Autumn usually entices area residents and visitors out to enjoy and appreciate the vibrant colors that central Pennsylvania has to offer. What better way to get out and take in this beautiful scenery than to go on a tour of the finest natural and artistic beauty in Centre County?
Visitors and art lovers alike will have an opportunity to meet the artists in their workspaces, learn different techniques while watching hands-on demonstrations, as well as shop for original artwork with the Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania’s Fall Colors Studio Tour. The event will feature a wide variety of mediums by more than 30 of the area’s finest artists, who have opened their studios for this self-guided tour. Mediums featured in the tour include drawings, paintings, pastels, watercolors and sculptures.
The tour will feature many well-known area artists including Alice Kelsey, of Warriors Mark; Susan Nicholas Gephart, of Bellefonte; Robert and Debra Placky, of State College; and Karl Leitzel at his studio at the Green Drake Gallery, in Millheim. The Mount Nittany Winery, also in Millheim, will feature artists Bob Baumbach, Mike Demi and sculptor Jim Bright.
Bright graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a B.S. in art education and an M.F.A. in sculpture. He works with traditional sculpture materials, including marble, bronze and local hardwoods, and he said that most of his works are the result of the subtractive processes of carving and modeling. His more recent sculptures will be featured on the tour and examine the human form and related organic subject matter.
“Art is a visual language,” Bright said. “It allows the expression of ideas that cannot be expressed verbally. Sculpture has the additional advantage (and burden) of existing in the three-dimensional world. I hope the viewers of my work will become more aware of and sensitive to the environment in which they live.”
Robert and Debra Placky will feature a painting demonstration and a collection of new photography of Acadia, Maine. Light refreshments and samples of photography and paintings will be featured at their studio in Park Forest.
Leitzel has done sign painting and worked at Penn State for 10 years doing digital art and Web design. He has no formal art training, but he has known since he was young that he wanted to focus on art as a career and has been doing that all his life.
“I paint in both oils and acrylics,” Leitzel said. “My subject matter ranges from landscapes to animals to people and portraits. My style is generally impressionistic or loose realism, occasionally moving toward abstract. I also play music and write, and these all express different facets of the same things painting expresses.”
The Green Drake Gallery is Leitzel’s home gallery as well as studio, and he will have many pieces on display both in the upstairs studio and in the main gallery.
“Most recently, I’ve been doing a lot of classic oil portraits and equine (horse) subjects, so I’ll have several of each on special display,” he said.
Lena Thynell, of Port Matilda, a native Swedish artist, will display her watercolor paintings. Thynell moved to the State College area two years ago and boasts a 30-plus-year career in Sweden as a registered nurse and nurse midwife.
“I was lucky to join the best art school in Sweden, Gerlesborg Art School,” Thynell said. “I participated in week-long classes during my vacations over several years. I simply fell in love with the pigments and the paper.”
In her studio, not far from Grays Woods, Thynell also will feature her own greeting cards, hand-knitted scarves, mittens and wrist-warmers.
“In my art, I try to express a feeling or a mood of the object more than an exact picture,” Thynell said. “I have kept my ‘Swedish palette’; and my paintings are sometimes described as subdued and soothing.”
The Art Alliance is a member-supported nonprofit organization that has promoted the arts in Centre County and beyond for 43 years. The community arts organization was formed by artists for artists, for art students and the community at large, providing a variety of art experiences for all ages.
“I believe that artists of all kinds are important to society in bringing to the forefront the deeper things in life,” Leitzel said. “We’ve been given a gift to notice and then express something about the beauty, the tragedies, and the big questions in life. Through our Green Drake Gallery and Arts Center, we try to give the people of our region many opportunities to experience and become involved with the arts.”
Tour stops include:• The Gallery Shop, 824 Pike St., Lemont; 867-0442, www.gallery-shop.com
• The Potters Guild, 818 Pike St., lower level, Lemont; 234-2740
• Jean Giddings, Joan Koester and Adrienne Waterston, Granary, 12 Mount Nittany Road, Lemont; 404-9142 (Jean Giddings), 933-9017, www.facebook.com/joankoesterart (Joan Koester); 308-8790, www.aquadesign.us/adriennewaterston.html (Adrienne Waterston)
• Sean Bodley, Mount Nittany Studio, 360 Mount Nittany Road, Lemont; 414-334-1799, www.seanbodley.com
• Mary Lee Kerr, 425 Bailey Lane, Boalsburg; www.kerrsculpture.com
• Harriet Rosenberg, 241 S. Academy St., Boalsburg; 466-7784, www.harrietmrosenberg.com
• Robert and Debra Placky, 202 Teaberry Circle, State College; 867-6607, robertplacky.carbonmade.com, www.archescapeimages.com
• Alice Kelsey, 637 Lovevill Road, Warriors Mark; 692-4438, www.alicekelsey.com
• Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County, 133 N. Allegheny St., Bellefonte; www.bellefontemuseum.org, 355-4280
• Susan Nicholas Gephart, 351 E. Bishop St., Bellefonte; 360-2116, www.snicholasart.com
• Jim Cartey, 180 Houser Road, Centre Hall; 466-6194
• Mary Cady-Rubinstein and Melissa Forkner, Rhoneymeade Sculpture Garden and Arboretum, 177 Rimmey Road, Old Fort; 717-667-6694 (Mary Cady-Rubinstein)
• Bob Baumbach, Mike Demi and Jim Bright, Mount Nittany Winery, 300 Houser Road, Centre Hall; 238-8153, sites.google.com/site/rbaumbachphoto (Bob Baumbach); 717-437-4098 (Mike Demi); 717-250-4966, www/jimbrightsculpture/com (Jim Bright)
• Diane Maurer, 137 Water St., Spring Mills; 422-8651, www.dianemaurer.com
• Karl Eric Leitzel, Green Drake Gallery, 101 W. Main St., Millheim; http://keleitzel.com, 422-8461