Starksboro artist creates tribute to family home

<p> BRISTOL &mdash; Cynthia Guild Kling, a Starksboro-based painter who was one of the first artists to become part of Art on Main, has painted landscapes all her life.</p><p> That covers a wide variety of landscapes, because Kling has lived in many places throughout her long life, including Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, New Mexico, Sweden and Kuwait.</p><p> Art on Main, the artists&rsquo; cooperative and gallery space in downtown Bristol, this Saturday will host Kling at a book signing. The centerpiece will be her most recent art project, &ldquo;The Farm,&rdquo; a book of memories of her parents&rsquo; farm on Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H.</p><p> &ldquo;It was a happy house, it was a gorgeous house,&rdquo; Kling said in a recent interview. &ldquo;It was just so full of life and love.&rdquo;</p><p> The<a href=""> illustrated book i</a>s a compilation of memories that Kling&rsquo;s younger sister, Marcia, collected and recorded for their children and grandchildren. Kling&rsquo;s detailed illustrations show the rooms, views, and people that color the family&rsquo;s memories of the historic house.</p><p> Built in 1793, the post-and-beam farmhouse was bought by Kling&rsquo;s parents in 1944 and carefully preserved to reflect its original architecture.</p><p> &ldquo;About the only thing my mother did was to &mdash; carefully &mdash; put in closet spaces,&rdquo; Kling said. But the house was sold in the late 1980s after Kling&rsquo;s mother died. When the house changed hands, the new owners made extreme changes in an effort to modernize the house, including installing a gymnasium in the screened porch area and letting trees on the property grow until they obscured the view of the lake.</p><p> &ldquo;It had changed so drastically that (Marcia and I) felt we had to do something for the grandchildren, to remember how it was,&rdquo; Kling said.</p><p> Last Christmas, the two sat down and decided to compile the book of memories. Nearly a year later, the book is printed and complete. Each page has written memories on the left and a beautiful illustration by Kling on the right.</p><p> Changing landscapes are both an influence and an inspiration for Kling, whose artist statement for Art on Main explains that for her, landscapes &ldquo;are a form of visual history.&rdquo;</p><p> &ldquo;Many of the places I have painted have changed,&rdquo; Kling wrote in her statement. &ldquo;Fields are &lsquo;developed,&rsquo; trees die and are cut down, buildings are lost or moved, roads are built or widened. My work tells the story of &lsquo;time when.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p> Kling never received formal training; while in college at Lyndon State College, she took an art course for a short time but was soon discouraged by the professor&rsquo;s attempts to streamline her painting style. Her only mentor in the arts was an illustrator with whom she took one-on-one lessons once a week. But art has always been part of her life.</p><p> &ldquo;I have always painted,&rdquo; she said simply.</p><p> She has also lived an incredibly adventurous life. After 27 years of marriage, she had what she laughingly refers to as her &ldquo;mid-life crisis,&rdquo; and moved to New Mexico for two years. She returned briefly to New England to &ldquo;straighten out&rdquo; her aging mother&rsquo;s affairs. Then she took off again &mdash; this time to Sweden, where she lived for six years and married a Swedish man.</p><p> In the late 1980s, with her mother&rsquo;s passing, she returned to the U.S. and spent a year packing up the farm at Lake Winnipesaukee. She happened upon an advertisement in the <em>Burlington Free Press </em>for a teaching position in Kuwait &mdash; and off she went. She taught there for two years, right up until the Iraqi invasion in 1991.</p><p> Upon her return to the U.S., she settled in Starksboro. She has been active in the Five Town Area arts community, and speaks gladly of settling in the area.</p><p> &ldquo;I&rsquo;m done (traveling),&rdquo; she said with a smile.</p><p> She is at work on another book of paintings and memories, of activities that her kids did during their childhoods.</p><p> &ldquo;My kids lived outdoors,&rdquo; she said, vividly recalling an activity involving spearing apples on sticks and lobbing them across fields, as well as using snow to paint smiley faces on trees in the winter.</p><p> <em>The book signing will take place at Art on Main this Sunday, Dec. 16, from 1 to 3 p.m.&nbsp;</em></p>

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