Kutztown artist Jan Crooker brings color and light to Firefly Bookstore, Kutztown

Submitted Jan Crooker painting "Laundry Day" on display at Firefly Bookstore in Kutztown.

Firefly Bookstore will be showing a collection of landscape paintings by Kutztown artist Jan Crooker. Her works will be at the store through the month of March.

Crooker earned her MFA from Penn State and currently teaches drawing at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem.

While describing this series of paintings, Crooker said, My goal is to make joyful and visual work that is a record of the moment, and share it with others.

She enjoys local settings for her work.

These are paintings that I have done of the Kutztown and Fleetwood areas. Some are painted on site (in plein air) and others are painted in my studio.

Her work evokes strong memories of summer afternoons as the light changes and intensifies colors. Other pieces remind the viewer of bright crisp Autumn mornings with the colors filtered by trees beginning their turn, light jutting between buildings.

I have come to realize that I only want to paint in bright light. On an artistic level, that is because colors are more intense in a highly lit environment, but the reason is more personal than that.

Crooker describes how her painting was in part an emotional response to having family in danger.

I returned to painting after my son and his wife were stationed on the boarder of Kuwait and Iraq during the invasion of Iraq. After they returned, I decided to continue to paint, and I see my bright light as a symbol of the joy of life.

Her paintings have been exhibited numerous times over the last six years, including shows in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland. Last year she was featured in the Bright Memories show at Gallery at Jewish Community Center in Allentown, and took Third Place at the Alfresco Plein Air in Kutztown that same year.

In addition to her shows, Crooker has presented workshops and lectures for a number of schools and organizations. She has served as a Juror for other shows. She was elected to the Kutztown Borough council in 1995, and was Council President from 2004-2006.

The End of Show reception will be held at Firefly Bookstore from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 30. There will be light refreshments and Crooker will be in attendance to meet the public and discuss her work. This event is free and open to everyone. For more information please contact the store at 484-648-2712.

For more about Firefly Bookstore visit www.fireflybookstore.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/fireflybookstore, and at their blog at glimmeronthebookshelf.blogspot.com.