Georgia O'Keefe Study, Joanne Magavern, April 2013, 9 x 12, Watercolor

Georgia O'Keefe Study, Joanne Magavern, April 2013, 9 x 12, Watercolor

"Impressionists and Uncle Franks: Painting in New Oregon with Friends" by Joanne Magavern

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I arrived Friday night after work, around 4pm, to a gorgeous sunny afternoon meeting up with my best friend of 33 or so years, Julie from Pennsylvania. Annually we meet mid-way for a "girl's weekend" at a Bed and Breakfast. Since she is an avid watercolorist and acrylic painter and I knew of the Artisan Inn Bed and Breakfast at Marienthal, Eden, New York at the corner of New Oregon and Wynandale Roads, , it seemed an ideal meeting place. The owner, Louise Vacco gives numerous painting and scrapbooking classes and is an artist herself.

She was busy with a shower that weekend, but set us up with a 2 hour outdoor class with another local watercolorist, Julie McIndoo for Saturday.

The Inn is housed on the property of the 1858 Country church of St. Mary's and includes the re-furbished church for private events, functions, and "girl's weekend getaway classes, packages, workshops, and massages, along with the rectory which houses up to nine and the old convent house with ten more beds. It sits on a quiet country corner across from the town park and playground and Uncle Franks Bar and Grill. There are many country roads and 18-mile creek to walk about and enjoy the scenery.

We were greeted with Louise's famous chocolate nut squares in our little kitchen, which is in the old rectory with original wallpaper and woodwork and has 4 bedrooms for rent.

Friday night we walked across the street to the local gin mill and icon in New Oregon, Uncle Franks, family owned and run for years. We had the famous Friday night Fish Fry after it quieted down a bit; the cars lined the sides of the roads at all four corners and the parking lot. We then chatted till time for bed.

Saturday, before Julie awoke, I took a short walk down Langford Road and found a new pony, only four days old kicking up a storm outside with mom on a horse farm. I got to say hello and chat a bit, and then headed back to the B&B to wake up "sleeping beauty Julie" for an incredible breakfast in the back of the old church in a sunny room. We enjoyed a full home cooked breakfast, cooked with local organic brown eggs and meats, famous “artisan omelet”, fresh baked popovers with raspberry honey whipped butter, honey glazed grapefruit and to-die-for cottage cheese pancakes with homemade blueberry syrup and coffee.

After a short walk to ease our tummies, we rode a few miles out to Clarksburg and New Oregon Roads where my family belongs to a club that sits on top of a lovely waterfall next to an old red mill house. Julie and I set up shop outside by an huge old mill wheel on top of the falls to paint together. The sun was on our faces and it just about reached the mid 70's. We both did a study of a Georgia O'Keefe painting of a leaf. The teacher later assisted me in adding some "finishing touches".

After a short lunch, we packed up and headed back to the B&B to meet with Julie McIndoo, local watercolorist for a 2 hour lesson out in the yard. Julie, the teacher, was a very good teacher and artist. She specializes in watercolors and acrylics and can be reached via email at:

She showed us her technique of attaching her board with clips on top of an old towel, so that when she drips wet paint, like for washes, it runs over onto the towel, or she can use it to wipe her brushes on. She began by demonstrating how to do some washes and color blending. Then she assisted me in fixing the hard edges on the leaf and making a nicer shadow around the edges by wetting those areas, then "dropping in" darker paint to make a better outline or shadow. Julie also begins every painting with a pale yellow wash so the sky is not so very blue.

We worked on re-creating a painting of Julie McIndoo's and talked about perspective. The group then worked on painting our little tulips taken from the breakfast room.

We had a lovely dinner at the Buffalo City Grill in Hamburg of fresh arugula salad, roasted cashews, raspberries and pears, steak and fingerling potatoes and fresh broccoli and white wine. Excellent! More chatting followed and sharing of our favorite photos and artwork, then to bed.

Sunday morning, another incredible breakfast served outside on the sunny patio! Louise and Vince outdid themselves once again with a starter of yogurt parfait with diced raspberries, blueberries and mint on top, followed by the main course of egg and five cheese frittata with locally made sausage and bacon from a farm down the road and for dessert a crusty filogh dough baked and layered with a fruit and jelly glaze on top.

We needed another walk! Wildflowers were everywhere, from the lovely little blue wild violets, trilliums, and fields of pretty little speckled trout lilies. It was another beautifully warm and sunny day!

My friend Julie and I had a very special weekend this year, sharing our friendship and creating watercolors together. What a great way to spend a weekend with a good friend.

Joanne Magavern


Joanne Magavern is an elementary school librarian who has just begun to learn how to work with watercolors. She began by doing small paintings of the wildflowers around her summer camp to put in a journal along with the folklore and history of each plant. She has taken a continuing education class last fall and is now enrolled in several watercolor classes at the Burchfield Penney Art Center along with her "girl’s watercolor weekend". Joanne’s friend, Julie from Pennsylvania, is her mentor and she shares her favorite watercolors with her.