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State College Gallery to Host 'The Nature of Art'

by and on April 20, 2014 3:45 PM

Four Pennsylvania artists have combined their talents to portray "The Nature of Art" at the State College Framing Company and Gallery, 160 Rolling Ridge Drive in State College.

The four — Jill Cardell, Kathleen G. Chovit, Elizabeth Hay and Cheri Anderton-Yarnell — work in different mediums, but share a love of nature and its bounty.

Jill Cardell, a botanical artist from Bellefonte, has been painting for over 25 years, but recently graduated from the Society of Botanical Artists Program in London. Cardell traveled back and forth to London for two-and-a half-years to complete the studies at what is known as the premier botanical artist training facility in the world.

"My work there has affected my style, focus and motivation," says Cardell.

Her earlier work as a wall-covering designer and muralist honed skills that all come into play when she paints.

Cardell paints from real flowers, most of which she plucks from her own garden.

"I like to paint using a single flower usually," she says.

Her medium is watercolor on hot pressed watercolor paper.

In her news release Cardell explains, "I love to capture the detail of every petal, stamen, pistil, stem and leaf of every flower I paint. The sheer complexity and grace of each flower is such a gift to this world. My hope is that my paintings will inspire people to slow down and take note of the beauty around them."

Kathleen Chovit began as a figurative painter, but the beauty of the environment called to her. She has answered by capturing many of the scenes that she observed while hiking the fields and roads of Centre County. She paints fertile fields and dramatic skies in the State College area. Chovit lives near Bellefonte.

"I have painted since I was a child," says Chovit. "One of nine children, I was taken to a Carnegie program for children as long as it could be managed and it opened my mind to art. Art was encouraged, but so were other occupations and I have a degree in Marketing and an MBA in finance and marketing. My painting lessons have come through self-directed seminars."

Chovit's artist statement says, "I strive to move beyond typical representation. I use a painting knife to create thick, vigorous strokes of oil paint."

Much of Chovit's artwork leaves things for the viewer to finish and imagine. She says there is often only the suggestion of a corn stock or a tree in the strokes of her brush. For 17 years Chovit has sought to show people the beauty of nature in her landscapes.

Elizabeth Hay is an artisan jeweler. She lives in Bellefonte in a Victorian home built in 1891, which she and her husband have restored. As a master gardener with18 years experience, Hay has been inspired by her gardens.

Hay holds a degree in English from the University of Virginia. She worked for Saks Fifth Avenue and later held a tech writing position for several years. Needing an outlet for her artistic side, Hay began designing jewelry using her garden blossoms and leaves as models.

The medium she starts with is precious-metal clay, which molds like clay, but after firing, results in .999 fine silver.

"I make the roses piece by piece," Hay relates. "I don't use a mold."

She uses semi-precious stones and gems and the designs evolve as the colors and natural markings suggest images to her. For example, fall colors may lead to the addition of autumn leaves made of silver to set off the stone. Her designs are recognized and sought by women desiring handcrafted jewelry reflecting the joys of nature.

Recently her love of texture and color has led Hay to work in wool fibers.

"I actually start with long strands and layering three or four tiers. By using soapy water, the wool strands adhere and lock together into a strong wool fabric," she says.

The process is called "woving." These wool pieces can be used as table runners or in other ways.

Cheri Lee Anderton-Yarnell is a ceramic artist living in Franklin, Pa. With over 35 years of experience, Andertonn-Yarnell was a major force for the group of potters that worked out of Potters Mills for years. She has relocated to a blueberry farm to help look after elderly parents, but she is still active around the Centre County area. Her wheel-thrown porcelain and stoneware vessels incorporate botanical and animal elements. Some surface designs are created using vintage crocheted pieces.

In Anderton-Yarnell's artist statement, she says, "Clay has been a consuming passion throughout my life, beginning in the mud play of childhood. Today my work is both a reflection of my concern for our planet and fellow earthlings, as well as a celebration of earth and of my spiritual path."

At her home now, she hears frogs nightly in spring and summer. She weaves their images into her clay work in much the same way she utilized humpback whales 20 years ago.

"This year, I am presenting an "On the Edge" limited edition series which features imperiled and endangered species," Anderton-Yarnell says.

Her artist's statement includes the following: "For 35 years I have approached each work day with the same delight I find in the night sky and the sounds of frogs on my pond. From the playful to the more profound, I intend each vessel to evoke a sense of the beauty and peril of our world."

Gallery manager Jeffrey Muthersbaugh says the goal of the show is to offer a large array of high quality, nature-inspired art for collectors at all price levels. He invites the public to come and share in this artistic celebration of spring.

The show will run from May 2, through May 31. The Opening Reception will take place from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 2. The artists will be there to greet visitors and discuss their art.

For information contact Muthersbaugh at The State College Framing Company at (814) 234-7336.

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This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.


Connie Cousins covers Centre County for the Gazette.
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