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Artist depicts Saratoga his way

Stu Eichel hails from Knoxville, Tenn., but for about 18 years, he and his wife have been Saratogians enjoying the milder weather.

We retired here and couldn't stand the weather being so hot out there. Most people move in the other direction, said Eichel.

When he arrived in Saratoga Springs, Eichel began turning the upstate New York landscape, houses and sites he found intriguing, into oil on canvas art.

"I definitely see things the normal guy sees all the time, in a different way. I'm observing and most people can't do anything about it, but I can and it's a wonderful ability to be able to see something that needs recording and put it down," said Eichel.

Now 78, Eichel said he finds simple sights that most people overlook, as beautiful.

"I go for the underbelly stuff like the recycling plan on Weibel. I thought it was interesting; it might be like painting an outhouse for a lot of people, but to me it made an interesting painting," sid Eichel.

He also painted an old mill with peeling paint and more famous landmarks like the Batcheller Mansion, Convention Center and Preservation Hall. A collection of more than 30 Saratoga paintings are on display during the month of February at the Saratoga Train Station as part of the Art in Public Places exhibit. He said people might be interested in seeing his paintings because they document Saratoga through the years.

"What's amazing and what people don't realize because I certainly didn't, is how much Saratoga has changed in a short period of time. Some things are completely gone and others are just different," said Eichel. "It just happened by chance, I didn't do this with the idea that I'll save history."

Eichel considers himself a late artist because he didn't become trained until after he'd finished up a career in graphic design. When he retired, he completed the entire fine arts program at the University of Tennessee, taking photography, sculpture and ceramic.

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