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Spring brings new challenges and delights for local artists

  • Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Sandy McGuinness of Fitzwilliam admires the work of her fellow artists during an opening reception of the Jaffrey Civic Center's Annual Area Spring Art Exhibit on Friday night. McGuinness is exhibiting her oil paintings for the first time at the Civic Center this February and March.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Sandy McGuinness of Fitzwilliam admires the work of her fellow artists during an opening reception of the Jaffrey Civic Center's Annual Area Spring Art Exhibit on Friday night. McGuinness is exhibiting her oil paintings for the first time at the Civic Center this February and March.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Ken Kraft of Jaffrey discusses the inspiration behind his encaustic painting, "The Dancer," at an opening reception of the Jaffrey Civic Center's Annual Area Spring Art Exhibit on Friday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Ken Kraft of Jaffrey discusses the inspiration behind his encaustic painting, "The Dancer," at an opening reception of the Jaffrey Civic Center's Annual Area Spring Art Exhibit on Friday.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Jaffrey photographer Katherine Coker-Cronin smiles as she looks at a photograph she took of her grandson Noah. The photograph is on display at the Jaffrey Civic Center as a part of the Annual Area Spring Art Exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Jaffrey photographer Katherine Coker-Cronin smiles as she looks at a photograph she took of her grandson Noah. The photograph is on display at the Jaffrey Civic Center as a part of the Annual Area Spring Art Exhibit.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

    Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.

    (Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Sandy McGuinness of Fitzwilliam admires the work of her fellow artists during an opening reception of the Jaffrey Civic Center's Annual Area Spring Art Exhibit on Friday night. McGuinness is exhibiting her oil paintings for the first time at the Civic Center this February and March.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Ken Kraft of Jaffrey discusses the inspiration behind his encaustic painting, "The Dancer," at an opening reception of the Jaffrey Civic Center's Annual Area Spring Art Exhibit on Friday.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Jaffrey photographer Katherine Coker-Cronin smiles as she looks at a photograph she took of her grandson Noah. The photograph is on display at the Jaffrey Civic Center as a part of the Annual Area Spring Art Exhibit.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)
  • Jaffrey Civic Center's spring art show debuted Friday night with an opening reception and meet-and-greet with local artists.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Alyssa Dandrea)

Beads of sunlight shine through the circular holes in the jungle gym and reflect on a young boy’s face. The temperature is 95 degrees, but even the high heat could not keep Noah from the Peterborough play ground. He’s there with his grandmother, Katherine Coker-Cronin of Jaffrey, who has her camera within an arm’s reach and ready to capture those special moments.

“As the light was coming through the holes in the jungle gym, he stopped for a split second, looked at me and I captured it,” Coker-Cronin, a documentary photographer, said at the opening reception for the Jaffrey Civic Center’s Annual Area Spring Art Exhibit on Friday. “He’s very self-aware and present in the image, almost defiant, but beautiful. It’s innocent youth at its best.”

The photograph, titled “Noah,” is among more than 30 others now on display at the Civic Center’s Auditorium Gallery as a part of the spring art show. In the Civic Center’s Cunningham Gallery, 127 additional works, including oil, pastel, watercolor, acrylic and encaustic paintings, as well as collages, fabric art, colored pencil drawings, pottery, wood cutouts and mixed media, are on display through March 16. The majority of the artwork is for sale, with a price list available at the galleries’ entrances.

Coker-Cronin, who is a senior lecturer of Fine Arts at Franklin Pierce University, said she was taken aback by the diverse works in the spring exhibit and the stories behind them. For her piece, Coker-Cronin said she wanted to look ahead to the spring season and also provide viewers with a recent photograph.

Fellow Jaffrey artist Edward Merrell, who chairs the town’s Planning Board, said his oil painting, “Bugzzzz,” incorporates spring motifs such as a rose and a bee, but does so in an animated and imaginative way. The bee is nearly as large as the budding flower and is emphasized thanks to its bright yellow color, which quickly draws in the viewer’s attention.

In a second oil painting, “Basket Balls,” Merrell said he experimented with primary colors, which allowed him to think outside the box and include objects not originally in the still-life setup of a tan wicker basket with red, yellow and blue balls.

Merrell took his very first art lesson more than 50 years ago and since his retirement has had more time to nurture his creative side.

Ken Kraft of Jaffrey, like Merrell, is a veteran exhibiting artist at the Civic Center, but his work has been taken in a new direction of late.

In the past year he’s discovered a form of painting that has taken his work in a more abstract direction. Encaustic painting requires an artist to move fast because hot wax is the key ingredient. Kraft uses color pigments and wax as his base as opposed to an oil or acrylic paint.

While the spring-like color pallets of his encaustic paintings pay homage to the season ahead of us, Kraft said the inspiration for his work in the Civic Center’s spring show are a bit unusual.

“I had taken a class in nude drawings and I just couldn’t do it; I didn’t have the patience,” Kraft said of a class he took at Sharon Arts Center in Peterborough. “My instructor said to me, ‘Well, you have just 15 seconds to draw. Go!’”

The hurried figural drawings he learned to do in that class were so different that Kraft said he wanted to explore the concept in his recent encaustic paintings, too. In “The Dancer,” now on display at the Civic Center, Kraft said he used a needle tool to carve into the wax base and create the final image.

Kraft’s second encaustic painting, “Heaven’s Gate,” includes a piece of ripped cardboard, which he glued to the wood panel foundation and painted over with wax and varying color pigments. In its final form, the textured area of the painting resembles a gate and, Kraft said, it just so happened that the shape of a white angel appeared close by.

“The trick with any abstract painting is knowing when to stop,” Kraft said, explaining that, as he worked with the wax, the angel-like figure emerged and was not intentional at the outset.

In addition to the work in the spring show, an exhibit of recently blown glass pieces by Christina Altieri of Sharon are on view in the first floor display cases at the Civic Center through March 1. The exhibit is a tribute to each of the four elements: air, fire, earth and water.

“I started the series in ceramics before I graduated from Franklin Pierce [University],” Altieri said. “But for this, I really stepped outside my comfort zone.”

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or adandrea@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

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