Local artists display their Fall Colors

State College artist J. Harlan Ritchey will open up his studio to visitors.
State College artist J. Harlan Ritchey will open up his studio to visitors. Photo provided

Local artists will open up studios around Centre County on Oct. 17-18 for the 6th annual Art Alliance Fall Colors Studio Tour.

A preview show will also be held at the Art Alliance Art Center with samples of artists’ work and directions to all the locations on the tour. The tour — one of the Art Alliance’s community outreach projects — will feature more than a dozen artists who use a myriad of media and work in landscape, abstract, 2-D and 3-D, jewelry and more.

Visitors are able to see where and how the artists work, speak to them about their process and buy artwork directly from the artist. Galleries and museums, including The Bellefonte Art Museum, The Gallery Shop and The Potters Guild, are also part of the tour and give an opportunity to see multiple artists’ work all in one place.

For the first 37 years of his life, State College artist J. Harlan Ritchey was entirely self-taught. Since then, his training has consisted of the lessons he has taken from professional artists.

“I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember, so my interest must be instinctive,” he said. “My degree is in filmmaking and I drew a comic book for my thesis, so these influence my work, but only indirectly.”

Ritchey focuses on using both pen and brush to work with ink and watercolor. His work falls into three main categories: realistic landscapes of central Pennsylvania, still life that combines realism with strong sense of graphic design and pen-and-ink drawings of intricate but abstract subjects.

After a research career in agronomy, and working in administration as assistant dean of the Graduate School at Penn State, Barb Pennypacker, of State College, retired in 2005 and decided to pursue her desire to paint old barns in Centre County. She took classes in oil painting at the Art Alliance and joined the Farmland Preservation Artists of Central Pennsylvania, a group of artists that work to help preserve farms by donating a percentage of their sales to the Centre County Farmland Trust.

Pennypacker enjoys photographing scenes for paintings and finds a great inner peace when painting.

“I feel that a person looking at my paintings is seeing, through my eyes, the beauty of Centre County,” she said. “Perhaps my paintings will cause people to ‘see’ more of our beautiful landscapes. I look forward to showing people how I go about painting a picture, from the original sketch on linen, to the painting to framing the final painting.”

Pennypacker will have a painting of Bear Meadows Farm from the high pasture on Tussey Mountain looking across Penns Valley to the Nittany mountain range. The painting depicts early autumn and includes some grazing dairy cows. This painting will be displayed at the Art Alliance during the Studio Tour.

An instructor in art at Penn State DuBois and Continuing Education at University Park, Mary Vollero works in a variety of media from printmaking and painting to photography and video. She will have a variety of works on display, including paintings of Bellefonte and of her pets. Vollero will also demonstrate dry-point printmaking and hopes to generate interest in her upcoming printmaking workshops.

“I make art and show my work in an effort to better understand myself and my environment,” Vollero said. “Sharing my artwork provides an opportunity to connect with others and create community.”

Vollero recently moved her art studio to the Pink Art Church in Unionville and is rotating exhibits in her space. On display there are paintings by Jean Forsberg and unique yard sculptures by Kersey Bradley. For the studio tour weekend, additional work on display will include paintings and prints by Nancy Brassington, watercolors by Brienne Brown, prints by the late John Mangan, paper cuts and photographs by Harriet Rosenberg and sculptures and wood carvings by Mary Cady Rubinstein.