Beautiful nature art is available for your viewing for the rest of 2012 at the Roger Tory Peterson Institute on Curtis Street in Jamestown.
The main floor of the beautiful building which houses the institute is displaying oil paintings, watercolors, gouache and works in other media by Arthur Singer, some of which had background and botanical additions by the artist's son, Alan Singer.
Most of the hanging space on the building's second floor is displaying paintings by artist and illustrator Stanley Moltzoff, who has been described as the greatest painter of fish of all time. Both shows were slated to end in early December, but have been extended until Jan. 3, 2013.
Arthur Singer's reputation was made in creating field guides to nature, especially of birds - a career similar to that of Roger Tory Peterson. Like Peterson, though, he didn't limit himself to the relatively stiff and formal portrayals in his field guides and sometimes produced large canvasses, displaying the power and the movement of nature in addition to the intensely detailed accuracy required by the field guides. Indeed, the host institute has made available drawings and paintings by Peterson and placed them adjacent to illustrations of the same birds and other wildlife by Singer, so that visitors can compare and contrast the styles of the two great artists.
The exhibit includes a wide variety of works by Singer, most of them from the collections of his two sons. Most of the works in both halves of the exhibit are available for purchase at prices ranging from $850 to $95,000. One rare exception is a 16- by 39-inch acrylic painting of peregrine falcons which Singer painted in 1975, shortly after the death of his wife. He told his sons that he had always admired the faithfulness and loyalty of those birds to their permanent mates and said the painting always made him think of his wife and himself.
That painting is not for sale, but it is there to be admired.
Also present in the Singer exhibit is a full page of postage stamps which the artist created on commission from the U.S. Postal Service in the 1980s. The page includes the artist's renderings of the official bird of each state in the union. The task was made more challenging by the fact that sometimes more than one state has selected the same bird - six different states have selected the cardinal, for example. Yet there are six unique paintings of cardinals, with each state having been given its own visual quality of that bird for its own.
Surrounding the glass-enclosed stamps are the original paintings of some of the state birds which were used to make the stamps. These paintings were among those for which Alan Singer painted background foliage for his father's work.
A quick trip up the stairs to the second floor - or in the elevator, if you prefer - takes you to the underwater world created by Stanley Meltzoff. The exhibit of his works is titled ''Stanley Meltzoff: The Great Game Fish.''
While fish don't appear in front of different seasons of foliage and the like as do Singer's birds, they are always seen through the medium of water. Meltzoff has a genius for portraying ripples, for example, or a murky quality of some water or the darkness present for fish who live deeper in the water,while others desport themselves near the sparkling surface.
The close to 30 works demonstrate Meltzoff's careful studies of the fish and their typical behavior as well as his ability to portray them creatively and not just in stereotypical poses.
The Roger Tory Peterson Institute is located at 311 Curtis St., Jamestown. To find it, drive east on East Second Street toward Falconer. At the intersection of Curtis Street, turn left and drive along the western edge of the JCC campus. Shortly after you pass the tennis courts and athletic facilities, the institute will appear on your left.
The institute is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Sundays, hours are 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. They are closed on Mondays and major holidays. More information about the institute and the exhibits is available by phoning 665-2473 or on its website at www.rtpi.org.
Admission cost is $6 for the general public, $4 for children and students. There is no charge for members. Parking is free of charge and plentiful. A visit is a great place to take out-of-town visitors or to spend an hour or so with your children or grandchildren when they are not in school.