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Meet Joan Applebaum, Windy Hill Studios


Celebrating the ever changing color palette of our landscape in Upstate New York; Acrylics, Watercolors and Silk Dyes.

If you are a painter, painting the seasons just seems like a natural thing to do, in Upstate New York. Living here we are greeted with an ever-changing palette of colors as the seasons shift.

The year begins with wispy whites, shimmering in the pale winter sun. Spring brings us delicate green tendrils, curling up from the ground. At last! 

Summer is glorious and filled with color. Flowers, fruits, blue skies and sunny days! Ah, we wish that it could last forever! Fall is glorious too as trees show off their “Sunday best”, their color rivalled only by the brilliant orange pumpkins. 

And then the sky grows heavy and leaden, and the bare silhouettes of trees settle in for their long winter nap. 

And the cycle begins again.

Joan Applebaum, Windy Hill Studio, East Syracuse and Redwood, NY.


When I met Joan Applebaum on a phone interview, I asked how she got involved in the St. Lawrence River’s art world?

“One winter’s day I went on an organized Indian River Lakes hike, and I mentioned I was an artist. Another participant asked if I had met many River artists, and when I said, I hadn’t, they offered to introduce me.”  That introduction led Joan to build strong friendships with a number of River artists and the realization that there is much in the region to appreciate.

Today, Joan and her husband have a camp on Grass Lake, only 20 minutes from Alexandria Bay, but having always lived in Syracuse, she can remember many summer visits where, as she says, “we took the Uncle Sam's Boat Tour and often went  camping in the State Parks.  She chose the SUNY Potsdam campus to study and receive her BA in Art Studio.

Now, luckily for us, Joan spends many summer days either in her Windy Hill Studio, at the Lake, or teaching at the Thousand Islands Arts Center, in Clayton.  A popular instructor, this summer she will be teaching four sessions: Watercolor: Learning the Basics (July 19&20);Capturing Atmosphere in Watercolor (July 22); Introductions to Acrylic Painting (August 9&10) and an Introduction to Paining on Silk (August 22& 23).  She also teaches classes at the Y Arts Studio, at the East Area Family YMCA, in Syracuse, NY.

Her work is shown at the Bay House Artisans, in Alexandria Bay; The Lyric Coffeehouse and Bistro in Clayton and at the Arts Center in Sackets Harbor.

Next month Joan will participate in the “Arts of the Genesee”, in Syracuse, on June 18-19, and later in the year in “Land-Sky-Water” at Tyler Art Gallery, SUNY Oswego, from November 5, 2016 to January 13, 2017.

One program that caught my attention, when I discovered her background information, was a link to “The Healing Muse: A Journal of Literary and Visual Arts”, published by SUNY Upstate Medical University’s Center for Bioethics & Humanities.

Joan’s work appeared in Muse Volume 1, and she has had at least one or two pieces, in all 16 annual Journals.  She explains “The Healing Muse” was started by Dr. Bonnie St. Andrews, who wanted to ‘show how the arts and the sciences can balance and sustain one another for the good of patient and practitioner.’ Originally the submissions were from Central New York writers and artists but after practitioners took copies as gifts, when they attended medical meetings, there was a world-wide following.  Today submissions of poetry, writings and art come from near and far.”

"I think the work of ‘The Healing Muse’ is so important”, says Joan, “because it gives a voice and vision to those dealing with health and/or emotional issues, either as a patient or as a caregiver. In the act of writing or creating art we can often work through those issues. Artists know instinctively how therapeutic it is to create. To make art when we are happy, to make art when we are sad or confused because we know that somewhere in that search for contrast/emphasis/balance/line/shape/form we will find either resolution or acceptance. And to know and accept that our lives will often be shaped by circumstances that are out of our control. When that happens we turn inward. We paint, we write. We let go and let the muse take over."

On behalf of all TI Life readers, I thank you, Joan, for capturing the beauty of our Thousand Islands on canvas – your work is much appreciated.

Joan Applebaum ©2016
Sunken Rock Lighthouse
Acrylic on canvas board
Joan Applebaum ©2016
“Clouds rolling in”
Joan Applebaum ©2016
Winter Closing in, Boldt Castle

Joan Applebaum ©2016

“Night Flight”
Watercolor with paper collage
Joan Applebaum ©2016
“Twilight in Kayak Cove”
Joan Applebaum ©2016
“Keeping a Lookout”

Joan Applebaum

By Susan W. Smith,

Editor, TI Life

Posted in: Artists
Please feel free to leave comments about this article using the form below. Comments are moderated and we do not accept comments that contain links. As per our privacy policy, your email address will not be shared and is inaccessible even to us. For general comments, please email the editor.


Jeanne Dupre
Comment by: Jeanne Dupre
Left at: 9:40 PM Thursday, April 14, 2016
This is a wonderful article about a talented artist and good friend.
Sheila Byrnes
Comment by: Sheila Byrnes
Left at: 10:44 PM Thursday, April 14, 2016
This is a lovely article about a gifted and professional artist! Joan Applebaum's work is truly breathtaking!
Comment by: Judyswansom
Left at: 8:53 AM Friday, April 15, 2016
We seem to have another thing in common. Love of the river and joy in painting it
Ilene Layow
Comment by: Ilene Layow
Left at: 9:02 AM Friday, April 15, 2016
Joan Applebaum is a wonderful, talented artist. The works here are beautiful but even more brilliant in person.
Catharine Van Sickle
Comment by: Catharine Van Sickle
Left at: 9:51 AM Friday, April 15, 2016
Thank you for pursuing this art Susie,it is wonderful
Janet Fagal
Comment by: Janet Fagal
Left at: 10:12 AM Friday, April 15, 2016
Joan paints the way I wish I was able to see. She is prolific and varied. She is a good friend, a wonderful colleague and an artist I admire greatly. Terrific article about Joan so others will get to know more about her and her art!
Lynn Newman
Comment by: Lynn Newman
Left at: 8:08 PM Friday, April 15, 2016
Very nice article Joan. Congratulations ! I would be interested to talk with you about "The Healing Muse". I admire your perseverance and dedication to art, as well as your works. Continued success to you. Great job !
Donna Muhs-McCarten
Comment by: Donna Muhs-McCarten
Left at: 10:42 PM Sunday, April 17, 2016
Beautiful work .... Congratulations Joan!
Joan Applebaum
Comment by: Joan Applebaum
Left at: 10:06 AM Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Thank you everyone for your kind remarks. And thank you to Susie Smith for featuring my work in this month's issue. I am honored to be included in this publication.

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