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Artist’s watercolors take their cue from nature

Ashfield watercolor artist Walter Cudnohufsky his wife, Susan Cudnohufsky, at a recent crafts fair held at Norton Hill Inn in Ashfield. His artwork is on display behind the couple.
LAURA RODLEY

Ashfield watercolor artist Walter Cudnohufsky his wife, Susan Cudnohufsky, at a recent crafts fair held at Norton Hill Inn in Ashfield. His artwork is on display behind the couple. LAURA RODLEY Purchase photo reprints »

Walter Cudohufsky’s paintings are steeped in the moods of the New England landscape, depicting old apple trees, birches, flowers and other pastoral vistas, including some inspired by the scenes at his farm in Ashfield, where he lives with his wife, Susan. His ultimate intent is to record what is unique in his rural surroundings, he says.

Watercolor artist, design instructor, landscape architect and founder of Conway School of Landscape Design, Walter Cudnohufsky will share his artistic journey during a free presentation at Worthington Historical Society tonight at 7. The event is sponsored by Arts Alive in the Hilltowns and the Worthington Historical Society, which is located at the corner of routes 143 and 112.

Cudnohufsky received his master’s degree at Harvard Graduate School of Design, and has had group shows and solo exhibitions at Northampton Center for the Arts, the Salmon Falls Artisans Showroom in Shelburne Falls, the Lenox Gallery of Fine Art in Lenox and other locations.

He will talk about what he has learned studying nature’s colors, using an interactive teaching style that will include a discussion on what makes paintings successful, sharpening the artist’s eye, and creating a painting strategy.

While serendipity is always possible and desired, most, if not all, compelling paintings are a result of planning, he says.

The real wonder of watercolor occurs when you pair structure and planning, he noted, speaking recently at his home.

“When you lead mentally with structure and planning, surprises happen. A willingness to embrace serendipity makes for a nice balance of watercolor. Water does funny things to your painting,” he said.

Following a few simple rules also improves paintings, he said.

“The tendency with humans is to work too conceptually, to be too simple, not have enough value,” he said, referring to the variations and hues that one color offers. “If you don’t think about it, and tend to have only one value, it’s boring,” he said. Nature has many values, more than one shade of green, for instance. Following nature’s cue creates a luminosity that brings paintings to life, he said.

He will give short demonstrations and show a video about teaching and learning about watercolor. The event is free; donations appreciated. For information, visit the artist’s website, www.cudnohufsky.com.

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Dance performance

Since autumn, the Dolphin Dancers, 10 children from the towns of Cummington, Plainfield, Windsor and Chesterfield, have been having fun learning dance with their teacher, Cummington resident Maureen Shea, during her “grasshoppa dance” classes at the Cummington Community House.

“They have learned the joys of movement, definitely alignment, building dance skills, learning choreography, and performing that for an audience,” said Shea. For the last year, the troupe, whose members range in age from 6 to 11, has performed regularly for senior residences such as Rockridge Retirement Community in Northampton, on St. Patrick’s Day, and later in May at Craneville Place in Dalton.

The troupe will perform today at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Cummington Community House at 33 Main St.

The second annual Dolphin Dancers Show will include a solo performance, “The Eye of the Beholder,” by student Louisa Kimball, 11, of Windsor.

Anastasia Blaisdell of Cummington and Heather Cupo of Windsor, dancers in O’Shea’s adult class, the Hilltown Ladies, will join the Dolphin Dancers in a performance of “The Generations,” about family and the cycle of generations. Four members of the Dance Generators, an intergenerational dance group from Northampton, will also make a guest appearance.

The event is free, although donations will be accepted to offset dance class costs for children of families in need. For information, visit grasshoppadance.org or call 634-5431.

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Rabies clinic

Plainfield will host a rabies clinic at Hathaway Hall, 315 Main St., on April 6 from 10 a.m. to noon. Half of the clinic’s proceeds will go toward purchasing new items for the town’s Shaw Memorial Library. Shots will cost $12 each; only cash will be accepted. One-year and three-year vaccination shots will be administered. While the one-year shots will be administered without valid proof of last rabies vaccination, three-year shots will only be given with proof of a current rabies vaccination, with the last rabies certificate required.

All dogs must be on leashes, and all cats in carriers. Dogs that can be aggressive should be muzzled or left in the car, receiving the shot there. For more information, call Plainfield Animal Control Officer Kyle Meservey at 336-0228.

Laura Rodley can be reached at lrodley.gazette@gmail.com.

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