My quilts reflect my feelings about my life experiences and my physical surroundings. Saturated color and contrasting value are at the heart of my style. The beauty and power of nature fascinates me and I work to capture images of it in my quilts.
I graduated from Penn State in 1972 with a Bachelors degree in Art Education and entered the business world upon graduation. I spent 25 years managing a restaurant and bar in State College (Village Inn/Billiards & Brew) and another 25 years in the S.C.A.S.D. as a para/cued speech interpreter (still employed).
State College has been my home for 60+ years. I was born in Lewistown, PA and married my high school sweetheart, Dannette (Shaffer) Owens. My daughter, Tara, and her husband, Billy Huber, live in Austin, TX with our two grandchildren, Landon (4rd grade) and Giselle (1st grade). My son, Matthew, is currently attending grad school at the University of South Carolina (the real USC!) working on a Masters in Licensed Clinical Social Work.
Why sunsets? In the summer of 1997, while taking a family vacation abroad, I decided to call home to my brother just to check in on things. The call was from a phone booth (way before cell phones!) on the busy streets of Paris. My brother had the misfortune of having to tell me that my mother had suddenly passed away a few days earlier. I was in shock! There were lots of tears and I didn’t know what to do. Should I leave my family and fly back to the USA somehow? My brother said that there was no need to do anything. There wouldn’t be a service until the fall when the whole family could get together. But I still felt helpless… useless… like I should have been there! A few hours after that call home, there was a beautiful sunset over the city of Paris. In my deep shock and despair, this sunset spoke to me. It was a message from my mother saying, “Everything is ok… I’m fine and you will be ok too.” Ever since then, when I see a beautiful sunset, I see a message from my mother!
Please visit my website at: www.facebook.com/centresunsets. Most of my sunset photos were taken here in the Centre Region. Since my daughter lives in Texas, there are some sunsets from that area, as well as a few other places across the USA. Most of the photographs can be ordered in smaller or larger sizes.
Abundance, fruitfulness, heritage – these words express my inspirations as an artist. I am drawn to the bounty of the earth and to the fruits of nature and of mankind’s mind and hands. I rejoice in the human heritage of work and thought and art.
Heritage, inherit, inherent — my goal is to capture the essence of being, the spirit or character of my subject; I believe that even inanimate objects have a true inner nature to which my art is a response. Surface appearance –the richness of light, color, and texture – is all I have to work with. My challenge as an artist is to use these outer characteristics to express the identity or spirit inherent in my subject.
This painting pictures a Jacob sheep, a heritage breed; the background is the traditional quilt design known as Jacob’s Ladder. Both sheep and quilt are “ringstraked, speckled, and spotted,” as were the flocks of the patriarch Jacob in the Old Testament account.
George LaVanish has illustrated stories and covers for many national and regional magazines, including “PA Game News” and “PA Angler.” He has designed stamps for state and national organizations. To date George has illustrated ten outdoor books.
He painted the PA Trout Unlimited Series which featured a Presidential Edition signed by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. In addition, George did the First Mid-Atlantic Audubon Society Print entitled “Autumn Blue.” He was the National Whitetails Unlimited “Artist of the Year” and has done paintings for The National Wildlife Federation. George painted the 1999 PA Trout Stamp featuring the PA Fish & Boat Commission’s railcar used in the late 1800’s for fish stocking. George is working on the PA Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s Print and Patch Series. This 5 year program will feature Pennsylvania’s elk herd. He also produces the PA Trout Stamp Program and the PA Game Fish Series.
His painting “Triple Trophy” commemorates a Pennsylvania award program, which ended in 1972. The painting includes a black bear, wild turkey and whitetail buck. The image is also included on collector stamps and patches.
Currently, George is painting the “Safari Club International Collection.” An on-going series of paintings and collector patches featuring wildlife from around the world. The first in the series “Cape Buffalo” is available as a limited edition of only 250 prints and limited to just 50 canvas giclees. Recently, George won the 2011 Delaware Duck Stamp Contest. His work was also exhibited at the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art. More than 60 original paintings and prints were on display.
I am a photographer of the uncommon and the everyday. Although plants, architectural details and textures are usually my focus, this cat sitting in the window of an abandoned building in the former leper colony on Molokai caught my eye. I like looking for the unusual details, the things that others miss. My photos are often taken as I travel around the country and the world.
I make copper, brass, and bronze jewelry using found objects including vintage watch parts, deconstructed costume jewelry, and new and vintage hardware. I make necklaces, rings, brooches, and earrings. To me, the hunt for interesting materials that I can repurpose is an essential part of the creative process. Where someone else sees an old broken Timex or Hamilton watch, I see a pair of earrings, a necklace, and charms for a bracelet.
For many years my hobby was quilting. From that I learned to have the patience to see a creative process through from initial idea to finished project. Quilting, like jewelry making, is not an activity for a person seeking immediate gratification.
I have been inspired by both the steampunk and industrial esthetics. Vintage watch gears or salvaged escutcheons are carefully manufactured objects. By refashioning these into jewelry, I am able to extend their useful lives and share their innate beauty with new audiences.
I also find inspiration in my full time job. As the director of operations for the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, I help to manage our jury process and website. Consequently, I have seen thousands of images of not just jewelry but of fine art and craft in a variety of media. The quality of work and range of creativity I see in my job has inspired me to take risks in my own work. In addition, I have been fortunate to meet jewelers who could mentor, providing encouragement and education as continue on the journey of expressing myself visually.