DuBOIS — She has been pursuing an art career for more than 40 years, and it is now time for Bellefonte professional landscape artist and instructor Susan Nicholas Gephart to spread her wings.
“I am 61 years old and doing the dream that I always wanted to do,” Nicholas said. “I was able to paint and teach while I raised my family, but now I’m doing that full time.”
Nicholas will be the special guest artist at Saturday’s Winkler Gallery and Art Education Center’s 15th Anniversary Holiday Reception in DuBois.
“Perry Winkler had spoken to me this summer about the reception and we have a past art background in hanging shows,” said Nicholas. “I know him from when I used to hang shows at the Gamble Mill Gallery for the Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association. And I met him then at another show just in this summer so this has been in the works.”
While displaying her work for the upcoming reception, Nicholas said it was her first time to see the gallery.
“It’s amazing. I’m happily, pleasantly surprised. It’s just really prestigious,” said Nicholas.
Primarily a lanscape painter, Nicholas said she also enjoys teaching.
“I work in oils and pastels as my primary medium. I teach art in all mediums. I am a product demonstrator for about six different national art supply companies,” she said. “So, I have the comprehension and understanding of more mediums, but I primarily really love focusing on pastels and oils.”
Approximately 20 of her pieces will be featured in the upcoming reception.
“My area of expertise is painting outdoors as well,” she said. “Much of what I do has been created on location. There’s a couple of larger pieces that were studio pieces and they were inspired by painting outdoors but brought into the studio for a larger scale.”
Influenced by her artist father, Nicholas said she developed a deep appreciation of the earth and its relationship to art when she was a young child.
“When I built my website under SNicholasart, it was in honor of my father’s dream to be an artist and then later on in his life when he started painting, he was so skilled that we had many father and daughter shows together. You have to have a reason for being and I think him being my inspiration, we inspired each other.”
A resident of Bellefonte for more than 30 years, Nicholas said the home in which she lives is a 1902 old, red brick.
“I have the entire house now that my three children have moved on to their own special parts of life,” said Nicholas. “It’s a studio, so the whole house is a studio. The first floor is my oil studio and then the gallery through the house, and then on the third floor, there is a pastel studio.”
“It’s pretty exciting,” she said.
She just taught a class in Kerrema, Brittany, France this past summer.
“I’ve been traveling quite a lot to do that. This will be my fourth year as faculty at the Plein Air Convention to be held in San Francisco, CA, in April. They’re calling that the Woodstock of outdoor painting. So, it’s a huge gathering of artists,” Nicholas said. “I have my year all planned out. And I hope to come back here maybe, see what else I can do.”
Nicholas is a 1979 Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate of the Pennsylvania State University, and a 1977 Associate in Arts graduate from Montgomery County Community College. In 2007, she was inducted into the MCCC Alumni Hall of Fame, and then selected as one of 50 Outstanding Alumni in 2014. She has been exhibiting and painting award-winning landscapes for more than 40 years.
Her colorful, impressionistic plein air pastels and oils are in private and permanent collections across the country, including the Penn Stater Conference Center, Lock Haven University and the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art.
For more information, visit her website at www.SNicholasArt.com.