Homage to Indiana county
34 years ago my twin brother Don and I enrolled at Indiana University of
Pennsylvania, majoring in art education. Having grown up in Loretto in nearby Cambria County, we planned to become art teachers, like one who had inspired us in high school. We graduated with “twin” degrees in 1980. After a few career twists and turns, Don became a graphic designer in San Francisco, and I, a painter in Pittsburgh. We both credit the faculty at IUP with fostering much of our success.
The Homage to Indiana County mural project took me ten months to complete;
from Seward to Smicksburg, Strongstown to Shelocta, from Saltsburg to
Smithport and everywhere in between, the goal was to visually record the region through my eyes as a painter. I wasn’t just painting scenery; I was experiencing the people and places of a region. This was the most interesting part of this project for me, a part that goes beyond simply putting paint to a panel. What I have to show from ten months of exploring are 80 oil paintings and 15,000 extra miles on my odometer – a travelogue of many places in all seasons and all weather. I really didn’t have an itinerary. Most of the time, I just traveled with an open heart and eyes, looking for something that called out to be painted. That was when my easel was pulled from the back of my truck. Almost all of these paintings were done on the spot, in“plein air.”
Everyone I met in Indiana County was friendly. I was invited in for coffee and told about places folks considered special. It was an honor and a learning experience. Each and every painting tells a story. Maybe that is why I love being a painter? I’m capturing more than just a visual image. I’m capturing a moment in time that will never happen again. Some of those moments were made memorable by chance meetings with total strangers, while others were kissed by the light and time of that particular day.