Friday, August 3, 2007

Cabin in the Catskills

Platte Clove is a V-shaped valley that slices into the western face of the Catskill Mountains in New York State. Some wildlife biologists consider it the wildest tract of land in the Northeast. Because of the sheer cliffs and plunging cascades, the DEC has decided to cut no official trails into the gorge. Cars can reach the top only by a single-lane road that is so treacherous that it is open only from May to November.

At the top of the clove, nestled above a 100-foot cascade called Plattekill Falls, is a little red cabin built in 1840. It has been granted the modern blessing of four or five electric light bulbs and a socket or two, but it is innocent of plumbing. The cabin is owned by the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development (, which has established an artist-in-residence program. Painters, writers, and others haunted by the muse can work in the magic spell of the clove, the very spot where Washington Irving reportedly received his inspiration for Rip Van Winkle.

I was thrilled to have been chosen for a week-long residency. Today, along with Jeanette, Franklin, and my parakeet Kuky, I’m on my way up the mountain in our old family van named Trusty Rusty.
(The painting was done outdoors at twilight during my last stay at the cabin in 2005.)


Chris Ousley said...

Good work. I enjoy your dinos as well. ;-)

Gina Matarazzo said...

I just stumbled upon your blog. I've always loved your work. I have a question for, mind you, most of my friends think I'm crazy, but here goes...

First let me start off with saying that I'm not a Star Wars buff at all, but have you seen the Star Wars Episode 1, The Phantom Menace? And did it make you mad that the matte paintings for Princess Amidala's world were reminiscent of "Dinotopia"? Boy, it made me mad! But maybe you don't think they looked anything like your world?


James Gurney said...

I don't want to add to Mr. Lucas's embarrassment about what someone called the "Naboo Boo-Boo."

Let me just say that Mr. Lucas shows good taste in his borrowings, and I was honored to learn that Dinotopia was one of his favorite books to read to his own kids.

Zoe, ontheroad said...

Discovered your blog by way of the sketchcrawlers and just love it and this retreat and respite from the maddening crowd.

I hope the week, now years old, was terrific.

James Gurney said...

Thanks, OnTheRoad--are you going through the blog from start to finish! Wow that would be like doing the Appalachian Trail. Thanks for the nice words, and Blogger does forward comments, even on old posts.

And the week at the cabin was anything but quiet and restful, as my son broke his leg, and one day we had 20 visitors. But that's OK--we had a great time.

Zoe, ontheroad said...

Oh, James, thanks for the quick and lovely, but tragic response, on the cabin.

No, I'm not going the way of the trail, but as I live on the hills of these mountains on the PA/NYS border, I went to those posts in a gulp.

Sorry the trip wasn't as quiet or restful and for the accident your son had. Never a dull moment, I suppose.

I've bookmarked you now so I'll be able to read more current adventures.

Cheers for the holiday weekend.