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College will benefit from former professor's art

November 19, 2006|by CANDICE BOSELY

HAGERSTOWN - It's been about seven decades, but Marjorie Peacher said she still is a New Englander.

Even before finding out it depicted a scene in Nantucket, Mass., Peacher was drawn to and bought a painting Saturday by Hagerstown artist Ben Jones.

"It reminds me of (New England)," Peacher said of the painting of a beach and a lighthouse, titled "Brant Point Lighthouse."

Peacher bought the painting as a Christmas gift for her daughter.

Sixty of Jones' paintings were on display Saturday in the lobby of the Kepler Theater at Hagerstown Community College. Proceeds from the sales of paintings, as well as notecards and a painting to be raffled, benefit the college's foundation, which is used to fund scholarships and campus projects, including a renovation of the Career Programs building, HCC Foundation Executive Director Lieba Cohen said.

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Taking a break from mingling with guests, Jones discussed his work and his connection to HCC.

A full-time artist since 1979, Jones, who has lived in Hagerstown for 40 years, taught a course at HCC in cultural history for 24 years.

His children attended the school, and his wife and son-in-law are involved with the foundation, Jones said.

"I think it's a great institution," he said.

For his art, Jones, 70, said he finds inspiration in the everyday.

"I think that what art does - any art, from music, literature, painting - is to redirect our attention," he said.

Of his work, Jones said, "It's to show things, simple and everyday things, in a new way so they can maybe be seen in a new way. The underlying theme is beauty in the ordinary."

Jones' paintings depict animals, people, flowers and ocean-related scenes, among others.

More than half of the paintings on display had been sold, which Jones said is his goal as a working artist.

"I don't have any illusions about this being great art. I've taught great art," he said. "This is just making a living."

If not great art, Jones said he hopes those who buy his paintings take something else home.

"They're taking home my impression, my version of a piece of everyday life, whether it's a flower that has been captured in a frozen moment, or whether it's a barn somewhere in this county, or something from New England, where I worked most of these years," Jones said.

Jones said that before he picks up a brush, he envisions how a painting will look once finished. He said his goal is to paint a painting that would reach a 10 on a scale of one to 10.

So far, Jones said, he has not met that goal. But he finds joy before making his final brush stroke.

"It's the creation of the thing, not the thing itself," Jones said.

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