When it comes to artist Susan Nicholas Gephart and her daughter, Kaitlyn Rae Gephart, the age-old debate surrounding nature versus nurture may just have to settle for a tie.
Over the weekend, the duo participated in the Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania’s Spring Colors Studio Tour, opening up the door to the house in Bellefonte where Susan has been creating for the past 30 years.
It also happens to be the same labyrinth of oils, pastels and watercolors where Kaitlyn and her two siblings were raised. Nature abhors a vacuum and the same must hold true for an empty nest.
In your home studios, you get to show your experiments and discoveries.
Susan Nicholas Gephart
With the kids out on their own, Susan’s paintings have trickled down from her third floor studio and flooded every room in the house — very convenient for when company comes calling.
“In your home studios, you get to show your experiments and discoveries,” Susan said.
The artist recently returned from a gig as an instructor with the sixth annual Plein Air Convention in San Diego, which at roster of nearly 900 painters, she billed as sort of the Woodstock of outdoor painting.
Susan’s credentials for the job were evident in the hundreds of paintings adorning the walls of the family home on Sunday, all of them concerned with some aspect of nature.
This summer, she’ll teach a course on outdoor painting to an assemblage of middle and high school-aged students at Millbrook Marsh Nature Center, nurturing the next generation of artists.
“It doesn’t have to be painting. We’re all creative in some way,” Susan said.
She was referring to Kaitlyn, who caught the art bug from her mother and grandfather. Her symptoms presented as sterling silver jewelry with nods to a musical motif.
It’s kind of expanding from here on out — hopefully.
Kaitlyn Rae Gephart
Kaitlyn is intimately aware of the ups and downs that accompany the life of any artist — and yet, here she is, arranging precious and semi-precious gemstones with handcrafted musical notes.
At about a 40-year disadvantage, Kaitlyn’s collection is smaller than her mother’s, but still growing.
“It’s kind of expanding from here on out — hopefully,” Kaitlyn said.
Trained as a graphic designer, Kaitlyn helps her mom create business cards and other advertising, taking inspiration from her strength and creativity.
“I think we’re very supportive,” Susan said.