A continuing tale of life in the boonies


No. 082

Athens of New Hampshire

Theatre by the Sea may have closed down in Portsmouth but the Torch of the Arts has been passed on to Farmington, and burns brightly indeed in the Goodwin Library.

The 4th annual exhibit of Arts and Crafts executed by local people has attracted such a throng, that it has been held over for another week, and will now run until the Feb. 19. Throw the Rochester Courier aside and view this milestone on the march to civilization.

Feast your eyes on a cultural extravaganza, while your ears are soothed by a musical background of Chopin and Mozart. Pig out on free cookies and punch, served from a crystal dish, by a rotation of ladies from the Farmington Woman's Club and the Historical Society. That's living, buddy!

The catalogue (free) shows one of Uel Gardener's photographs of wild grasses on its front cover and, inside, lists almost 50 artists and craftspeople from Farmington and the surrounding area, who, between them, have submitted work ranging from oils, sketches and watercolors to quilting, carved toys, crocheting, knitting, poetic verse and handcrafted clocks.

I had always thought of Gladys Lepene as a member of the Dock Square Breakfast Club who ordered blueberry pancakes and then lived quietly for the rest of the day. But Gladys is an Artist with a capital A, typesetters. As was once quoted of Archie Corson...

"Full many a gem of purest ray serene.

The dark unfathomed depths of oceans bear"

Gladys has submitted three oil paintings that would delight the hearts of exhibition organizers anywhere, with "Autumn Fruit" being my particular favorite.

Polly Blair, also a Breakfast Clubber, has a couple of interesting canvases; the program refers to one as "Early Morn at Cape Cod" - it transpires to be Ogunquit, Maine, but no matter.

Anna Richards, the name that launched a thousand brushes, according to the wag who typed the catalogue, has several pleasing works including "Winter, Cape Cod."

My favorite oil painting, though, I must confess is "Moon of the Popping Trees" by Jeannie Blinkinsop-Blinkinsop. This 1987 work shows Jean deeply emerged in her Yellow Period and what a pleasure it is that this swirling enigma should premiere in downtown Farmington. Of course, like many great works, it is beyond the befuddled comprehension of the lower orders.

"Moon of the Popping Pills, mairlike," that particularly objectionable philistine, Mr. Ramgunshoch, was overheard muttering. But here, in the Athens of New Hampshire, such ignorant rumbling are usually rare, and never heeded.

Another showstopper, coincidentally executed by Jeannie's close friend, Susan Mayo, is "Magic Night," and it may be that her inspiration for the painting came from the album cover of the Incredible String Band's "5000 spirits or the Layers of the Onion." Both are ablaze with mystery and symbolism. Both could be treasure maps of Middle Earth. Fine stuff! Fine stuff, indeed!

Then the eye rises up to alight on the smiling face of Wild Bill Vachon wearing a plumber's plunger on his shaved head with the dignity of a diamond tiara. This is one of Joe Henry's two photographs on show - the other also has wry humor with Joe Bean's kite, a vivid red speck in an otherwise mistily black and white shot of the farm house and overhanging trees

Ed Demers, who performed so entertainingly at a recent Burn's Night on dulicmer, banjo and harmonica, displays yet another talent with two h and-carved fowls, one a sitting hen unhappily splitting as it dries out in the warmth of the exhibit room, and the other a painted loon that would fool another loon from three paces. If I may dash quickly back to the paintings, Betty Demers has submitted "January," a view from a comfortably lived-in room out onto a familiar chilly street scene, which has won comment from gallery visitors.

But there is so much more and dead-line approacheth like the grim reaper. Harvey Titcomb's delightful wooden car and areoplanes, Boots Quinn's Swedish Rosemaling which we learn from the catalogue is Rosemaling from Sweden. And on Feb. 19 a guest appearance by the Kennedy Painting!

Sorry, Portsmouth that your artistic light has dimmed - that's the price for too many yuppies - the flame of Culture has moved northwards.

School nurses

The school nurses announce that on the day of the Kennedy Painting, Feb. 19, the pre-school vision and hearing screening program.

F.B.A. news

Farmington Business Association, who has done so much in the past few years to promote town spirit, is on a recruiting drive for additional members. The Christmas lights and decorations are attributed to the F.B.A. and their friends, as well as the residence lighting competition. The Winter Carnival, Hay Day and the Road Race have all benefited by their support, and they were one of the major sponsors of the Farmington brochure, all efforts that have gone far in raising the morale of the community to its present healthy state. So, if you are in business great or small, give the F.B.A. a call. Look out, Archie, they're comin' for ya!

It was revealed that Cynthia Czvornyek-Crosser, O.C., a chiropractor from Iowa, is considering moving to the area, and has written to the F.B.A. for local info.

Latest Scores

Jeannie Blinkinsop-Blinkinsop - 27; Cynthia Czvornyek-Crosser, O.C. - 24.

Feb. 17, 1987

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