Author: Janelle Faignant

Chaffee’s January Artist of the Month

Chaffee’s January Artist of the Month

“The first 15 minutes is us getting comfortable,” he said. “If they’re not comfortable they’re not going to have a good portrait. I don’t like having my picture taken so I get it. But once you find that rhythm and get comfortable it just flows.”

His preference is always to shoot outside with natural light and Vermont’s beautiful backgrounds, and he knows the tricks around that, too.

“We didn’t have any sun so I needed to make it,” he said showing one photo as an example. “This has an orange gel so it looks like the sun’s coming through and setting in the background. Creating light that looks natural is really the job.”

“I don’t like to over-Photoshop my images. I want the people to look natural. I don’t want my photos to look fake. But if the groom has a blemish he wants gone that’s fine, it’s a couple clicks and it’s gone,” he said.

I do a lot of senior portraits and family portraits but most of it is probably weddings. That’s what I enjoy.

Chaffee’s Artist of the Month

Chaffee’s Artist of the Month

“Sometimes ideas pop into my head fully formed,” Jen Rondinone says. “That image will be there and I just have to bring it to life. The creation of it can be a very long process but the actual concept is very quick.” Her work is…

Chaffee’s Artist of the Month

Chaffee’s Artist of the Month

Artist Ann McFarren

The first thing you see when you walk in Ann McFarren’s living room is a giant, stunning painting of an idyllic Vermont winter scene. Every inch is covered in snow, but it radiates warmth.

“I’m an oil painter first and foremost,” she said. “That’s my first love.”

This year marks McFarren’s 50th as an artist, (“after the first time I tried it I was hooked”) a hobby she took up at age 33 that turned into a prolific career. Her work currently hangs in Washington D.C. at the Department of Agriculture, among many other places, and she’s this month’s featured artist.

A mother, grandmother, and Vermont native, she does about twelve art shows throughout New England in a given year, and teaches classes both from her home studio and at the Chaffee’s Sip and Dip.

“It’s exciting to watch a painting come to life,” McFarren told me the first time we met, several years ago. “I usually build a story in my mind to portray whatever it is I’m feeling, so people can transport themselves to that place or time.”

Her work seems to capture not just the physical aspects of a subject, but its spirit. A field full of wildflowers, barns and silos on picturesque roads, and sweeping valleys with mountain vistas are part of her incredible collection, which includes several diptychs – two individual paintings hung side by side which match at the seam to look like one big painting. One in particular depicts Wheelerville Road and Mendon Brook in the summer.

Painting of Bailey Island, Maine by Ann Mc Farren

McFarren grew up in Fair Haven and went to Green Mountain College, met her husband while she was working at the candy counter at the old Woolworth’s on Merchants Row, got married and moved to Rutland. Her career has taken her to art shows all over the northeast. “Painting has been my passion, truly,” she said. “It’s a huge part of my life. I’m slowing down but I’ll probably still continue to teach as long as I can. It’s been a journey and I’ve loved every minute of it.”

Aside from some lessons she took one winter from Robert Frick, she has no formal training. She uses the downstairs five rooms of her house in Rutland for her business, a gallery, studio, and classrooms, where she teaches and paints.

She’s had several exhibits at the Chaffee since she started painting in 1969 and still has her very first painting. You can currently see some of her work on display at the Chaffee, open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from Noon to 5 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; For more information call  802-775-0356, email [email protected], or stop in at 16 South Main Street.

Chaffee’s Artist of the Month

Chaffee’s Artist of the Month

It’s not unusual to find Jack Metzger in unusual places. Warehouses and jam-packed barns; attics, cellars, and salvage yards – like the old saying one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, Jack’s unique artwork embraces the discarded, the uncommon, the random. “Items, broken, lost and…