Brienne M Brown
Much to her mother’s indignation, Brienne owned little clothing that was not covered in paint. From a very young age, Brienne showed talent in art and music, but wanted to pursue a career in the sciences. She started her education at the University of Utah as a double major (Art and Chemistry), eventually receiving a BS in Chemistry and finishing with a Master’s degree in 2004. After graduation, Brienne worked in a Toxicology lab. Though she painted some by taking an occasional class, as the years wore on, she realized she wanted more art in her life than a career in science would allow. She was surprised and delighted to find great fulfillment in painting. In fact, it became a necessity.
After leaving her job as a toxicologist to raise her first child in 2008, Brienne had the opportunity to paint more consistently. Prioritizing painting and taking workshops from artists she admired paid off. Soon she was not only exhibiting and entering shows regularly, but also winning awards. Brienne holds signature membership status for the National Watercolor Society, Western Federation of Watercolor Societies, Pennsylvania Watercolor Society, and Utah Watercolor Society. Since 2015, Brienne has been an invited faculty member at the annual Plein Air Convention. Also, every year, she participates is several national juried plein air events and teaches workshops all over the country. Her work has been published in Splash 17 Best of Watercolor: Inspired Subjects, PleinAir Magazine, Southwest Art Magazine, and Watercolor Artist Magazine.
Brienne’s passion is watercolor and plein air painting. She has won several top awards in many plein air competitions. “I find beauty in everyday life, the so called ‘mundane’. Ordinary people going about their everyday lives inspire me. I especially enjoy painting en plein air, where each painting reminds me of where I was, of the experiences I had, the sounds, smells, and the people I met. As I try and capture the essence of a scene, my paintings are always more about a moment in time than about a particular location. I enjoy sharing how I see the world.”
Benjamin Fehl: Artist and Architect
Master of Fine Arts, 2011
Master of Architecture, 2006
Bachelor of Architecture, 1996
During my childhood, my family moved frequently. As an adult, I continued this lifestyle—traveling to new horizons and focusing my artwork on exploring cities, towns and suburbs where population and lifestyles varied greatly, such as Center City Philadelphia, cities and towns in the Czech Republic, mountaintops in Nicaragua, and a rural Pennsylvania community. While living in the town of Milesburg, PA, I narrowed my focus to just one house. This process eventually led me to graduate school in the arts and to this project.
I bought the house at auction intending to restore it. As I removed layers of wallpaper, the house started to lose its internal support and began to lean—eventually taking on enough of a tilt to earn the moniker “The Crooked House.” It only took me 6 weeks of work to realize that it just couldn’t be salvaged. I didn’t want to bulldoze this piece of Milesburg history—the house was built for Abigail Miles, niece of the town founder—but I couldn’t save it as a house. After much worrying, dreaming, and drawing, the idea to preserve the façade in concrete was born. That idea has grown to include donating property to create Homecoming Park and salvaging a stone fireplace that was hidden in the walls.
The Crooked House, approaches this study of places from a new perspective for me; one of engaging the viewer to question what is at the essence of the idea of home, involving the community in the creation process, and utilizing my background in architecture to develop a new type of community space. Inspired by the twin desires to create art and to create for the town that has been my home base for a decade, The Crooked House became a community project. It is a project for everyone, for those with a more nomadic upbringing, such as myself, and those with a more localized family history, such as my neighbors who are relatives of the original town founders.
I started on this journey back in 2006 as an artist with an idea—over the years I’ve had the good fortune of gathering a team of volunteers and community supporters, known as Friends of The Crooked House. These friends have joined me in 1,000s of hours of work—dismantling the house, preserving the façade, repointing a 160 year-old fireplace and excavating the foundation. They’ve donated their expertise, hard work, money, materials, and equipment to bring The Crooked House to this point. Together, we are creating public art that takes the home out of the context of being a house and allows the viewer to experience the remains of this historic house as a form of art, rather than as its architectural function. Together, we are creating Milesburg’s inaugural piece of community art.
For more information visit our website thecrookedhouse.net or contact us at email@example.com
Susan Nicholas Gephart
Influenced by her artist father, Susan Nicholas Gephart developed a deep appreciation of the earth and its relationship to art when she was a young child. Her passion to explore the landscape is expressed through a unique use of color, texture, and atmosphere, capturing the emotion of a moment with spontaneity and directness. Susan graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pennsylvania State University in 1979, and an Associate in Arts from Montgomery County Community College in 1977. She has been exhibiting and painting award-winning landscapes for over forty years. Her colorful, impressionistic plein air pastels and oils are in private and permanent collections across the country. Susan is an associate member of the Pastel Society of America, and president of the Central Pennsylvania Pastel Society. She also co-founded the Plein Air Painters of Central Pennsylvania.
She has been instructing pastels since the mid 80’s, and organizing the Hameau Farm Studio Artist Retreats for all levels and mediums. All of Susan’s workshops are supported by top national art supply companies, allowing her students to sample a variety of fine art products. Her workshops are advertised in Pastel Journal and PleinAir Magazine, and her art is advertised in Fine Art Connoisseur, and has been Plein Air Convention faculty since 2015.
In July 2018, Susan led the first Sennelier-sponsored Brittany Skies & Seas workshop. Pierre-Yann Guidetti hosted the artist retreat at his family home in Kerrema, Brittany, France.
Visit Susan’s website: www.SNicholasArt.com
Mary Vollero, local artist and art professor at Penn State has turned her studio (once a church) into a home art gallery. “Mary’s Pink Church,” exhibits a variety of artists, including Harriet M. Rosenberg and Rick Avery, and hosts musical performances.
Art Instructor at Penn State University, DuBois.
Living in Unionville, Centre County PA
Pink church sales: