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"Pansies, Glove and Trowel" reflects the time Jennie Kirkpatrick spent gardening with her late grandmother and mother

If You Go

* What: "A Few of My Favorite Things" exhibition by Jennie Kirkpatrick.
* Where: In-Town Gallery, 26-A Frazier Ave.
* When: 5-8 p.m. Friday, March 6; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 1-5 p.m. Sundays through March 31
* Admission: Free.
* Information: 267-9214 or intowngallery.com

Jennie Kirkpatrick believes still-life paintings pose a puzzle for viewers: Why did the artist choose those particular objects? Was it for color? Contrast of shapes?

"For me, it's the shapes, colors and objects themselves, the memories they bring," says the artist.

A member of In-Town Gallery on the North Shore, Kirkpatrick's work will be featured in an exhibit opening this week that includes 10 still-life paintings that are snapshots of her life. "A Few of My Favorite Things" opens with a reception Friday night at the gallery, then the show will continue through the end of March.

Half of her collection is done in acrylic on canvas, three are silverpoint and the others oils. Kirkpatrick has tried her hand at watercolor, acrylics, murals, printmaking and faux wall treatments over a four-decade career. She's taught art; she's been the student.

Her work has drawn inspiration from the foreign locales -- Japan, Tunisia -- where her Naval officer husband's career took the family; she's been influenced by her childhood in the South.

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"Frog Protection" captures the grace of stems bowing from the weight of peonies.

She humorously describes herself as a "slow painter," which makes acrylics her medium of choice because "I can recover from mistakes in acrylic and it gives me more meditative time to refine the look I am going for."

Her "Favorite Things" paintings pair a variety of treasured objects with floral arrangements -- the latter a silent tribute to time enjoyed with her late paternal grandmother and late mother in their gardens.

"Through the years of moving around, living different places and inheriting things from Grandmother and Mother, I have a lot of items that either have an emotional attachment or I just like the looks of them," she says. "They remind me of places.

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"Turkish Coffee" is part of a series of coffee cups on small canvases that evoke memories of the artist's travel to exotic locales.

"I love pattern and color and fabric, so I've collected a lot of tablecloths from my travels," she says, so in the exhibition "I've combined the fabrics and colors with pieces that are treasured."

"Pansies, Glove and Trowel" depicts implements that reveal the labor involved in gardening and its rewards, she says. In the work, a pair of work gloves and trowel lay beside a flat of vivid yellow and purple pansies, as though the gardener has stopped for a drink and will return shortly.

"Picking Grandmother Lucy's colorful pansies was a job I took very seriously as a child and, in adulthood, would not miss a fall planting," the artist says.

Kirkpatrick's floral work also captures the natural grace of flowers.

"'In late spring, peonies bloom profusely with elegance and dignity. Their full and heavy blooms overwhelm the delicate stems, which bend gracefully under the weight. These flowers and others are paired with objects to create a moment in time or a complete story for the personal interpretation of the viewer."

She hopes viewers enjoy the color in the objects she's collected, and perhaps that will inspire them "to look at their own inherited pieces in a new way. Or they can take their own things and use them in ways they haven't thought of."

Contact Susan Pierce at spierce@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6284.

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