There are chickens in the yard, mountains in the distance, cold water in the creek and art in his soul.
Nestled among the Catskill Mountains in Bearsville, State University of New York at New Paltz graduate Mike DuBois maintains a mountainside studio where he has created art for some of rock 'n' roll's biggest names - the Allman Brothers Band, Santana, Levon Helm Band, former Grateful Dead members Bob Weir and Phil Lesh and the estate of Jimi Hendrix, among others.
Many Hudson Valley music fans will travel to Hunter Mountain in June - for the Mountain Jam music festival - and Bridgeport, Conn., in July - for the Gathering of the Vibes music festival. Artwork created by DuBois will serve as an icon for both events and be as ubiquitous there as live music.
Standing at the crossroads where music meets art, DuBois underscores the rich cultural heritage of Woodstock and the Hudson Valley. The paintings of the Hudson Valley School and legacy of the 1969 Woodstock
Music and Art Fair are bedrocks of the region's history and continue to inspire today.
But the region's legacy with which DuBois is so closely linked transcends music and art.
As a student at SUNY New Paltz, DuBois hiked, mountain-biked and rock-climbed often in the Shawangunk Mountains. And like those artists of the Hudson River School, DuBois drew inspiration from the region's landscape.
"The mountains, that was a natural attraction," DuBois said of his discovering the area before enrolling at SUNY. "I still love the 'Gunks. In their own way É they were inspirational."
As a child, DuBois visited the historic Huguenot Street section of New Paltz, which dates to the late 1600s. Decades later, DuBois learned from his father, who enjoyed researching the family history, that his family was descended from an original settler of New Paltz.
"For us to help someone have a better understanding of who they are, where they came from," said Richard Heyl De Ortiz, director of public programs at Historic Huguenot Street, "is incredibly rewarding."
DuBois and his family are related to Louis DuBois, who is buried in uptown Kingston.
"It feels good," DuBois said of his links to local history. "It's grounding. Me and my one cousin, my father's brother's son, we are the last two males carrying on the name. Now I have two sons."Grew up in Syracuse
Art seems equally as grounding for DuBois, who grew up in Syracuse and by age 12 was designing T-shirts for local organizations and at 18 was painting murals on the sides of city buildings for the Syracuse Art Squad.
At SUNY New Paltz, DuBois focused on metal-smithing and jewelry design.
While at New Paltz, DuBois was heavily involved with the college's Innovative Studies Program and Appropriate Technologies Association. The involvement served as a cauldron for his interest in solar power, which he maintains today.
Solar panels provide DuBois with 30 percent of his electricity needs - he has his home and studio on the same property - and in the winter, 85 percent of his heating needs are covered by solar power.
Back at New Paltz, the organizations DuBois was involved with often staged events to raise awareness of the issues they examined and hosted speakers.
DuBois often created posters and promotional materials for these events. After college, using original paintings and drawings, he created a line of greeting cards, which launched his career.
"I produced eight greeting cards," he said. "Then people wanted to see things on shirts."
DuBois began selling his artwork outside of Grateful Dead concerts, which were legendary for their grassroots vending scenes in the parking lot of concert halls.
"One thing led to another," he said, "and I started doing music posters."
Around 1990, DuBois created a design for Not Fade Away Trading Co. in Woodstock, which has created and sold official merchandise for the Grateful Dead, Bob Marley, Gov't Mule and many others for years, and that work continues.
"We all try very hard to prepare students for life within their chosen field after graduation," said John Cogswell, an instructor in the SUNY New Paltz Metals Department. "It reflects well on the program. It says, 'I was prepared well, they gave me the tools for survival in the field.' It says, 'I am a success story. They helped me get here.' We're a part of the process."
"I was always drawing, since I could hold a pencil," DuBois said. "It's something that held my attention, that I liked to do. I like to bring images to fruition."