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Old photos with artful twist - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Old photos with artful twist

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JOHNSON, Vt. -

There's just something about old photos that inspires Jen Burton. "People's memories and bringing them back to life in a certain way," Burton said.

The photos are a jumping off point for her art business -- Jenonia.  In her Johnson home, she paints the people captured on film, but changes the setting they're in, adding details like leaves, designs -- even unexpected animals. "I reference old photographs and there's some realism in them but a lot of imagination also," She said.

Burton has no formal art training, and not a lot of rhyme or reason to why she paints what she paints.  Her paintings have been used on everything from book covers to Starbucks cups.  It's not about replicating the picture perfectly, Burton says it's just about what feels right.  "I don't have some big idea when I start out. There's something about them that I like and I try to bring that into the painting and figure out where they should be," She said.

She's sold countless pieces since she started 13 years ago, but not enough to quit her day job as a school librarian. She first started using tin type photos, but grew away from them because the people were so stiff. She now uses an ever-growing collection of photos from the turn of the 20th century to the 1970s. "I ask myself why I'm so drawn to them and I never come up with a good answer," Burton said.

Reflecting on a simpler time and making it new again with artwork that's Made in Vermont.

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