Wingdale holds one of its best kept secrets on the banks of the Ten Mile River. In an unassuming blue barn lies the workshop of a great painter. The sign simply reads, “The Art Gallery”, but inside is a treasure trove of George H. Bell’s beautiful landscapes. His scenes range from sunset on a California beach, to beautiful fall days right in Dover Plains. George Bell has made a dilapidated old barn into the home of hundreds of natural beauties.
Mr. Bell has been at The Art Gallery for 10 years and it has housed over 1,000 of his landscapes. He began his career after he retired in 1989 from the Wassaic Developmental Center. He was inspired to start painting after watching Bob Ross’s television program, The Joy of Painting. Eventually, he had too many paintings to keep in his own house. He had a studio in Dover for three years before moving to his current studio in Wingdale. His main mediums are oil and acrylic paint on canvas, and he even makes many of his own frames.
For many artists, finding inspiration can be difficult, but George Bell actually revels in the search for a new subject. He takes inspiration from beautiful natural environments and from photographs sent to him by friends and family.
As he showcases a few of his works, his passion for nature and imagination is evident. When he is not painting, he will often enjoy the small brook by the gallery and feed birds that often become his subjects. And while Mr. Bell is steadfastly against copying other artist’s work, he does use other works as inspiration and adds creative personal touches. My favorite example of his artistry was the difference between two of his paintings. Both were based off of a nighttime photograph of a forest lake sent from his brother. One was an exact copy, with dark trees held against a cerulean sky. But in the other painting, Bell added highlights to the trees and the lake that brought the whole vision to a different dimension. George Bell is not afraid to criticize or repaint his own work, and by doing so, has made himself and his audience more aware of the beauty of nature and of imagination.
I recommend that any lover of art, or nature, or just plain good conversation stop by The Art Gallery. It is located at 6669 Route 55 in Wingdale, NY, and is open most days from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. But, if you see the light on, feel free to stop by. If you’d like to speak to the artist, or request a special piece, you may also call 845-264-2727. The Art Gallery is truly one of my community’s hidden treasures, and visiting is an experience worth traveling for.