On the Hillside
32 x 32 in., oil on linen
Available through The State College Framing Co. & Gallery
Landscape Passages – Earth, Water, Sky
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.
On the Hillside was inspired by a fall day’s memory of exquisite golden light and the fleeting moment in time when all is aglow, and the air is sweet with the smell of leaves!
Creating a visual experience
It was important to express this visual and emotional experience with my rich oil paint colors applied by brush and palette knife. My goal was to create intrigue by pulling the viewer into the painting, past the golden tree, across the pasture, and to the hillside. There they would be enveloped by the sky’s atmosphere. It is symbolic to how we to continue searching for beauty even when we are in the presence of it.
Knowing that winters are long in Central PA, I wanted to capture the fall colors before all the leaves were gone. After finishing instructing at my Hameau Farm Studio Artist Retreat in the Big Valley of Belleville, PA, I chose to stay on overnight. I used the splendidly lit studio space to begin my 32 x 32 in. painting. I love working large on portrait linen. This exquisite, smooth surface is a joy to layer thick paint on with a palette knife. I took great pleasure mixing the colors and dancing back and forth to see the space and interact with the painting. It basically led me to use a brush to blend the atmosphere of the sky and the remaining 80% was done by my special palette knife.
Life of the Artist
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 and studio work in pastels and oils are in private and permanent collections internationally. Susan is an associate member of the Pastel Society of America, signature member and former president of the Central Pennsylvania Pastel Society, a founding member of the Central PA Farmland Preservation, and co-founder of the Plein Air Painters of Central Pennsylvania.
She has been instructing pastels since the mid ‘80s and organizing the Hameau Farm Studio Artist Retreats for all levels and mediums for 21 years. All of Susan’s workshops are supported by over a dozen national art supply companies, allowing her students to sample a variety of fine art products. Susan also has her own S.Nicholas Signature set of Jack Richeson Hand-Rolled Soft Pastels called “Earth, Water, Sky.” Her workshops are advertised in Pastel Journal and PleinAir Magazine, and her art is advertised in Fine Art Connoisseur. Susan Nicholas has been Plein Air Convention faculty since 2016.
In July 2018, Susan led the first Sennelier-sponsored Brittany Skies & Seas workshop. Pierre-Yann Guidetti hosted the artist retreat at his family heritage home in Kerrema, Brittany, France.
Susan’s home studio of 33 years is located in Victorian Bellefonte in a 1902 home. It includes three floors of galleries and two working studios.