The Council for the Arts proudly presents  “A Brush with Nature: Paintings by Cindy Haden Baker, Jean Frey and Janette Koons”on view through October 26, Tuesday through Friday from 10 am-2 pm, or by appointment.  For more information, call 717-264-6883 or visit www.councilforthearts.net.

While she enjoys painting in her studio, Fayetteville artist Jean Frey has discovered the joys of plein air painting, or painting in open air, as the French would say. She has been bitten by this bug so much that she started a plein air painting group as part of the Franklin County Art Alliance. All three of the exhibit’s artists are members of this group, which paints outdoors at a variety of locations every week from late May to late October. Jean spends the winters in the Florida Keys, so she is able to paint outdoors nearly all year long.

“Like the Impressionists, capturing light drives my painting,” she says. “And like the Impressionists, I paint en plein air as much as possible – where I can’t control the light, the conditions, and sometimes the subjects. I find these challenges fun!”   Jean was born and raised in Beaver, Pa where art was her favorite subject throughout her school years. She made her career in education in Fairfax County, VA. During her work as a general elementary classroom teacher, a curriculum specialist, and as a principal of an elementary magnet school for the arts and sciences, she continued learning how to use art to help students understand content and express that knowledge. After retiring, Jean moved back to PA, where her paintings have received awards in many local exhibitions. Her work is influenced by the Impressionists and the teachers with whom she has been fortunate to study: Carol Begley, Laurie McKelvie, Kathleen Denis, Thomas Kitts, and Michelle Byrne.

Born in Toronto, Cindy Haden Baker grew up in the US and lives with her husband on a beautiful farm tucked away in the lush Cumberland Valley of Pennsylvania, overlooking flourishing fields and beautiful vistas. Much of her inspiration comes from her surroundings and the best advice she ever received – to paint what she is passionate about and what moves her spirit.  Cindy began her art studies in the 1980s with a two-year home study program through Home Study Art Instruction School of Minneapolis. She has participated in numerous workshops, including the Ringling School of Art, and studied with nationally known artists such as Jeff Barnhart, Karen Vance, Scott Christensen and Thomas J. Kitts.

For much of her career, Cindy worked as an illustrator and graphic design specialist. While she enjoys the quiet solitude of her studio, she also enjoys plein air painting. “Painting from life creates an observation of the subject that encourages a freshness and spontaneity that translates to my canvas.” Her paintings have won numerous awards and been exhibited in solo and group shows in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia. She also has participated in several cultural art exchanges, auctions and benefits for charitable organizations. “My goal is to create artwork that captures what I see and feel,” she says, “with each canvas telling a story of its own.”

“Watercolor allows me the pure spontaneity and freshness that I strive for in my work”, explains Mont Alto artist Janette Koons. “I often discover new colors or compositions as a painting develops: I don’t always know how the painting will evolve!” A native of Franklin County, Janette resides with her husband, Dennis, on their farm in rural Mont Alto, PA, where twice a day the church bells ring, and on the hour the Penn State Nittany Lion roars! “Our horses, cattle, cats, and wildlife give me such joy and inspiration for my paintings!”

Janette is primarily a self-taught artist. She has studied with numerous regional artists and has also taken watercolor instruction online. She is a member of the Waynesboro Studio Art Club and the Franklin County Art Alliance. Some of her paintings, notecards, and bookmarks are available at 42 West Gallery in Waynesboro, and some have won awards in area shows. Her work is also represented in private and corporate collections both nationally and internationally.

The Council conducts classes and displays the work of local artists at 81 North Main Street, Chambersburg. For more information, call 717-264-6883.