As a Swanzey man halted traffic to carry a snapping turtle out of the road, Molly Fletcher couldn’t help but gain artistic inspiration.

The “turtle man,” as Fletcher dubbed him, is one of four in a flannel-heavy installation of Fletcher’s portrait paintings.

She portrayed him against a bold-blue flannel background, grasping the turtle to his abdomen.

These are the people Molly Fletcher said she wants to emulate through her paintings.

Fletcher, 29, is a Keene State College alumnus. After graduating in 2007 with a degree in Studio Arts, she attended The University of Delaware to earn her masters in order to teach college.

Fletcher returned to KSC to do just that only three years after her own graduation. However, a stop in the middle helped form her personal artistic style.

Fletcher said she migrated further north than her hometown of Concord, N.H. to small Johnson, Vt. for a one-month residency in 2012.

“I was immersed in plaid,” Fletcher said, since one of the Vermont Flannel Company branches stretches up there.

She said she became interested in the characters behind the flannel. “I didn’t really care for the mid-Atlantic,” Fletcher explained, “I started noticing these rural characters.”

She said that the depiction of New England from other artists tended to be landscapes and covered bridges.

“I do see that,” Fletcher said, “I see the beauty in living up here, but I also see the humor.” That humor, Fletcher explained, can be cold at times. “Being up here includes having a dark sense of humor; very tongue-and-cheek.”

Brewbakers Cafe in downtown Keene is displaying Fletcher’s unique art for the second time.

Owners Jeff and Eliza Murphy invited Fletcher to show her paintings because of their New England style.

“Molly’s work is fun,” Jeff Murphy said, “Her art is unique and well-liked by our clientele. She’s a part of the community and we want that.”

Customers can look at Fletcher’s four portrait pieces over their cup of joe as well as a few other New England inspired scenes.

Kyle Bailey / Photo Editor

Kyle Bailey / Photo Editor

Three of the paintings are what Fletcher called edited paintings, which are other people’s works that she then added to.

Fletcher said she snagged one from a yard sale and another came from a friend’s antique shop.

One painting depicts the standard still-life subject: a bowl of fruit on a table.

“This one was actually the boring fruit bowl,” Fletcher said.

Next to the bowl of apples Fletcher added a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer can and a folded newspaper whose front page is exclaiming about the Boston Red Sox’s curse-breaking game, all of which is atop a red-plaid table cloth.

“Wherever the original artist signed, I usually write my name over it so it’s a collaborative thing between the two of us,” Fletcher said. KSC junior Alicia Berry noticed Fletcher’s quirky still-life while receiving her coffee at Brewbakers Cafe.

“The PBR caught my attention,” said Berry, “It’s a typical New England tabletop. It’s hilarious.”

Amelia Gallup, KSC junior, said she preferred a depiction of The Colonial Theatre, an original piece by Fletcher for the theater owner.

The theater’s banner displays “Coming Soon: Live Free Ah Die Wicked Hahd.”

“It was super New England,” Gallup said.

This year will be the fourth year Fletcher has taught as an adjunct, from semester to semester as opposed to yearly, at Keene State College.

She is also teaching preschool through eighth grade at St. Joseph’s Catholic School on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Fletcher said she enjoys the range of students, though it poses challenges.

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm from the really young kids, but then there’s so much more clean-up and so many more instructions to give,” Fletcher said.

She explained that when she teaches at a college level she works mostly with non-majors.

“The idea of teaching a skill and getting rid of this idea of talent is something that I try to bring up a lot,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher plans to stick around the area where her inspiration lies.

“I love New England,” Fletcher said, “No one’s going to bring a pie to your doorstep when you move into the neighborhood, but we’re also not going to leave you on the side of the road if you need to change a tire.”

 

Allie Baker can be contacted at abaker@keene-equinox.com

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