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Bright earth 

Paintings by Jay Pullman

A show of 18 luminous, unabashedly joyful paintings by Jay Pullman is on view at Lumiere Photo's Spectrum Gallery through Saturday, November 28. The lovely work depicts all four glorious seasons, and even the snowy scenes are cheerful enough to quell some of my dread of the impending winter.

The small paintings mostly portray the vivid breathtaking scenery of our region, with a few exceptions that include cardinals -- always a welcome flash of color midwinter -- and two paintings of children exalting in nature. In the aptly titled "Joy!" a young girl jumps into the air, which forms a subtle vortex around her youthful exuberance. "Working Together" shows two youngsters playing in a scene that most adults begrudgingly trudge through.

Sweeping scenes, such as "Winter Sunrise in the Southern Tier," in which the fiery orb paints the blanketing clouds and crystalline dunes alike, are often paired with literary meditations on the season. "What good is the warmth of summer without the cold to give it sweetness," is the John Steinbeck quote paired with this gem. That's a truth I recite to grumpy Northern-born friends (I was born in Florida, where there are two seasons: suffocating and hurricane) during the gloomy months. I'll take the contrast and the color that Western New York offers.

Pullman has a knack for capturing scenes that elicit a peaceful sigh from the viewer. In particular, I responded to the loveliness of the tree trunks and crisp sky reflected on the river, and the beckoning vessel in "Brandywine Boat"; and the the golden light spilling over lawns and suspended in a web of foliage between houses and trees in "Morning at the Lake." The scene is so familiar and energizing -- late-risers don't know the sweetness they're missing.

"Catskill Cascade" is another favorite, at once capturing the open space and secluded sensation of the forest. Here, the viewer beholds the blurring rush of falling water, its spray forever greening the banks of the calmer, murky water below. Tangles of fallen branches give way to the quiet of shadowy spaces, and you can almost catch the bird calls and a whiff of mossy earth while staring into the scene.

Other works praise seemingly miraculous nuances, like "Snow Pansies," where the rusts and crimsons glow brightly against a May snowfall and the shadowy bottom of the garden. "Cohocton River" seems like alchemy, capturing a bend of the vein of water, gilded by the golden hour.

Now based in Arkport, New York, Pullman grew up in Hornell with his brother Bill, who you may recognize from such Hollywood films as "Independence Day." After serving for many years as an English teacher at the high school and college levels, he gave in to his passion for painting.

Lumiere recently moved around the corner from its old location (next to Gallery r at 100 College Street). Tucked into the back of the same building, it's accessible through a rear entrance.

Most, if not all, of the exhibits I've caught at Spectrum Gallery have been photo shows, but framing manager Patrick Cain says they're branching out a bit now, and showing work by clients as well. And showcasing other kinds of artwork helps spotlight the different services Lumiere offers, which include scanning, printing prints, and framing.

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