09/23/12 5:00pm
09/23/2012 5:00 PM

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | Artist Thomas McSwane, left, with his wife, Nancy, in front of Mr. McSwane’s painting “Tree in the Middle.” His work will be on display at the Jedediah Hawkins Inn Art Barn in Jamesport until Oct. 21.

For Riverhead expressionist artist Thomas McSwane, art is more than just painting a landscape as it appears to the naked eye.

His watercolor technique involves adding the feeling he gets when looking at North Fork landscapes — including its energy and hidden colors and patterns.

The husband and father of four children said he has projected those meditative feelings into his art for the past 43 years by adding an array of bold, swirling colors to his landscape pieces. Mr. McSwane describes the method as “Landscape-Inscape,” which is also the title of his latest art exhibit at the Jedediah Hawkins Inn Art Barn in Jamesport.

“The idea of inscape is a philosophical thought from the Middle Ages that also has to do with poetry,” he said. “The idea is about the beauty of the creative world around us and how it’s more than just what you see.”

Originally from the Los Angels area, Mr. McSwane earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from San Diego State University and studied art history and art criticism at Stony Brook University’s masters program under renowned artist Donald Kuspit.

Over the course of his art career, Mr. McSwane has showcased his work in a variety of art galleries, including in Greenport and Riverhead, as well as in St. Peter’s Church in midtown Manhattan. While painting and raising his children, Dillon, 17, Josie, 21, Jessie, 27, and Dustin, 30, Mr. McSwane has also worked as a host and waiter at Tweed’s Restaurant and Buffalo Bar since it opened in downtown Riverhead.

“I’ve been painting for so many years and through raising and supporting a family, there has always been my art,” Mr. McSwane said.

In addition to his own garden, Mr. McSwane said he enjoys painting the Peconic Bay and Indian Island, as well as other landscapes across Long Island. An active member of the Living Water Church in Aquebogue, Mr. McSwane also gains his inspiration from the Bible.

During his exhibit’s opening reception Sunday, Mr. McSwane — wearing rainbow-colored, thin-rimmed circular eyeglasses — said he recently decided to put together a show after a 10-year break from exhibiting his work when his wife, Nancy, started to categorize his art this summer.

Ms. McSwane, a vocal drama coach, said she loves looking at her husband’s paintings because she sees “joy” and “excitement” in each one.

“I see another world, even though it’s a painting of my front yard,” she said of Mr. McSwane’s “Tree in the Middle” painting. “It’s not just a brown tree. He takes the other hints of colors and brings them out.”

The free exhibit is open Thursdays from 5 to 7 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 1 to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m. until Oct. 21. For more information, visit Mr. McSwane’s Facebook page at facebook.com/Colorpsalm.


07/20/12 5:00pm
07/20/2012 5:00 PM
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The breezeway at the Luce-Jedediah Hawkins Inn and restaurant which connects the main building with a barn currently used for art exhibits.

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The breezeway at the Luce-Jedediah Hawkins Inn and restaurant which connects the main building with a barn currently used for art exhibits.

The town gave the owners of the Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport a green light Thursday to build eight guest bedrooms in a barn that sits behind the historic Inn on South Jamesport Avenue.

The planning board’s site plan approval will allow the Inn’s owners, who have said the Inn will structure financially without additional sources of revenue, to make money by renting out the additional bedrooms.

The approval also allows them to add 20 more seats to the existing Luce & Hawkins Restaurant on the site, because it is considered a country inn, and the number of seats a Country Inn can have is predicated on the number of rooms it has, under the town’s code.

Earlier this year, the Inn’s owners received approval to contract an open-air breezeway connecting the restaurant to the barn. Under the town code as presently written, this allows the two buildings to be considered one, and also made the new, “one building” big enough to add the additional rooms.

But the breezeway ruling met with concern and some controversy and Town Board members are now considering changing the way a breezeway is defined.

The main Inn building that houses the restaurant and six guest rooms was built in 1863.

Pam Hunt, who has represented the Jedediah Hawkins Inn’s owners before the Planning Board, said after the decision Tuesday that they still need county health department approval and pine barrens credits before the owners can get a building permit.

The town approvals give the Inn owners three years to build the rooms.


06/28/12 5:22pm
06/28/2012 5:22 PM

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Gary Sohmers, from the PBS show “Antiques Roadshow,” will be at the EHM Rock Art show this weekend.

Pop culture appraiser Gary Sohmers, from the Emmy-nominated PBS show “Antiques Roadshow,” is gearing up for the EHM Rock Art show, which will open at 10 a.m. Friday at the barn gallery at Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport.

Mr. Sohmers will appraise pop culture memorabilia brought in by the public between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday as well as between 10 a.m. and noon on Sunday.

The rock art show, which features hundreds of rock ‘n’ roll items, including signed artworks by Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and John Lennon, will be on display at the gallery through July 8.

All works at the event are available to purchase and Mr. Sohmers said buying rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia is a smart investment in comparison to stocks because he said the return for an autograph tends to be larger than stocks.

Mr. Sohmers became involved in antiques as a child when his father, a traveling salesman, would return home with a cigar box full of antiques that he’d picked up at various stores.

“My dad was really into campaign buttons, so at first I was helping him with that,” Mr. Sohmers said. “We have a large JFK campaign button collection and an extensive Abraham Lincoln campaign button collection, so I got to experience what it was like to find really rare, rare things and learn about them.”

The famed appraiser’s interests changed slightly as a teenager, when he began collecting pop culture memorabilia.

“I discovered, like everyone else who was 13 in the ‘60s, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, girls, cars, you know — campaign buttons became secondary to pop culture for me,” he said.