Dining room of the Beck-Kurilko home at 614 South Court Street

Saturday, August 14

On a misty summer twilight, over three hundred people thronged the uneven old sidewalks of  South Court Street, Medina’s grand historic neighborhood. The occasion was “A Twilight Stroll Home Tour” sponsored by the South Court Street Historic Neighborhood Association. Six homes were open to visitors.  The oldest was an 1838 Federal style structure, the newest was a 1934 Colonial Revival –  and the remaining four were opulent Victorians from Medina’s Gilded Age.

The houses in the neighborhood are a veritable time line of American architectural styles, ranging from early Western Reserve farmhouses with barns and remnants of orchards, through various Victorian and early 20th century styles, to the ranch homes of the post-WW II, Eisenhower era.  Since the  area  was farmland until after the Civil War when it became part of the village of Medina, the yards, in many cases, are unusually large and very lush.

Many of the leading citizens of the village of Medina — prosperous merchants, bankers, attorneys and judges –  chose to build their trophy homes on South Court Street.

The roadway itself is historic as well.  It began as a Native American trail and  was later used by early settlers to penetrate into the thick forests  of Medina County. In 1830, that stretch of road became part of the Wooster Pike (State Rt. 3), an important stagecoach route south.

Here are some of the highlights of Saturday’s home tour:

The oldest home on the street — and one of the oldest in Medina– is the 1838 Prentice-Kauffman home on 529 South Court Street.   Barney Prentice ran a successful shoe store on the Square, and it was in his establishment in the Mechanics Block, the 1848 fire (the first of Medina’s two devastating fires) was believed to have originated.

The current owners, the Kauffman family, have lived in the home since 1982 and, according to Barbara Kauffman, have had to do relatively little work on it. “We’ve only had to do cosmetic changes,” she explains.

The second home on the tour was the Martin-Mayer home at 575 South Court Street.  It boasts a melange of Victorian styles, including Queen Anne, Stick and Eastlake.

One of the main features of this home is the outstanding woodwork, still in pristine condition. There are also several stained glass windows and, like most Victorian houses, it features very high ceilings.

Mrs. Mayer collects antique books and china from the Victorian period and her extensive collections add considerably to the charming ambiance of the home.

A few short blocks away sits the 1883 Parker-Lamb house at 721 South Court Street, a Queen Anne style structure with Eastlake features. The first owner of the house, millwright Paul Parker, was fatally injured during the construction of the home.  While hauling paving stones for the cellar, he tripped and one of the large pavers fell on him.  He lingered for a few days, then died of internal injuries in an upstairs bedroom.

The home fell on hard times in the early 20th century — as did many of the grand Victorians on the street — and was split up into apartments.  One of the visitors to the home, Nancy Masi, said that she had been born in the front bedroom during the Depression.

Currently, the house is owned by noted Medina potter, Elaine Lamb and her husband.  The Lambs have done extensive restoration work. Furnished in a rich Victorian style and filled with Elaine Lamb’s award-winning pottery,  the home features beautiful woodwork, high ceilings, stained glass windows and various nooks and crannies.

The newest (historically speaking) house on the tour is 847 South Court St, which was built in 1934. Colonial Revival in style, it is a very spacious, airy home, and surprisingly opulent for having built built during the midst of the Great Depression when most Medina residents resorted to growing  their own food and raising their own chickens to survive.

The Linden home is also surrounded by a very large and beautiful yard.

The Sage-Edmonds home at 706 South Court Street is an 1875 Italianate Victorian with the requisite high ceilings, tall windows and extensive woodwork. It also features a large carriage house.

The tour ended with the 1863  Beck-Kurilko home at 614 South Court Street.  It is described as a Vernacular Victorian farmhouse and clearly hails back to the area’s rural beginnings.  The home boasts numerous porches, and gardens that have been featured on  numerous local garden  tours.

Pam Miller of Medina, approaches the front porch.

Medina’s living room — Public Square Park — continues to be heavily used this summer. On Sunday, August 8th,  the white tents blossomed under the spreading trees once again, and the crowds spilled forth, this time for the large annual craft show called “An Affair on the Square”. It’s not exactly “art”  you find there — but a lot of quirky, colorful stuff that you may not necessarily need, but can’t pass up.

“The Dude”, seen in the photo above, is a case in point.  This witty and comical  planter  is an example of the one-of-a kind items on display. And really, where would you ever find anything like that again?

If you weren’t in Medina today — here’s what you missed:

Filmy pastel tutus for the eternal princess

Popcorn -- one of the traditional smells of summer

This jewelry was a big hit. The crowd was three-deep.

Ceramic wisdom

And the Dixieland Band played on

The time — July 2, 1863.  The place — the small, rural village of Medina, population 800.

At dawn, the bell at the Baptist Church on West Liberty rang the fire alarm.  Someone had seen black smoke coming from Shubal Coy’s home on 227 South Elmwood Street and had sounded the alarm. As fire-fighting volunteers broke through the bolted door,  they found  Shubal Coy, his wife and eight year-old son dead of multiple knife wounds. A blood-stained envelope was found on the floor — empty.  Missing was the $1,200 that Coy, a livestock dealer, had just earned in a sheep sale.

The murder shocked and terrified the village. In 1863 Medina did not have a police force — or even a constable.

Therefore, the city fathers decided to take justice into their own hands.  They convened a meeting at the Medina County Courthouse and pondered the following question: “Was anyone in Medina nervy and depraved enough to commit this crime?” The answer was – yes.  A secret ballot was taken and the name Frederick  Streeter won by a large majority. And so, Streeter became the unofficial — and only — suspect.

Who was Frederick Streeter?

A handsome 23 year old wastrel, he had come to Medina the previous year from Bellows Falls, Vermont, where he was suspected of burning down a building. He had narrowly escaped imprisonment in Boston for circulating counterfeit money. He deserted the Union Army in 1862 and a few months later, appeared in Medina, styling himself as Captain Streeter, recruiting officer for the same Union Army.

Streeter was also a known drinker and gambler, had boasted of killing two men in fights over money, and had, according to the Medina Gazette, “a most unsavory reputation as to fast women.” While in Medina, he married 16-year old Dode Whitmore, whose family lived a few doors from the courthouse — neglecting to mention that he still had a wife in Vermont.

Six weeks after the murder, Streeter, who had skipped town, was sighted  in Kenosha, Wisconsin  “with lots of money” by a Medina resident.  An Akron detective was dispatched to arrest him and bring him back to Medina.

What ultimately convicted Streeter was the bloodstained envelope.

Medina County courthouse as it looked in 1863.

There were blood smears on the money in Streeter’s possession–smears which matched perfectly those on the bloodstained envelope.  Also, the bills Streeter stole were crisp and new and matched  the fold in the envelope.  Furthermore,  Streeter was unable to explain how he had come into possession of the money.

Streeter’s trial lasted four days and the jury deliberated only one hour.  The judge sentenced him to be hanged on February 26, 1864. The courtroom was so crowded with spectators the day he was sentenced that the floor dropped a foot, causing a general panic.

On Christmas Eve, Streeter escaped from the county jail and left a note under the door step of his wife’s parents, wishing her a Merry Christmas. The note also  “asked her to remain true to him and hoped that they would yet spend a happy future with each other.”

He was apprehended a few days later, hiding in the barn of a relative.

On February 26, 1864, a scaffold was erected on a plot of land on the northeast side of the village. (Tradition maintains that it took place on the site of the present day County Administration Building.)  Streeter was taken to the site sitting on his own coffin in a wagon drawn by two black horses.

Just before the hanging, he was approached by the father of Mrs. McCoy. Streeter shook his hand and said, “I beg your pardon and ask your forgiveness, but I assure you I did not kill your daughter.”

And then he was executed. It was to be Medina’s only public hanging.

His victim, Shubal Coy, lies buried in a small graveyard outside of Medina on Rt. 162 next to the Medina Country Club.  The tombstone reads: Shubal Coy — Murdered in Medina.

Art in the Park began 37 years ago with a handful of artists selling their works on the Square. It was sponsored by the Medina County Arts Council and it was an immediate success. Since then, it has evolved into Medina’s premier summer event, attracting artists from across the country and thousands of spectators and shoppers.

Sunday, July 18 was hot, as it is every year for Art in the Park  — although it didn’t rain as it has frequently in the past. The smell of roasting hot dogs permeated the air, (Kiwanis had set up their concession stands), and there was — as always — the delightful anticipation of finding a treasure to purchase from the 130 artists set up in bright white tents that spread throughout the entire park like a Bedouin encampment.

The show, which was juried, was judged this year by Scott Ligon,  professor at the Cleveland Institute of Art and an acclaimed digital artist.

The awards were:

Best of Show: Josh Rush for his oil painting.

Traditional, 1st through 3rd: Kathleen Green (oil painting), Sharon Borror (watercolor) and Doug Lehnhardt (acrylic)

Non-traditional: 1st through 3rd: Leo Charette (photography), Sharon Stolzenberger (painting) and Sandy Kephart (fiber).

Functional: 1st through 3rd: Paul and Debra Bahm (wood), John Smothers (wood) and Elaine Lamb (ceramics).

Non-functional: 1st through 3rd: Bob Pozarski (glass), Joe Leonard (wood) and Richard Ruehle (wood).

Here are some of the sights:

Painted and quilted fabrics were colorful and profuse.

Perennial favorite, Elaine Lamb offered ceramic ware embossed with her distinctive sgraffito trim.

Wood sculptures came in interesting sizes and shapes. This one, designed for a garden, was particularly distinctive.

This very artistic metalwork attracted a great deal of attention.

As did the beautiful stained glass.  There was glass ware of all kinds, from the functional to the wearable.

And of course, there were paintings in great profusion– oil, water color acrylic. Which was, of course, how it all began, 37 years ago.

A view from the north side of the Square.

439 East Liberty

Serene and tree-shaded East Liberty is one of the oldest streets in the village of Medina. It is a supremely walkable neighborhood, and it is looking its best on this late summer morning. A lush canopy of leaves creates a cool tunnel over the narrow sidewalks,  and a sense of history seems to linger in Greek Revival doorways, and in the old-fashioned gardens riotous with color.

The 1855 Greek Revival home above  is typical of the lovingly restored and maintained dwellings on the street.

Every old house and every plot of land has a story.  Here are a few of them:

We begin with the ” Old Town Graveyard” on the north side of the street, a few steps east of Public Square. In the early days of the village, East Liberty Street was called “The Graveyard Road”  because the village burying ground was located there. One early resident recalled that “the bodies of the dead were taken to their final resting place upon a bier with four legs carried by four men and covered with a black pall, while a bell solemnly tolled.”

Some of the earliest settlers of Medina are buried in this sun-dappled space, including Captain Austin Badger who laid out the Square and constructed the first log cabin in the village of Medina.  Also at rest in this spot are two Revolutionary War veterans, as well as a young casualty of the Battle of Gettysburg.

A few steps away stands St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.  The first St Paul’s Church was  small log cabin erected in 1817 in Medina Township. By 1832 a white, wooden structure was built on this location and was replaced in 1884 by this splendid, late-Gothic Revival church which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

St. Paul’s possesses several exquisite stained glass windows donated by early Medina families.

403 East Liberty Street

A few houses east of the church stands this beautifully restored Italianate Victorian structure, built in 1885 by H.H. Northrop for Mr. and Mrs. Dwight Clark. It was the home of a Medina County Treasurer in the nineteenth century. It is only one of a few Victorian dwellings  on this street where many homes predate the Civil War.

603 East Liberty

Walk to the end of the block.  On the corner of East Liberty and North Spring Grove stands an 1841 home that was once a stop on the Underground Railroad.  It was built by an English immigrant, Thomas Miller and stands on what was once a 90 acre farm.

Miller, an ardent abolitionist, created hiding places to conceal fugitive slaves in his home. These hiding places — a secret nook behind the fireplace as well as a covert space behind a bookcase — are still in existence today.

Near the fireplace, under the rug,  is a trap door leading to a walk-out cellar.  When it came time to move the slaves, the fugitives were led from the basement to the barn which once stood behind the house — then on to their next destination.

Cross East Liberty Street and walk back toward the Square.  Stop before 502 East Liberty.

502 East Liberty

This is the second oldest structure on the street.  Built in 1837, it served as a one-room school house and was called the East School.  Before the  Civil War, Medina had three such one-room schoolhouses.  In 1872, a large central school was constructed and the  little schoolhouses were sold and used as residences.  This is the only one of the three structures to survive.

Proceed to 440 East Liberty on the next block. The facade of this home was modernized sometime in the mid-twentieth century, but it is actually an 1854 Western Reserve structure with hand-hewn, bark-covered beams in the cellar.

440 East Liberty

The carriage step, to the right of the door, is a noted feature of this home. Carved on the side is the name “F. Hudson” — the name of a local physician who attained great notoriety for attempting to rob a grave.

In the nineteenth century it was difficult for doctors to obtain cadavers for medical research.  Therefore, medical experiments were performed on the unclaimed poor or upon bodies robbed from graves at night.

In 1875, in Montville Township, an indigent man named Tom King died and was buried in Potter’s Field.  His emaciated condition was of great interest to Dr. Hudson.  The following night, Hudson, accompanied by two assistants, went to the grave and proceeded to disinter Tom King’s remains.  Suddenly, someone shot at the group and hit Dr. Hudson in the eye.  Hudson lost the eye and it became his very public badge of shame.

Friday night in Medina –  a study in contrasts.

In the Victorian-style gazebo on the Square, the Medina Community Band  plays tunes that float sweetly in the summer air.  It is serene and nostalgic –  pure, old fashioned Americana straight out of  “The Music Man.”

Off the Square, exactly one block west –  the roar of Harley-Davidsons and the thump of hard rock produce their own summer ambiance.  That’s right, Dorothy, you’re not in Kansas anymore — you’re in a street fair, elbow-to- elbow with hundreds of music fans packed into several adjoining parking lots located behind commercial buildings. It’s more gritty than pretty and the smell of barbecue permeates the air.

The bikers arrive  in droves and park  in specially reserved areas,  so that West Liberty Street resembles an  endless Harley-Davidson showroom. With their black leather gear, tattoos and bandanas, they provide color and swagger — as well as the element of cool. But the bikers are actually in the minority here.  The bulk of the crowd is  made up of your friends and neighbors — young and middle-aged suburbia out to drink beer, eat barbecue, and  listen to really great music.

The Rally in the Alley is a free outdoor concert that runs every Friday night, from Memorial Day weekend and until Labor Day Weekend when it ends with what is labeled A Huge Blowout.  Beer, wine, spirits and food are available for purchase, and a portion of those proceeds go to a different Medina charity every week. ( This evening it is the Forgotten Animal Shelter).

The Rally opens at 4:30 P.M. and the opening band takes the stage at 5:30.  (This afternoon it was The Woovs.) This evening, Majestic, a Journey Tribute band plays to an enthusiastic crowd.

The moving force behind this weekly summer event is Gary Quesada, owner of the Main Street Cafe on 17 Public Square –  chef extraordinaire and a die-hard fan of both rock music and Harley-Davidson bikes. Within a few short years, he has turned Rally in the Alley into a major event — a sort of Medina Band Concert for the new Millennium.

Here is a list of bands that will be playing at Rally in the Alley in the coming weeks:

June 24: Wounded Hand (Stone Temple Pilots Tribute). Opener: Aphrodite’s Hero (Classic Rock).

July 2: Carlos Jones (Bob Marley Tribute). Opener: Prayer Warriors

July 9: Mojo (Doors Tribute). Opener: Moon Age (Classic Rock)

July 16: One (A Celebration of U2). Opener: Blue Fish Crisis.

July 30: Vicious Cycle (Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute). Opener: Big House (Allman Brothers Tribute.)

August 6: Majestic (Journey Tribute). Opener: The Juke Hounds (Chicago Blues).

August 13: Stone Pony (Bruce Springsteen Cover). Opener: Pilgrim.

August 20: Mr. Speed (Kiss Tribute). Opener: Blue Lunch.

August 27: Rumors (Fleetwood Mac Tribute). Opener: The Woovs.

September 3: Vinyl Approach. Opener: The Knock-offs.

September 4: Evil Ways (Santana Tribute). Opener: The Four Horsemen (Metallica Tribute).

September 5: Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd Tribute).

The Friday evening band concert — Medina’s most charming and most enduring tradition — played to a large crowd gathered on lawn chairs and blankets around the Victorian confection of a gazebo in the center of Public Square Park last night.

1868 Band Concert on the Square

This year marks 151 years since the Medina Community Band has played on the village square on balmy summer nights.  In that first year, 1859, both the village and the Republic were relatively young.  Since then, generations have sat on the same three acre patch of grass, through the Civil War and two world wars, and through various economic and social upheavals. And the band played on.

In the early years, the band consisted of 15 men playing cornets.  This year, the Medina Community Band consists of 81 musicians.  Mostly amateurs, the group  includes retired teachers, postal workers, dentists, physicians and several students. They now play a much wider variety of instruments — flute, clarinet, oboe, sax , tuba and euphonium.

These outdoor concerts performed by the town band are a part of a great musical tradition in America.  Meredith Wilson’s  musical, “The Music Man” illustrates the band’s importance to small town life.  At the turn of the nineteenth century, John Philip Sousa, America’s foremost band director and composer of stirring marches, thrilled audiences in outdoor concerts in Philadelphia. He was a powerful influence in the community band movement throughout his career.

But then, in most places, the tradition ended.  Why? Radio?  Talking pictures? The Victrola? Or perhaps the Great Depression and  the two world wars?

At any rate, in Medina the tradition lives on.  Led by the splendidly flamboyant Band Director, Marcus Neiman, (in his 38th year on the job) the concert begins with the entire audience rising to sing the National Anthem, followed by some light classical music, including a violin solo (“Polonaise Brilliante, Op. 4) ; the theme from “Dragnet”, a 1950’s era television program; a Sing-a-Long (“On the Mall”); and several marches.  The concert concludes with Sousa’s stirring “The Stars and Stripes Forever.”

In the meantime, another part of the tradition includes an ice cream social.  In the northeast corner of the Square (on a concrete slab where the band concerts were held before the gazebo was erected in 1975), the Seville Presbyterian Church offers ice cream and freshly baked pies.

So, if you’re searching for a vanishing America — that ephemeral place of small towns, cozy communities, Victorian buildings, American flags and church socials– just stop by on any Friday night.  It’s still here and it’s the real thing.

Summer Series Dates:

June 18, 25

July 4, 9, 16, 23, 30.

8:30 P.M.

It’s a sure-fire sign that summer is here: White tents bloom on the green lawns of Public Square Park and the vendors arrive from all over the county to sell their wares. It’s Farmers’ Market Season in Medina  and it will continue every Saturday morning from June 5 to October 9,  9:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M.

The Medina Farmers’ Market began a few years ago with just a few tents huddled in the southwest corner of the square and offered a very limited selection –  tomatoes and perhaps some home-made baked goods — one Saturday a month.  Today, the first day of the season,  all the paths crisscrossing the park are lined with tents and the crowds are out in force.

And why is the community here is such large numbers?  For all the usually cited reasons, of course: Because people are increasingly drawn to healthier eating, because organically grown food tastes better, and because locally grown produce does not have to travel very far to get to the dinner table and the difference in mileage saves fossil fuels.

It is also the way people have shopped for thousands of years — in the agoras of ancient Greece, the souks of the Middle East and the village squares of Medieval Europe. It is still the way people shop in villages and town squares throughout the world.

The small family farms are well represented here and some of their names reveal their philosophies — Earth Song Discovery Farm (Holistic living in harmony with the earth) and  Soleil Farm (biological, poison free) And then, there are the plain, old-fashioned names like Muddy Fork Farm and Richardson’s Farm (six generations)who continue to grow things  the plain, old-fashioned way.

It is, of course, too soon in the season for any great profusion of produce to be available –  except for some tender looking green onions and parsley, and the strawberries. But it is flower season and the blooms are everywhere — huge, gorgeous and cheap.

However, produce isn’t the only reason to come. There is a very extensive variety of products available, from the useful to the quirky –  freshly baked, whole grain breads, local cheeses,  humanely raised beef, trail mix, brooms and hand-made handbags.  The bakers, jelly-makers and confectioners cheerfully offer samples and take orders.  The pies look luscious and, if you’re feeling especially community-minded, you can purchase large, white chocolate letters that spell Medina.

For the adored, four-legged family member — and there are plenty of those straining at their leashes –  the Barkin’ Biscuit Gourmet Bakery makes elegant-looking dog biscuits called “Bone-jour”.

Shopping. Sampling. People-watching. Or all of the above. Not a bad way to spend a summer morning.

Beautiful bounty of the Mustard Seed

The Mustard Seed Market and Cafe,  3885 West Market Street in Akron, (20 minutes from Medina) is the largest retailer of natural and organic products in Northeast Ohio.  Founded in 1981 by Margaret and Phillip Nabors,  the market specializes in providing high quality natural and organic food, as well as education and information on food issues and the environment.

The founders were pioneers in their commitment to strict ingredient standards — no artificial colors, flavorings or harmful chemical preservatives, no saccharin or aspartame, no irradiated foods.  Their cows don’t do drugs, which means that they are  “au naturel” and have never injected with growth hormones or indiscriminate antibiotics. Their chickens are also drug free.

The produce that fills the overflowing bins is locally grown, when possible, and certified organic. The Mustard Seed also offers local small farm dairy products, certified organic coffees and organic wines and beer.

Artisan breads are baked daily, and one aisle of the store features endless bins of bulk beans, grains, nuts, dried fruits and trail mixes. Wheat free and gluten free items are also available.

Over the years, Margaret and  Phillip Nabors — who have been joined in the business by their daughter and son — have added substantially to their offerings.  They now feature a very popular cafe, a deli, a cooking school ( which offers topics from wine appreciation to new cooking techniques) and an endless array of lectures, workshops, demonstrations and book signings.  A nutritional support aisle offers a large selection of vitamins, minerals and supplements, books, magazines and homeopathic formulas. They also sell cruelty-free cosmetics.

The Mustard Seed has a catering service — power breakfasts, working lunches, wedding receptions, bar mitzvahs — they do them all.  They also have banquet rooms upstairs.

And, in 1999, Margaret and Phillip Nabors opened a second Mustard Seed in Solon, an eastern suburb  of Cleveland.

The Cafe of the Akron Mustard Seed is,  not surprisingly, a very good place to sample the healthful bounty of Mustard Seed foods.  Vegan, vegetarian, carnivore — whatever your persuasion, there will be something to tempt you.

Here are two of their offerings:

Mediterranean Pizza with hummus, feta cheese, Kalmata olives and roasted tomatoes.For the vegan: Two Bean and Corn Salad with Tofu.

The Sunday Brunch Buffet at the Mustard Seed Cafe is very popular and offers live entertainment.  Hours are: 10:30 A.M. to 3:00 P.M.

During the week, the Cafe serves lunch and dinner. Hours are: Mon-Thurs. 11 A.M. – 8 P.M., Fri & Sat: 11:A.M. – 9. P.M. There is  also live entertainment on Friday and Saturday evenings — jazz, bluegrass, Celtic, etc..

Market & Cafe (330) 666-7333 (SEED)

Toll Free: (888) 476-2379 (GROCERY)

Fax: (330) 666-4892

Solon Location: Upper Solon Shopping Center, 6025 Kruse Drive, Solon, Ohio 44139

Market: (440) 519-3663 (FOOD)

Toll Free: (877) 496-3663 (FOOD)

Fax: (440) 519 -0623

Food Service Fax (440) 519-1591

UPCOMING EVENTS;:

June 16, 10:00 AM.-1:00 P.M.   Low cost cholesterol screenings.

June 16, 4:00 P.M.-7:00 P.M.     Larenim make-up consultations (mineral makeovers).

June 20,   Fathers’ Day Brunch with classical guitarist Pete Cavano. Adults, $21.99 & children $10.99.

June 26, 9:30 A.M -11:00 A.M.    Book signing for local chef, Bev Shaffer’s new book,  “Cakes to die for!”.

Cindy Allman paints a view

The French Impressionists popularized the practice of painting “en plein air” — in the open air — in the mid-nineteenth century.  These artists, considered radicals in their time, were intrigued by the momentary, transient effects of sunlight on objects, and on the changing qualities of light as the day progressed from morning to afternoon. They abandoned their studios and set up easels on river banks and meadows,  on beaches and in wooded glens — and in the process, changed art forever.

A local group of  artists called the Plein Air Painters of the Western Reserve have adopted this time-honored tradition.  They show up every Wednesday morning at nine A.M., May through October, at a designated Medina County park and  paint industriously until noon.

On this hot, sunny morning in May, the Plein Air Painters, swathed in wide-brimmed hats and long-sleeved shirts have gathered at River Styx Park in rural Medina County and set up easels in shady, secluded areas. They are working in a variety of mediums — oil, watercolor, acrylic and pencils.

“We are shooting for a moment in time,” explains Cindy Allman, the award- winning Medina artist and art instructor who organized the group a year ago. “We have to work quickly because the light is constantly changing. I like to paint on sunny days because there’s high contrast and interesting shadow patterns.”

She gestures toward the oil painting of a barn on her canvas.  “The shadow on this roof has been getting shorter and shorter as the morning progresses,” she observes.

She has had experience in working fast.  After graduating from the Pittsburgh Institute of Art, she worked as an illustrator and commercial artist. “Not only did we learn to work quickly, but we had to learn to edit.  Less is more,” she observes.”

Dave Fawcett

Dave Fawcett , another award -winning artist (he won first place in the Aquarius Art show sponsored by the Medina County Art League this past February) hides in the deep shade and works on a view of the lake. He retired from banking ten years ago and has, since then, devoted himself to art.

“This is such joy,” he says.  “I love working outside. And I like being with all these people.  I’m traveling in excellent company.”

He works so quickly that he has completed one painting by 10:30 and is contemplating a second one. The first painting is so realistically rendered that the canvas seems to blend in with the actual scenery.

Now he is faced with a decision. “I’m thinking of doing something more abstract with the second painting, he says. ” He explains that his work is moving more and more into the abstract realm.

On the other hand, he might just wipe the first canvas clean and start over. “It’s the journey that’s important,” he says.  “If we’re not wiping off, we’re not learning.”

Lee Beuther

Lee Beuther of Brunswick  is another regular member of the group. Her first art instructor was the celebrated Medina water- color artist, Fred Graff.  She recalls that he too was fond of painting out of doors.  He called it “painting on location.”

She has since moved on to acrylics and oil.

“Painting is very therapeutic for me,” Lee admits.  ‘I don’t think a lot about what I’m doing.  I just flow along with it.”

Cindy Allman’s paintings are available at Gramercy Gallery, 221 South Court St., Medina.  Dave Fawcett and Lee Beuther’s work is available at Art 101 Gallery, 23 Public Square, Suite 11, Medina.

Plein Air Painters of the Western Reserve schedule for May:

May 19 — Fortier Park, Olmsted Falls, 9 A.M. – noon

May 26 — Public Square, Medina,  9A.M. -noon

May 27 — Geig”s Apple Orchard, Seville,  6:30 P.M. – sunset

No Charge.  New artists welcome.