By Shelly Weeks
This past February, a friend of Nate (JRHS Class of ‘98) and Kira Reynolds visited the Sugar Shack with her young boys. Little did we know at the time, that this longtime friend of The Reynolds’ was also a gifted local artist! Nate and Kira had met the artist, Jonalyn Fincher, and her family in Steamboat Springs, CO. Both families met while attending the same church. Nate’s family still lives in Steamboat, but The Fincher Family followed God’s call to relocate to New Hampshire.
Nate often spoke about his time at JRHS–specifically the Sugar Shack and Timber Frame Project Classes. The Sugar Shack was one of the first post-and-beam buildings that Nate built, which is located on his family’s property not too far from our campus. When The Fincher Family moved to NH, he was very excited for them to eventually visit the Sugar Shack! Jonalyn was excited to show her boys the process of making maple syrup here in New England.
While she was there, Jonalyn took some photos of the famous JRHS Sugar Shack. Jonalyn said, “this is how all commissioned pieces begin. The original photo, some black and white studies, and lots of notes from our conversations.” She mentioned that it was actually The Reynolds’ idea to add some of the collecting buckets to the trees around the shack as they weren’t there at the time of her original photo, and to make the painting more realistic.
Jonalyn explained that a watercolor painting is much like a “chess match” where you have to think ahead. She said “it takes a tremendous amount of planning.” Watercolor is painted on white paper, unlike an oil-based painting that’s painted on canvas. The use of the white paper really “sparkles through” as Jonalyn explained. Except for the snow flakes which were splattered on at the end, everywhere else you see white was planned and painted around. Very impressive!
Jonalyn’s family resides in Exeter, NH where she’s opened a small studio in their home. She enjoys painting unique commissioned pieces. Jonalyn also offers professional framed prints on watercolor paper to all of her commissioners. She is also an author and has written several books. You can see samples of her work and learn more about this talented artist by visiting her online at https://jonalynfincher.com/.
We’d also like to thank Nate and Kira for surprising our school community with such wonderful and generous gifts of the Sugar Shack prints.