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The artists painted a version of this landscape.

Both sat behind their easels, but in different places on the banks of the Chadakoin River.

One artist used acrylic paints while the other used oil based paints. Everyone made sure the shading and lighting were as accurate as possible. Both painted the same live scene but from different angles. No matter what angle they were painting from, the view was beautiful on a late Friday afternoon along the Jamestown Riverwalk System near the Board of Public Utilities buildings.

One might think the system would attract walkers, joggers, cyclists and others who like to be active.

The painters painted landscapes for the plein air competition at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute. Their scene was the Chadakon River and its surroundings. Included in the scene were the river, a Washington Street Bridge, the National Comedy Center, the former Furniture Mart building, trees, a footbridge, the giant breakwall, the walking trail, green grass, train tracks, and the blue sky with white clouds that reminiscent of huge balls of cotton.

A rock reminiscent of the Panzarella Park. PJ photo by Michael Zabrodsky

Melissa Meyers, a Bemus Point artist, honed her live painting skills here.

“I deal with all kinds of media” said Meyers.

She painted peacefully and had started on a Thursday. She enjoys working with acrylics and said it’s challenging to paint when the sun is moving because the shadows move and the perspective changes. It was the first time she painted a live setting. Usually, she said, she takes a photo and paints a copy of the photo in her studio.

“When the sun is out, the colors you mix dry so quickly. Yesterday they dried before I could even use them.” She said.

According to artistnetwork.com, plein-air painting is about leaving the four walls of your studio behind and experiencing painting and drawing in the landscape. The practice dates back centuries but was truly made into an art form by the French Impressionists. Her desire to paint light and its shifting, ephemeral qualities, coupled with the development of transportable tubes of paint and the box easel—the precursor to today’s plein air easels—allowed artists the freedom to paint “en plein air,” the French term for ,outdoors’.”

A footbridge leading to Panzarella Park near the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities buildings. PJ photo by Michael Zabrodsky

Another artist, Leslie Calimeri from Jamestown, used oil paints and also completed her painting in the Plein Air competition. She said she focuses on local landscapes and historical areas.

“Sometimes I also paint vegetation and things that are often overlooked but have a lot of beauty in them – and highlight the area in which we live. I have always really enjoyed the juxtaposition of architecture – especially transportation – and the surrounding nature – the forms fit together”, She said.

Through world-class exhibits and programs, RTPI illuminates the beauty of nature; calls on people to address environmental issues of regional, national and global importance; and inspires us to conserve the planet’s biodiversity — with a special focus on the natural wonders of western New York, according to RTPI.org.

“I think it’s great what’s being done there” Added Calimeri.

The tranquility is another aspect that draws visitors to the trails.

A sign near the entrance to the Riverwalk system. PJ photo by Michael Zabrodsky

The system is a five-mile urban trail system that follows the Chadakoin River through downtown Jamestown. which offers trails for hiking, jogging, cycling and inline skating. According to tourchautauqua.com, the system is connected to several city parks, including Chadakoin Park, Comedy Park, and McCrea Point Park and the Boat Launch.

Jamestown BPU employee Anne Cappalino enjoys the Riverwalk on her breaks.

“I like to come, walk the Riverwalk and just enjoy the scenery and the tranquility of the area.” said Cappalino.

Leslie Calimeri sits behind her easel and paints a cityscape. PJ photos by Michael Zabrodsky


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