juried Fall Art Show is on display at the Dulles State Office Building.

"Dave," a painting by Kate L. Newton, a secondary art educator at Carthage High School and an adjunct art instructor at Jefferson Community College, won Best in Show at the juried event, hosted annually by the North Country Arts Council.

The Fall Art Show is on display at the Dulles State Office Building, 317 Washington St., through Nov. 26.

Ms. Newton's "Dave" is a portrait of David E. Krayenvenger, who when not volunteering in the community, can be found at Court Street Antiques, 882 W. Main St. Mr. Krayenvenger is a friend of Ms. Newton, and they met at the antique shop.

"When you walk into the shop you are pretty likely to be greeted by Dave," Ms. Newton said. "He's the 'furniture guy' at the shop repairing and refinishing pieces. He and I typically have dinner together once a week. We both look forward to finding time for that to happen."

"She's a fantastic lady, a fantastic artist and an excellent friend," Mr. Krayenvenger said.

He said Ms. Newton sent him a text saying that his image won Best in Show.

"I told her it was all due to the artist, not the subject," he said.

Mr. Krayenvenger said that they pick different restaurants to dine at and that during their meals, his dinner partner often "doodles."

"She does that without even me noticing what she's doing," he said. "Obviously, she's doing more than doodling. The woman is very talented."

"I do enjoy doodling, and if there are crayons available, he is the first to ask for them," Ms. Newton said.

In the approximately 36-inch-by-48-inch painting, Mr. Krayenvenger's hands are the central focus.

"Dave's hands naturally fall as a focal point when he sits like that, but it is also a deliberate decision to make them a main feature," Ms. Newton said. "He works and has worked with his hands for many years and they carry that story."

Mr. Krayenvenger retired in 2005 from H.T. Wiley Intermediate School, where he taught 6th grade. He volunteers for Meals on Wheels once a week.

Ms. Newton is a skilled multi-media artist, and it's not uncommon to find her in mid process on multiple pieces of art at any given time. She especially enjoys painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture and photography.

"Teaching at the high school and college level requires that you be proficient in many mediums," she said. "I really like working across the spectrum as well as mixing materials and processes. Part of growing for any artist is challenging yourself."

Art, she said, is one of the "best gifts."

"There is no 'one right way' to do something,' Ms. Newton said. "There's always more to learn, discover and play with."

Ms. Newton is part of the Fibonacci Art Gallery collaborative, 100 Court St.

"It's a warm group of friends/artists that encourage, support and challenge one another," she said.

Ms. Newton joined Fibonacci when the gallery was in Clayton. It opened in Watertown in the summer of 2020.

"We love being in the city and what an art gallery has to offer in bringing color to and breathing life into an area," she said. "Downtown continues to grow and we are grateful to be a part of that."

For artistic inspiration, Ms. Newton said that she's "a noticer."

"I can be inspired by most anything," she said. "Humanity, the play of light and shadow, compassionate acts, empathy, novelty, injustices, fleeting moments, the beauty of the mundane, words, colors, textures, the interplay of thoughts, other artists. Honestly, anything. My mind is always in motion."

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Winners at the North Country Arts Council's 74th annual Juried Fall Art Show:

Best in Show: "Dave" by Kate Newton.

Drawing: "Boss Cow" by Martha Aschmann.

Sculpture: "King of the Dragonflies" by Clifford Smith.

Photography/digital/graphic art: "69 Times" by Kate Newton.

Jewelry: "Watermelon Tourmaline Earrings" by Melissa Cocomello.

Oil Painting: "Splash of Red" by Brian Lister.

Acrylic painting: "Autumn Comes to Brighton, Utah," by Jennifer Perkins.

Watercolor painting: "Transformation" by Darlene Croniser.

Ceramics: "Canister -2," by Seth Miller.

Mixed media: "Journey 2" by Kirsten Sparenborg.

"Art That Inspires": "Socialize" by Keely O'Connor.