Pre-Valentine's Day: People celebrating the things they love

By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Putnam - posted Mon., Feb. 10, 2014
Jennifer Holmes paints the Pomfret Street Bridge landscape. Photos by D. Coffey.
Jennifer Holmes paints the Pomfret Street Bridge landscape. Photos by D. Coffey.

Last weekend, people with an eye toward Valentine's Day were taking some time out to do things they love:

Jennifer Holmes was outfitted in Bafflin boots, a long quilted coat, and a 5-inch brim straw hat over a woolen cap. She’d set her easel up downstream of the Pomfret Street Bridge so she could paint it. Cargill Falls rumbled on the rocks behind it. “It’s a spectacular view,” she said.

Holmes is a plein air painter. Since 1993, she’s traveled to different sites to try to capture their beauty with paint and pallet knives. “I’ve always been a painter,” she said. “I love being outside. I love to drive. And I love to look at beautiful sights.”

She spent hours outside on Feb. 8 trying to capture the beauty of the historic bridge. The spire of the town hall and some flags at Rotary Park rose up behind the bridge. “It’s such a romantic view,” she said.

“I love to read,” Abby Napierata said. One of her favorite book characters is "Winnie the Pooh." She’s going to share that love of reading by making cards, designing the covers and using glittery glue for highlights. She’ll give those cards to her friends in the “Ladders to Literacy” Program at the Canterbury Library on Valentine’s Day.

Steve Veilleux’s love of photography started when he was in high school. At 21, he bought his first Minolta and began experimenting with it. He was always interested in photographs that were creations verging on fantasy. “Tools were tougher back then,” he said. “You had to study what you were doing more. You had to send film away. I kept notes on what I had done.”

Now he relies on a practiced eye and Photoshop. He used it to help create the poetic image, “A Change of Season,” now showing at the Shattered Pallet Gallery on South Main Street. The work juxtaposes an image of Myrtle Beach against a snow-covered Manchester neighborhood. Both photographs were taken in October. “It’s a lot like poetry,” he said. “The meanings aren’t on the surface, but there’s so much going on.” 

Aaron Hill’s life changed 50 years ago when he saw The Beatles perform on "The Ed Sullivan Show." That show turned into a lifelong love affair with music. He was at String Tinkers playing a Parlor Resonator guitar on Saturday. “I come here as often as I can,” he said. Tinkers looks more like one big living room with guitars, banjos and ukuleles on the walls. Hill played using a slide and finger picks. “Everyone comes in here,” he said. “There’s just something special about getting the instruments to sound the way they sound.”

What Jane Lehmann O’Brien loves about life are roots and wings. “Your roots can grow into 100 different places,” she said. “And your wings can take you to even more. One informs the other.”

Natalie sat at a table at Sawmill Pottery painting a handmade cup bright yellow. Cookie cutter clay bunnies jumped along the top edge of her cup. She crafted a handle to look like a carrot. “I love bunnies,” she said. “They’re cute and fluffy."

Her brother Sam had already finished making a maroon bowl. It was his favorite color. But what he liked more was tidying up the place. He stood at the industrial sink, wiping it down. “I love cleaning things,” he said. He had his work cut out for him. Bowls, clay dust and paint splotches covered the work table where his sister and another artist sat.

What Carol Records would love to do when she retires is work at The Arc Emporium, a treasure trove of clothing, housewares and jewelry. That’s where she was Saturday, her first time shopping in weeks. She was relishing the opportunity. “This is a warm, inviting, friendly place,” she said. “I get a wonderful feeling shopping here.” Records left with four bags of goodies. “There are such positive vibes in here,” she said. “It’s a great store.”

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