From November 1-November 26 visitors who come to Image City Photography Gallery will immediately be greeted by the large red cardinal sticking its tongue out. This scarlet backyard favorite is part of Marie and Jay Costanza’s exhibit called Wings and Wanderlust, which features Floridian birds on the main wall; along with Marie’s photos and 10 of Jay’s paintings from their wanderings in New York State, on the back and side featured walls.
Though Marie and Jay enjoy a variety of artistic genres, one of Marie’s favorite subjects to photograph in warm weather is typically birds. So, last November when she and Jay went to Florida to meet their grandchildren in Disney World, they decided to go a few days early, specifically to photograph the variety of interesting southern birds.
Marie says, “As soon as we arrived, we went wandering around the property where we were staying, and we couldn’t believe the wide variety of waterfowl and herons that we kept finding.” They were particularly intrigued with the different poses that many of the birds presented, as well as how beautiful they looked as the light shone on their feathers. They visited some area natural preserves in a quest to find birds that might be posing for portraits. “Our hope was to showcase the beauty, diversity and grace of the avian species that we found in their natural habitat. Upon entering our exhibit, we hope that visitors will enjoy the attention to detail, with each feather and expression that we meticulously tried to capture.” Jay and Marie hope that their use of lighting and composition creates a sense of intimacy, as if the viewer is peering into the private lives of these magnificent creatures.
In addition to their winged images, visitors will also see Marie and Jay’s “wanderlust” pieces. During the Pandemic, Jay and Marie traveled mainly in the NYS area, where together they enjoyed working on their art in the outdoors. When looking at the back wall and the right-side wall of the gallery, visitors will have a visual journey through some of Marie and Jay’s favorite areas of NYS. Viewers will see some scenes that represent the different perspectives that Jay and Marie had when they chose their subjects.
For example, while in the Hudson Valley area, both of them were attracted to the water and plants in the Untermyer Gardens. Jay’s pastel painting of this garden, which is a work-in-progress, is displayed next to one of Marie’s photos of the same area. She chose to zoom in on one area of the garden, while Jay chose a larger area to paint. Often Jay and Marie take photographs together while on their journeys. Jay uses his photos when working on his studio paintings, which is when he likes to show the many details of his subjects. On many days during the exhibit, Jay will be working on his Untermyer painting right in Image City. You will see him using his photo as a reference as he works on this pastel piece.
Another example of works in the exhibit that illustrate their different perspectives can be seen in Jay’s On Moose River, and Marie’s Nature’s Serenity. This time Jay chose to focus on a close- up of the scene, while Marie photographed a larger area.
When Jay is not working in his studio, he enjoys Plein Air painting, which means he paints his scenes outdoors. He says that when he is painting outdoors, “It’s a looser, broader approach of painting compared to his studio painting.” After Jay sets up his easel to paint a scene, Marie wanders around in the area finding subjects that interest her. For example in the Adirondacks, they had decided to look for boathouses that appealed to them. Jay set up his easel across the lake from the iconic boathouses in the center of Old Forge, while Marie wandered to a different area and was fascinated by the red boathouse in her photo entitled End of Summer Boathouse.
Marie and Jay’s exhibit not only celebrates the beauty of birds and the natural beauty that exists in NYS, but they also hope to raise awareness about the importance of conservation. Marie says, “We hope our exhibit will serve as a reminder of the fragile beauty that exists in the natural world of birds, as well as the beauty that is all around us in NYS.” Whether you are a bird enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of NYS, this is an exhibit that might appeal to you.
If you have questions or would like to make a comment about Marie and Jay’s show, please do so in the box below.