Palen Tannery, Kaaterskill Creek
8 x 10
Oil on board
As I've mentioned before, I love local history. I've been spending a lot of time painting from old photos to try and recapture locations that no longer exist. Living near the Ashokan Reservoir and collecting lots of old photos of the towns destroyed has given me lots of material to work with.
I also love the Palenville area and the places where the Hudson River School artists painted. I came across an old sketch of a tannery that once stood on the Kaaterskill Creek. Much research revealed that it was built and operated by Gilbert Palen. Now it makes sense where the town name came from!
Whether the old tannery really looked like it does in my painting doesn't matter to me. I wanted to capture what I thought the light would look like streaming into the narrow valley. The once plentiful hemlock trees had all been cut at one time. The bark was chewed up and steamed or boiled. The liquid was used to tan leather. Much of it was shoe leather!