The Northern Forest in Watercolor
by Mary Thill
Seven paintings inspired and painted in the Adirondacks have come home. Rebecca Richman is an artist and former conservation staffer with the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy who now lives in Colorado. She made a road trip in June to deliver her original watercolors of Northern Forest subjects to two local institutions.
Three paintings, of Bicknell’s thrush, red spruce, and brook trout, are now part of the permanent collection at View, the arts center in Old Forge.
The remaining four pieces of Richman’s boreal series (loon, sugar maple, mayfly, and red-backed salamander) will be on permanent display as part of educational exhibits at the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center (VIC), in Paul Smiths.
Between 2003 and 2006 Richman painted species highly affected by acid rain to highlight the impacts of pollution on Northeastern forests. Clean Air Act amendments and tighter state regulations are reducing some fossil-fuel emissions, and Adirondack ponds and streams are beginning to increase in pH, though the landscape remains saturated with nitrogen and mercury. Richman says she paints to raise awareness of conservation issues. She brought the Boreal Relationships collection back to the Adirondacks in hopes of educating visitors and inspiring continued action to decrease pollution affecting the park.