Mad Art Inc.

Member Feature- Joyce Halliday Smith


Joyce Halliday Smith moved to Hamilton, NY nearly a year ago when her husband, Rev. Wesley Smith was called to the position of minister of First Baptist Church. As a painter, Joyce has fallen in love with the beauty of Madison County. You can find her painting in plein aire in various locations throughout Hamilton and Madison County — if it is warm enough! You too can learn about the joys of painting outdoors by signing up for the MADArt Plein Aire classes, which will be held in June this year.

Joyce completed her undergraduate studies at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY where her major was fine art and her minor area of study was art history. She continued her studies and received a Masters of Fine Art degree from Syracuse University. After being a successful graphic designer and illustrator for many years, she switched careers to her first passion and is painting full time. Her paintings have been in numerous juried exhibitions and have won awards in Rhode Island, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Oil painting is Joyce’s medium of choice for its richness, depth and variety of colors it can produce. Although preferring oils, she has created art with acrylics, watercolors, pastels, oil pastels, graphite, and printmaking processes. In teaching, Joyce brings in knowledge of all mediums as well as an art history background. Her advice to aspiring artists, “Learn from the masters, and excellent contemporary artists, and learn from the tools nature provides. Keep experimenting with your mediums, your style and your subjects, for it is through this kind of study that you will find your true inner artistic voice. If you are in school or college, do your assignments and then create more — push yourself. Remember, the life of an artist is a never-ending freedom to create. Be yourself and your art will become amazing!”

Joyce has taught at Syracuse University, and Stockton College, Pomona, NJ. For several years, she enjoyed teaching art classes for adults and children at Jane Law’s Long Beach Island Studio and Gallery in Surf City, NJ, and later at the Wickford Art Association in Wickford, RI. Presently, she teaches adults and teens in Hamilton: “Discover Art” at First Baptist Church, and “Plein Aire Painting” with MADArt.

Opening on March 25 at 6 pm will be a show of her work at Collections, 40 Milford St., Hamilton. You are welcome to attend the opening. You can also look for upcoming shows and Joyce’s paintings on the website



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Member Feature- Charlotte Blanchard

My name is Charlotte Blanchard and I live in Hubbardsville. In fact, many of you may remember me from the greenhouse business I ran for many years called Enchanted Gardens. Although I have done several things in my lifetime, art is the one constant and has been my passion since early childhood.


For the most part, I am a self-taught artist; however as a child while living in Fort Pierce, Florida, I was greatly influenced by “Beanie” Albert Backus who was a well-known artist and mentor to a now famous group of painters known as the “Florida Highwaymen.” Those Saturday morning drawing classes with Beanie did more than just teach me perspective and composition, he taught me a valuable life lesson as well. It was through Beanie that I learned to paint from the desires and passions deep within me for only then would my art be truly my own. I have followed his sage advice throughout my life and would offer it up to any inspiring artists.


I began painting in oil, and for a few short years dabbled in watercolor, but I found I liked gouache much better because it was closer to painting in oil. I finally gave in and went back to my first love, working in oils. It’s only right that I should do so because I love all things old; and working in oils is a time-honored endeavor.

In recent years, my paintings have been greatly influenced by my passionate love for traveling through Europe. I paint what I love–the narrow streets, canals and waterways, charming back alleys and picturesque seaports; hoping that you too will step into my paintings and enjoy the sights and sounds I portray.

I have a website where you can see my entire collection of American and European Art, including a series of Colgate University paintings. On the site you can shop in the store which sells originals, poster prints, canvas prints and greeting cards, read my weekly blogs and leave messages. You can also “like” me on facebook or follow me on Twitter .

I am thrilled and fortunate to have a place like Mad Art Inc. so close by and available to me as a place to display my artwork and to meet fellow artists. I currently have “The Wishful Traveler” gallery on display at the Earlville Opera House through Feb. 19. In the spring, I will be displaying my paintings at the Her Hands Show at Mad Art Inc. from March 28 to June 14.


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Member Interview – John Conti

I’d like to introduce you to a MAD Art member, John V. Conti

Born and raised in New York City, there was lots of art all around me.  I always liked to view many different types of artistic expression and visited museums and galleries, as well as the performing arts, whenever the opportunity arose.  It was quite a while before I became actively involved in the creative process. I enjoyed drawing and painting a bit during teen years, but when it was time for college I decided to major in English.  I stayed in the liberal arts, but eventually switched to Psychology and then Rehabilitation Counseling, and earned advanced degrees in both of those fields.

Seduced by money and job security, I moved from work as a practitioner into administration and in time I rose to Commissioner of Rehabilitation within the Federal US Department of Education. Working in the northeast corridor between NYC and Washington, DC didn’t allow a whole lot of free time but I did manage to dabble vocationally in photography and became a published author of several journal articles and a book.

After leaving the Federal Government, I taught at Hofstra University for five years and had more time during that period to explore my interest in visual arts.   I took a number of courses in and around the NYC area, and concentrated first on oil painting techniques.    I studied with Bruce Testa of the Salmagundi Art Club, and began to develop some preferences in subject and style.  I believe strongly in artists learning from each other, and so although I am primarily self-taught, I have painted with, and solicited suggestions and borrowed ideas from many good artist friends over the years.

Can you tell us a little about your art and your process?

Among the many suggestions of artist friends was to experiment with various media.  As I grew impatient with the slow dry time of oils, I tried acrylics and found that by adding various ingredients I could closely approximate the feel and flow of oils without the mahl sticks and the waiting.  Soon I was wanting it all, and as I admired another artist’s work in charcoal, pastel  or ink, I’d think, hmm, gotta try that too.   In recent years, I’ve tried most forms of drawing and painting and even got to like collage.  Most recently I’ve been working with watercolor.  I find that the type of w/c painting that is most joyful for me is line and wash.  I have such fun sketching a scene with ink and then laying in color here and there, very often changing the whole emphasis of the work when the color takes over.

Most of my painting is done indoors;   In our Long Island home, I have a spare room set aside to mess up, and just recently we had an addition put on our home in Hamilton that I use as a studio as well as an office and study. I do like to get outdoors and paint in plein aire from time to time, even if it’s just as far as our back veranda where we have a wonderful view of the Colgate campus and the entire Chenango Valley. It’s great fun to paint the valley in watercolor and pastels as the seasons change.  At the ocean, I have great fun doing quick sketches with graphite, charcoal and pastel. I think it’s among my loosest work.

I sometimes work from a photograph or series of photos but always make an effort to personalize the subject and think of the emotion evoked in me by the scene or person.  For example when I learned that the famous photographer Kalinsky had photographed the great circus clown, Otto Griebling in his dressing room during intermission, even though Otto was in poor health and performing his last shows, I became motivated to try to capture the tiredness of the old clown in oils. I heard from the granddaughter of the famous clown recently and was so happy that she was pleased with my interpretation. More and more I find myself painting in a more expressionistic way, striving for an emotional reaction from the viewer, and a curiosity about the meaning behind a depicted scene.  Of course, sometimes a beautiful flower is just a beautiful flower, but I find that most subjects allow an artist to paint with real feeling.  And it doesn’t really matter if the viewer gets the same feeling when he looks at it; it might evoke quite a different reaction, but if it makes the viewer pause and feel, then I am glad about it.  I never argue with a viewer about what a painting of mine means; the important thing is what it means to that person and how it makes them feel.

How has the MAD Art Gallery community affected your art?

I have so enjoyed watching MAD Art grow from an idea to establish a place for artists to hang out and learn from each other to much more than that. I have been most impressed with the variety of artists and artisans who come by and join up. Volunteering in the gallery is a wonderful opportunity to chat with people who know all kinds of things from woodworking to textile design.  I so believe in volunteerism – Lillian Carter, President Carter’s mom, (some people might remember Miz Lillian) was the first person to really motivate me to find some time to give to others, and it has been my best decision.  Downstate I’ve actively worked for several art organizations, and headed up the publicity committee for the North Shore Art Guild in Port Jefferson for several years. Here in Hamilton, I find there are so many ways to help.  Early on I worked on the MAD Art Gallery Committee, and now as the organization continues to grow I know there will be lots of new challenges. I feel inspired by the rural beauty around me to sketch and to paint, and to keep searching for the most unique perspective.  Although I’m a part time Hamilton resident, people in CNY have been great in welcoming me and allowing me to exhibit and to pitch in and get my hands dirty in the backroom.

What advice could you offer to emerging artists?

I would encourage new artists to try lots of things until they find one or two or three media that excite them the most.  Don’t be too quick to concentrate on one medium or one style of work.  There are lots of different “yous”.  The biggest mistake that I think emerging artists make is to feel that they must have one distinctive style.  You can have a different style and a different medium for each day of the week and each one can bring pleasure and can connect with someone.

Where can we find your work?

  • At the present time I have work displayed at the Gallery on the Hill in Farmingdale in a show called “America the Beautiful,” and I will be showing also in a show coming up called “Water, Water, Everywhere,” sponsored by the Brookhaven Arts & Humanities Council.
  • On eBay I am known as sharingarts and sometimes post some pieces for sale there in the Direct from the Artist category. The best way to search for my work on eBay is just do an advanced search for the name Conti.
  • I am most excited now about opening a new etsy store. It is called JVC’s Affordable Fine Art, and my Username there is SharingArt. The link is simply and the easiest way to find an etsy seller is just to search by username. My new shop is up and running and I hope to add a variety of new stuff .
  • I also have a few pieces in the current MAD Art Summer Show.
  • Online, I post a lot of my work on a flickr site, which I think is a great way of getting organized and also of getting worldwide feedback for your work.

Thank you John!

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Introducing Artist James Baumbach

I’d like to introduce a new member to Mad Art gallery, painter James Baumbach from Cazenovia, New York..

James Baumbach Portrait I grew up in Cazenovia then moved to southern California to attend college. Though I wasn’t an art major,I was immediately drawn to abstract art after seeing the paintings of Jackson Pollock in an art history class I took. His free form style was intriguing to me.
My initial experience in serious art was designing and building granite/marble mosaic table tops. Having the freedom to arrange the pieces in any order I liked appealed to me. I was free to create any type of design I wanted. This led to a kind of “abstract expressionism” of it’s own. I found a market for them in the desert area of Palm Springs, where I was living at the time. After moving back to central New York, I made the decision to begin painting as a way expressing my “visions” in an abstract style.
Squares - 4 Painting
I have no formal art training,though I did take a number of art courses in college. I also spent 5 years in the lighting business, including art gallery lighting in several new and established galleries in Palm Desert,California.I learned the importance of lighting when displaying art. Sometimes I will see a photograph or something in my life that inspires me to paint,but only in an abstract way. I basically, paint what I see in my mind at the time and I continue to work on a piece until I’m happy with it. Often,I will work on several pieces at a time. That way I can go from one to the other, as each piece is drying. I prefer to work with acrylic paints because they dry faster. Also, this way, I’m able to continue painting for several hours at a time.
I enjoy sculpting in various mediums, but at the moment my efforts are focused on acrylic on canvas.
My favorite art period would either be, the early 1900’s when Wassily Kandinsky was doing abstract work, or the 1940’s and 50’s when Pollack was breaking new ground with his “drip” paintings. My primary ideas on abstract art involve 3 main factors; colors,movement and texture (or what I call “surface issues’). My goal is for one observer to see or interpret something different than the next person and to make them want to look “inside” the painting.
Since moving back to central New York, I’ve done some abstract scenes of the area. But frankly, I didn’t see upstate New York as a hotbed of abstract art. However, I’m finding out that may not be the case after having spent some time going to the galleries in and around Syracuse.
Spiral Composition 3
Some of my paintings can be seen at MAD Art gallery in Hamilton, NY. I also have a month long solo exhibit slated for December at the Fayettville library. I’m quite excited about that show, as I will have many different pieces on display. I’m currently working on potential exhibits through several upstate NY galleries.
My paintings can be purchased through the MAD Art gallery or directly from my home studio by appointment. I’m
in the process of establishing a website ( which should be up and running this summer and my work will be available through that site as well. Anyone interested in viewing or purchasing my paintings can contact MAD Art or myself directly via my email address or by phone @(315)655-8618 or @(315)447-0667

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Introducing Artist Bill Edmonston

Near Zion Painting I’d like to introduce W. Edward Edmonston (Bill) who is a MAD Art Gallery artist and has been a resident of Hamilton, NY for 46 years…

I began serious painting about 10 years ago when Ray Sobel (a local artist now painting in North Carolina) urged me to try painting as a retirement activity.

I began serious painting about 10 years ago when Ray Sobel (a local artist now painting in North Carolina) urged me to try painting as a retirement activity.

Bill EdmonstonAlthough primarily self-taught, my early training (one basic painting course and two studio courses) was at Munson-Williams-Proctor School of Art, Utica, NY. An Easterner by birth and rearing and not a stranger to the greens and blues of the East, I have cast a number of my paintings in the mesmerizing reds and ochres set afire by the ever present sunlight of the American West. Even in “Tools,” a trompe l’oeil of the simple implements used in everyday house maintenance, I have capitalized on a predominantly earth pallet, born of the western influence.

I work primarily in oil (water soluble) on canvas, although I have done some works in acrylic paints, graphite, pen and ink and colored pencil. Though I have tried different styles, I prefer contemporary realism, using both smoothly blended (as seen in the old masters) and impasto techniques (as exemplified by Emile Gruppé).

"Tools" paintingInspiration comes primarily from the visual world around me, although some of my work grows out my knowledge of history, through which I attempt to create a visual image of an historical event.

Can You tell us about your writings?

While I was on the Colgate University faculty, I produced three books (“Hypnosis and Relaxation”, “The Induction of Hypnosis”, “Conceptual and Investigative Approaches to Hypnosis and Hypnotic Phenomena”) and over 55 professional articles. In addition, I have published “Unfurl the Flags, Remembrances of the American Civil War” and two mystery novels (“The Strange Case of Mr. Nobody” and “The Case of the Hidden Dentures”). A third mystery novel (“The Detective Who Couldn’t Quit”) is about to go to the publisher.

I neither prefer painting nor writing. I try to give each equal time and effort in my day. My preferred schedule is to write in the mornings and paint in the afternoons.

What advice could you share with aspiring artists?

I would advise aspiring painters to start with a few (very few) basic courses in composition, color, values and drawing skills at a reputable School of Art. Then much of the rest is self taught. Above all, paint, paint, paint, and do not restrict your subject matter. (The same is true for aspiring writers: get a few basic academic courses, then write, write, write.) Unless you are trying to make a living at painting, paint only what you want. If you have to make a living, paint what you want when you are not doing commissions to put bread on the table.

How has the MAD Art gallery helped you and your art?

"Factory" PaintingMADART has put me in touch with different artists using different styles and different technics. New and different ideas grow out of such exposure and my own work benefits. MADART offers to the community an exposure to art that would not otherwise be possible in a village the size of Hamilton. Our community impact will be even greater when we can move our gallery space above ground.

Do you exhibit your work anywhere else?

My paintings have been included in juried regional shows in Little Falls, Norwich, Clinton, Old Forge, Rome, Utica and Cooperstown, NY.; juried national shows in Cooperstown, NY; and are in private collections in Philadelphia; New York City; Virginia Beach; Munich, Germany; and the Central New York area. As a member of the Blind Artists Society my works show annually in the Society’s shows (Albany, 2009; Troy, 2010; Cooperstown, 2011)

Where can we find more of your work?

"Petanque" paintingMy works can be seen by appointment at The Little Gallery, 1841 Preston Hill Road, Hamilton, NY 13346. Contact information: 315-824-1965; email:; web site:

Thank You Bill!

MAD Art Member Features
March 9, 2010, 4:22 pm
Filed under: Artist Feature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

We will be featuring  MAD Art exhibiting artists here monthly. The interview will be posted for a minimum of 2 weeks or more, up to one month. If you are an Exhibiting MAD Art member interested in being featured, please email

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