I’ve been given the honor of a retrospective show at Foxburg’s ARCA RED BRICK GALLERY, curated by Jason Lewis. The show will be open on weekends through September 24th.
As both an artist and a teacher for over 50+ years, it was important to me that the work of former students be included in my show. Most of my earliest students were university undergraduates during my tenure as a professor at the then-Clarion University of Pennsylvania.
However, when I married Jae Brown and moved to Emlenton, I experienced the pleasure of instructing neighbors and friends from our community. My very first classes in Emlenton were made up of Patricia Russell, Barbara McElhattan, Sherry Dreher, and Mary Brosnahan - whom I called THE PAINTING LADIES.
For nearly eight years, we met in the Emlenton Presbyterian Church twice a week and the brushes flew... Both Barb and Mary preferred to work from images that had inspired them. Mary had a love of lighthouses and painted an amazing variety of them; and Barb often tackled allegorical subjects — one of which, memorably, featured a small urchin girl timidly knocking at a mansion’s door. Barb generously donated that oil painting to an early Allegheny RiverStone Center for the Arts (ARCA) auction where the winning bidder was Patricia Steffee.
During this same time, both Sherry and Patty painted more intensively, and we often had private lessons, and in the case of the Russell Family, we tackled community/family projects, too. Notable was Patty’s powerful altarpiece of CHRIST at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on Kerr Avenue and Hill Street in Emlenton Borough, on which we labored for many months.
And Sherry, who at first favored wonderfully romantic scenes, soon began to produce tender, and hauntingly beautiful images of her growing brood of beloved grandchildren through which paintings her grandmother’s love so radiantly blazes!
Up until the pandemic I spent several enjoyable years instructing Vivian Irwin who produced many fine paintings and portraits, and most notably a masterpiece rendition of St. John’s Lutheran Church. Vivian, over the years, also spoiled us outrageously with her much coveted annual presentation of beautifully decorated Christmas cookies and commemorative spoons.
During the pandemic everything closed down; but nearly a year ago, a friend of Jae’s who met her at Anita Allen’s now legendary ACV adult ceramics classes, Donna Yeager Kandor, became my most recent student. I had the pleasure -over a period of several months - of watching her create a memorable landscape of her beautiful home. Donna is an apt pupil, and we continue on. I’m looking forward to her next project —there is talk of watercolor.
How wonderful it has been for me to work with so many talented and creative neighbors! You’ll be able to see Sherry’s baby portrait of her now grown-up granddaughter Laken and Donna’s Landscape of her front yard at the show, and we are hoping to obtain a painting by my beloved friend, Patricia Russell to exhibit.
If only the gallery were large enough to show all of the beautiful works created by my hometown students over the years.
See the Red Brick ad for more details at: https://www.myprogressnews.com/post/red-brick-gallery