Cowley plays with his work

Ellen Leahy, Editor/City Eagle 10/24/06More articles
Paul J. Cowley welcomes SACA tour into his home studio

When Paul J. Cowley coined the catch phrase, “Relax you’re in the village,” he meant it. Why? Because Skaneateles represents a bit of an escape, as he was once a summer camper.

Raised on the westside of Syracuse, Cowley spent summers on several area lakes, such as Keuka and Oneida. Then his family discovered Skaneateles, which he refers to as, “The Greatest of Lakes.”

He and wife Gail, operate a communication design firm that flies under his name in Syracuse. Being a commuter, Skaneateles represents homebase, an oasis, a switch.
Cowley who is on the board of the Skaneateles Area Counsil for the Arts is among 11 artists who are opening up their studios to the public this weekend. He said he has connected with many other artists through the SACA.

“It’s been great,” he said.

Cowley’s home studio
After owning two other Skaneateles housess, The Cowleys recently built a home tucked in off of West Lake Road in the village. Paul’s studio is nipped into the backyard. Whether it is called a studio, an office, a garage, a barn, a music room, a library, a weight room, a workroom, a greenhouse or a shop, it is essentially a cave. A homeplace where a man goes to wander around in his own imagination while getting something else accomplished. Often in these areas items are created, constructed, painted, sculpted, spun, tweaked, whittled or thought up.

So, what does Cowley accomplish in his studio? He thinks, he researches, he relaxes and he arranges, most of which result in works of art. These days big multi media canvases, splashed with color from acrylic paints, cut out photographs and more ideas. Earlier works were realistic landscapes of the area.

Cowley studied graphic design in an art school in the Flatiron building on 23rd and second Ave. in Manhattan, then on to the School of Visual Arts. He stayed and worked in Manhattan for several years in the art world before coming home to Central New York.

Spend 10 minutes in Cowley’s company whether at work or at play and it is obvious he is an ideas guy- big ideas, small ideas, random ideas, poignant ideas, fun ideas, wild ideas and quite often ah-ha ideas. Then, he has the stuff to back up these ideas, first from his education, secondly his years in the field communicating ideas to clients. In the later role, he developed his sketching ability - quickly creating visuals to get across creative ideas across to clients. He ties ideas to the big picture.

He said he is essentially a designer at heart.
“I think design is the ability to arrange things,” Cowley said.

Fall in Love with Art features 11 artists
Skaneateles Area Council for the Arts Artist Studio Tour- Fall in Love with Art, is from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. Oct. 28 and 29. The tour will highlight eleven artist studios throughout the Skaneateles area. Arts Council board members and Co-chairs Sharon Barno and Deb Gist are excited with the line-up of talented artists confirmed to participate in this unique event. Attendees will tour the studios and experience the creative process of the featured artists.

The SACA was formed to raise awareness toward the performing and visual arts in Skaneateles and to support local artists.
“The art association studio tour weekend, precedes the very popular American Association of University Wowen’s Art Show at the Presbyterian Church,” SACA president Joe Strodel said. “We have written up the AAUW show in our studio tour booklet in order to help promote the event.”

The line-up of artists on the tour is: Phil Austin (glass artist), Paul Cowley (painter), Jill Doscher (printmaker), Len Fishman (sculptor), Stacia Landsberg (photographer), Shelly Kennedy (painter), Robert Kiltz (ceramist), Thérèse Verley Strodel (painter), Gary Trento (painter), West Lake Conservators (painting restoration) and Helen Woodmansee (painter). Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at the Sherwood Inn or the Skaneateles Chamber of Commerce. Lunch will be provided by the Sherwood Inn for an additional $10; call 685-3405 for lunch reservations.

The tour is self guided; attendees may begin the tour at any of the eleven artist studio locations. For questions about the Artist Studio Tour, contact Gist at 685-0958 or Barno at 685-7139. For more information on Cowley Associates go to www.cowleyweb.com.

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