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Wilton artist brings Western views home to Monadnock

  • Gail Hoar of Wilton will present a series of landscapes featuring he scenes she's seen in her travels through he Southwest and Montana during a show at the Jaffrey Civic Center throughout the month of March. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Gail Hoar of Wilton will present a series of landscapes featuring he scenes she's seen in her travels through he Southwest and Montana during a show at the Jaffrey Civic Center throughout the month of March.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Gail Hoar of Wilton puts the final touches on her oil painting, "Grand Vista: Zion Park," in her home studio, in preparation for an exhibit of her Western landscapes featuring scenes from her travels through the Southwest and Montana. The exhibit opens March 2 at the Jaffrey Civic Center.

    Gail Hoar of Wilton puts the final touches on her oil painting, "Grand Vista: Zion Park," in her home studio, in preparation for an exhibit of her Western landscapes featuring scenes from her travels through the Southwest and Montana. The exhibit opens March 2 at the Jaffrey Civic Center.

  • Gail Hoar of Wilton will present a series of landscapes featuring he scenes she's seen in her travels through he Southwest and Montana during a show at the Jaffrey Civic Center throughout the month of March. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Gail Hoar of Wilton will present a series of landscapes featuring he scenes she's seen in her travels through he Southwest and Montana during a show at the Jaffrey Civic Center throughout the month of March.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Gail Hoar of Wilton will present a series of landscapes featuring he scenes she's seen in her travels through he Southwest and Montana during a show at the Jaffrey Civic Center throughout the month of March. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Gail Hoar of Wilton will present a series of landscapes featuring he scenes she's seen in her travels through he Southwest and Montana during a show at the Jaffrey Civic Center throughout the month of March.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Gail Hoar of Wilton will present a series of landscapes featuring he scenes she's seen in her travels through he Southwest and Montana during a show at the Jaffrey Civic Center throughout the month of March. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Gail Hoar of Wilton will present a series of landscapes featuring he scenes she's seen in her travels through he Southwest and Montana during a show at the Jaffrey Civic Center throughout the month of March.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Gail Hoar of Wilton will present a series of landscapes featuring he scenes she's seen in her travels through he Southwest and Montana during a show at the Jaffrey Civic Center throughout the month of March. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Gail Hoar of Wilton will present a series of landscapes featuring he scenes she's seen in her travels through he Southwest and Montana during a show at the Jaffrey Civic Center throughout the month of March.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Gail Hoar of Wilton puts the final touches on her oil painting, "Grand Vista: Zion Park," in her home studio, in preparation for an exhibit of her Western landscapes featuring scenes from her travels through the Southwest and Montana. The exhibit opens March 2 at the Jaffrey Civic Center. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

    Gail Hoar of Wilton puts the final touches on her oil painting, "Grand Vista: Zion Park," in her home studio, in preparation for an exhibit of her Western landscapes featuring scenes from her travels through the Southwest and Montana. The exhibit opens March 2 at the Jaffrey Civic Center.

    (Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

  • Gail Hoar of Wilton will present a series of landscapes featuring he scenes she's seen in her travels through he Southwest and Montana during a show at the Jaffrey Civic Center throughout the month of March. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Gail Hoar of Wilton puts the final touches on her oil painting, "Grand Vista: Zion Park," in her home studio, in preparation for an exhibit of her Western landscapes featuring scenes from her travels through the Southwest and Montana. The exhibit opens March 2 at the Jaffrey Civic Center.
  • Gail Hoar of Wilton will present a series of landscapes featuring he scenes she's seen in her travels through he Southwest and Montana during a show at the Jaffrey Civic Center throughout the month of March. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Gail Hoar of Wilton will present a series of landscapes featuring he scenes she's seen in her travels through he Southwest and Montana during a show at the Jaffrey Civic Center throughout the month of March. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Gail Hoar of Wilton will present a series of landscapes featuring he scenes she's seen in her travels through he Southwest and Montana during a show at the Jaffrey Civic Center throughout the month of March. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Gail Hoar of Wilton will present a series of landscapes featuring he scenes she's seen in her travels through he Southwest and Montana during a show at the Jaffrey Civic Center throughout the month of March. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Gail Hoar of Wilton puts the final touches on her oil painting, "Grand Vista: Zion Park," in her home studio, in preparation for an exhibit of her Western landscapes featuring scenes from her travels through the Southwest and Montana. The exhibit opens March 2 at the Jaffrey Civic Center. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

In September, Gail Hoar and her husband were driving down a long, winding road next to the Colorado River in Utah, taking in the expansive scenery that makes up the American Southwest. The two ended up in a restaurant overlooking the river, and as she watched the change in colors play out over the water, Hoar knew this was a scene she wanted to paint.

Hoar, a Wilton resident, spent a month driving around the Southwest in the fall of 2012 , and the trip, along with a separate trip to Montana earlier in 2012 , resulted in her latest series of oil paintings: the landscapes she saw on her journeys. They have been gathered into one exhibit, “Grand Vistas: Paintings by Gail Hoar,” opening at the Jaffrey Civic Center on Saturday

Hoar grew up in the Western United States, and it’s held a special place in her heart ever since. Especially, the subtle beauty of the Southwest, which is often dismissed by travelers because of the flat landscape. Hoar, however, sees only the beauty in the land. She has painted some of the most iconic and beautiful sights that part of the country has to offer, including Zion National Park in Utah, the Montana Valley, the Canyonlands National Park , the Utah Mesa in Zion Park and the Colorado River Canyon, among others.

“I wanted to capture the essence of the Southwest,” said Hoar of her landscape series in an interview at her home studio Saturday. “There’s a simplicity and a complexity to the landscape at the same time. If you look at the details of it, all the different shifts of color it has, even in a flat landscape where the sky meets the land, you’ll see lots of variations of colors and textures and patterns. I never find it boring, and I wanted to show how in a simple landscape how many shifts in patterns, color and light there really are.”

Hoar and her husband took a month last fall to travel the Southwest and really get to know the land, and to let Hoar draw her inspiration from the sweeping landscapes she saw there. Hoar brought along her Nikon camera, and took more than 2,400 photos, which she later used as references to bring together her series of oil paintings.

And not all of the Southwest is flat. It’s known for its towering rock formations, another aspect of that part of the country that fascinates Hoar. She and her husband spent the day hiking in Zion Park in Utah to get enough height to view the formations in the area properly, and Hoar fell in love with the view.

None of her paintings are direct representation of the vistas she saw, she said. Hoar instead takes what she remembers of the view and photographs she took, and creates the essence of the landscape. Her vision of land, a painting entitled “Grand Vista: Zion Park,” is still one of the unfinished works, and is in place on Hoar’s easel in her studio. Planned to be finished by the time of the opening of her exhibit, Hoar said it is one of her favorite pieces.

The artist has paired the paintings that resulted from her trip in September with several unfinished works from a trip she took to Montana earlier in the year to visit her brother. While the two areas are not close to each other geographically, they both gave her the same inspiration to get the beautiful land down on canvas, she said.

“When you feel like you want to paint something, it just sits in your stomach, and you have to get it out,” said Hoar. “It’s like emotion. You say, ‘I’ve got to do this. I want this around me. I want to live with this.’”

Hoar bases a lot of her artistic decisions on that feeling, she said. “If other people like them, that’s great,” she said. “But if they don’t, I’m just as happy to have them on my own walls. If I’m going to create art, I want to create art that makes me feel good. That makes people that walk in and see it smile.”

“Grand Vistas: Paintings by Gail Hoar” will be on display in the first floor display cases of the Jaffrey Civic Center Saturday through March 30. For more information about this exhibit, contact the Civic Center at 532-6527 or email jaffreycntr@aol.com.

For more information on the artist, visit gailhoar.com.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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