JOHNSTOWN, Pennsylvania – This colorful collection of divinely inspired artwork captures the beauty of the world.
“God’s Glory, God Inspired,” an exhibition by Johnstown resident Rebecca Pender, is on view through July 1 at the Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center Gallery at the Community Arts Center of Cambria County, 1217 Menoher Blvd., Westmont.
Angela R. Godin, executive director of the arts center, said Pender is an incredible artist whose abilities and skills are diverse and captivating, yet resourceful.
“I saw his work and thought it was so interesting because it was very different,” she said.
“It’s unique in a very special way because of the mixed media and the abstract look. Its use of reuse and recovery is something that requires an advanced artistic eye.
The exhibit features over 100 pieces of Pender’s mixed-media acrylic paintings.
“His work is full of bright colors and lots of visually pleasing things to look at,” Godin said.
“No matter who looks at his pieces, they’re going to get something different out of them. There may be a message or inspiration from the artist, but it’s up to each viewer to capture the essence of what they think they’ll get out of it.
Pender said her artistic evolution had been lifelong, but it wasn’t until 2016 that she felt God was nudging her to start painting.
“Abstract painting seemed to be winning for me, even though I had never painted in this style before,” she said.
Pender said she went to study with abstract artist Nancy Reyner in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and spent four days learning one-on-one in Reyner’s studio.
“It became my starting point for the world of abstract painting,” she said.
“I was particularly drawn to abstract painting for its freedom. I didn’t have to plan ahead or sketch out what the work would be on the canvas. Instead, I could use my sense color, texture and composition in any way I felt without answering what it was supposed to look like.
Pender said his business card reads, “God paints pictures. I just hold the brush.
“I rarely approach a new canvas with an idea,” she said.
“I like to find the color, shape and movement that speaks to me when I start a canvas.
“Sometimes my compositions take the form of flowers, landscapes or even people.
“The web and God dictate, not me.”
Pender said that in abstract painting she can suggest a feeling, an event, landscapes and flowers and allow the viewer to translate the work in their own way.
“I feel there is a lot more interaction between the viewer and the painting with abstraction,” she said.
Pender said she enjoys watching instructional videos and then experimenting on her own.
“A lot of my techniques developed through mistakes,” she said.
“One such example is the painting ‘Rented Veil’, which is a mixed media work combining surgical gauze, tissue paper, wrapping paper and many techniques.”
Pender said she applied transparent red iron oxide to the gauze, and instead of a controlled flow, it squirted out of the bottle and created a bloodbath on the canvas.
“Running out of anything else I could do, I grabbed a spray bottle of water and started washing the surface,” Pender said.
“Once the initial panic passed, the painting started to look quite nice. Instead of giving up on the job, I persevered, and this painting won several awards.
Godin said each piece in the exhibit has sentimental value to Pender and that translates to the viewer.
“I hope people will feel uplifted because the colors are so passionately brilliant that it’s something that really captivates anyone,” she said.
“Even if you’re having a good day or a bad day, every time you walk in and see the beauty and vibrancy, you can really appreciate the vibe you get from his work.”
A video tour of the artwork is available on the arts center’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/cacccarts and on its Facebook page.
Additionally, Pender will present a Facebook Live artist talk at 1 p.m. Saturday, followed by a Q&A. The presentation will also be available later on the art center‘s YouTube channel.
Along with the exhibition, Pender will be offering mixed media workshops from 12pm to 2pm on June 18 and 25.
Participants will explore the use of multiple acrylic media without focusing on one outcome.
During the first lesson, only media and papers will be used.
Painting will be introduced during the second lesson.
This course is best suited for beginners who are afraid of making a mistake or approaching abstract art for the first time, rather than artists who have been creating abstracts for a while.
“She will use her skills and mediums to give people the opportunity to show their creativity and express themselves through color,” Godin said.
“It gives people a much deeper connection to the art and to the artist.”
The cost is $30 for members and $35 for non-members.
Scholarships are available to attend the workshop at half price or free of charge. Interested persons can apply at www.caccc.org/exhibits.
Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
There is no charge to attend the exhibition.
For more information, call 814-255-6515 or visit www.caccc.org.