Central Pennsylvania’s rolling rural countryside will now be able to fit comfortably on a coffee table.
The Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County has used its first foray into publishing to release a book of 28 landscape paintings appropriately titled “Landscapes of Central Pennsylvania.”
Featuring work from 15 different artists, the book was conceived by Executive Director Patricia House as a way to promote artists and raise funds for the museum.
Recently, House spoke about the work that went into organizing the book and the challenges of capturing the spirit of central Pennsylvania.
Q: When looking at possible fundraisers for the Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County, what made the idea of a book the most compelling?
A: The idea of creating a book of landscape paintings came first. We have many, many accomplished artists on the registry and we felt it was a good way to promote our artists and also get the word out about our remarkably beautiful region. The fundraising came when we discussed how to finance the publication. We found a founder who also publishes art books and he agreed to underwrite the book, and so we have a fundraiser. Our supporter knows the importance of art museums, including community-oriented art centers, and likes what we are doing.
Q: Do you view this as an opportunity to engage with people outside the walls of the museum?
A: Absolutely — that is one reason our first book is a collection of local landscapes — we think it will attract folks outside our museum family and help promote tourism to Centre County.
Q: The book includes 28 landscape paintings by 15 different artists. Was this work commissioned specifically for the book or selected from pre-existing pieces?
A: Some works were pre-existing and a few new for the book. Many were works we had shown at the museum and pieces we thought warranted more attention.
Q: What was the selection process for artists like? Was there a specific aesthetic or criteria that you were looking to capture?
A: We were looking for landscape works that illustrated a variety of local places; farms, natural beauty, streams, hillsides and sky. We have a number of artists who work in plein air and the light and color of this technique brings out the natural beauty.
Q: In putting the book together did you find the theme of central Pennsylvania landscapes limiting or was there a lot of diversity in the ways that your different artists viewed the same area?
A: Our book demonstrates both the wide variety of scenery in central Pennsylvania and the various ways the artists chose to compose what they saw. Artists chose different mediums to create their works so the book includes images of paintings that were done in watercolor, oil, acrylics, pastels and mixed media. The medium that is used contributes to the uniqueness of a work of art, hence much more variety and impressions.
Q: What was the most challenging part of putting this book together?
A: Deadlines and reproducing the artworks.
Q: Do you think that the museum will be open to publishing more books in the future?
Q: What do you think that says about the role that individual perception plays in every work of art?
A: It is what art it is all about — the artist, the artwork and the viewer — every experience viewing art is done from many different frames of reference, so the experience is exponential!