Small Treasures art show and sale features tiny artworks from local artists

  • Watercolors by Diane Kidd are featured in the upcoming Dublin Community Center Small Treasures art show and auction. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Watercolors by Diane Kidd are featured in the upcoming Dublin Community Center Small Treasures art show and auction. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Watercolors by Diane Kidd are featured in the upcoming Dublin Community Center Small Treasures art show and auction. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Watercolors by Diane Kidd are featured in the upcoming Dublin Community Center Small Treasures art show and auction. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Watercolors by Diane Kidd are featured in the upcoming Dublin Community Center Small Treasures art show and auction. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Craig Altobello of Peterborough in his workshop, creating wooden marquetry pieces with wood inlays. Courtesy photo—

  • Craig Altobello of Peterborough in his workshop, creating wooden marquetry pieces with wood inlays. Courtesy photo—

  • Wooden marquetry inlays created by Craig Altobello of Peterborough. Courtesy photo—

  • Wooden marquetry inlays created by Craig Altobello of Peterborough. Courtesy photo—

  • Wooden marquetry inlays created by Craig Altobello of Peterborough. Courtesy photo—

  • Wooden marquetry inlays created by Craig Altobello of Peterborough. Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 11/23/2021 12:44:22 PM

Good things come in small packages – and it doesn’t get much smaller than the art featured in the Dublin Community Center’s fifth annual Small Treasures Art Show and Sale.

The annual show is one of the center’s biggest annual fundraisers, said Dublin Community Center Board of Directors President Susan Stover. Even last year, when the event had to go fully online for the first time, it raised about $3,000 for the organization.

Small Treasures showcases local artists who exhibit both paintings and three-dimensional art no larger than 5 by 7 inches. Each artist contributes the proceeds from the sale of one piece and the center takes a 20% commission on the sale of all other pieces. An average of 40 area artists participate each year.

The show is once again planned to be virtual, in deference to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Artist Craig Altobello of Peterborough submitted several of his wood marquetry – an inlay technique – pieces to this year’s show. Altobello said he usually draws the inspiration for his pieces from two main sources – the nature around him and the wood itself. Altobello’s pieces for the Small Treasures show include silhouettes of a fern and a sprig of maple leaves, as well as specimens he has spotted in his backyard such as a black bear, flying geese and a black-capped chickadee.

Altobello browses lumber yards for the wood he uses in his pieces, and said sometimes how the wood has been treated, its color or its grain and texture give him hints about what it’s meant to be. When he spotted a plank of sycamore that had a feathery texture, for example, he knew it would become the basis for his chickadee.

“The wood is the inspiration; it’s really as simple as that. The question I often ask myself is, ‘Why in wood, and not watercolor or oil or acrylic?’ But to me, the wood is the most-important thing,” Altobello said. “If there’s a dark, rich texture, I think, ‘That could be a bear,’ or a feathery texture, and I think, ‘That could be a bird.’”

Diane Kidd of Hancock, who has also submitted multiple pieces for the show and sale, also draws a lot from nature and her surroundings, with most of her miniature watercolors portraying landscapes or animals, usually from photographs she takes whenever she spots something that inspires her.

“I paint what I like, and I enjoy architecture, animals and landscapes,” Kidd said.

Kidd, who has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, said she started working with oils, woodcuts and lithographs, but discovered watercolors in the 1980s and has never looked back.

“I loved them from the very beginning,” Kidd said. “It’s so luminous and bright, and light and airy, even when you’re painting a dark subject. You can layer colors beautifully, and they become colors you never even thought of.”

Both Kidd and Altobello said they are veterans of the Small Treasures show, and created their submissions specifically for the sale.

Altobello said the sale is a chance for him to challenge himself creatively, because when working on a much smaller scale than usual, he has to force himself to work more simply.

“This particular show is special to me, because it pushes me,” Altobello said. “When I have to keep things simple, I use more single blocks of color, and I have to focus more on the texture to convey my meaning, rather than lots of intricate parts.”

Altobello pointed to a landscape inlay of Mount Monadnock he submitted for the show as an example. He chose wood that fit the contour of the mountain landscape, and with a deep russet color to imply the fiery fall colors.

“The choices I made are very deliberate, with each particular piece of wood,” Altobello said. “I’m not just going for anything. Often on these simpler pieces, I’m spending just as much time choosing the wood as I am cutting the pieces.”

For Kidd, Small Treasures isn’t the first time she has consciously created small pieces. She has also participated in the Minis on Main show in Peterborough, which she said was her first introduction to working small.

“It is a challenge, to adapt your subject to a smaller size,” Kidd said. But, she said, it helps to make local art accessible to more people.

“It allows people who might not have the space to hang the large painting, or a large amount of funds to spend on art, to have a small piece of original, local art. They can buy it as a Christmas present, and without spending a huge amount of money give someone something that is quite special,” she said.

The online auction is available at 32auctions.com/smalltreasures2021 from noon on Dec. 4 through noon on Dec. 7. In addition to online purchasing, patrons and visitors will have the opportunity to view the exhibit prior to the sale at the DubHub, by appointment, Monday, Nov. 29, through Thursday, Dec. 2. The show may also be previewed online through the auction website.

To schedule an appointment to view the show or for information, call Susan Stover at 908-672-6481 or Mary Loftis at 603-831-6641.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.


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