Ferndale artist exhibiting colorful, whimsical pieces at Bottle Works

May 11—JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — Ideas, color and paint have combined to showcase a diverse collection of work in this exhibition.

"Luscious Stems & Whimsical Surprises," a show by Sarah Gayle Silwones, is on display through June 17 at Bottle Works, 411 Third Ave. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

Attracted by the natural beauty of flowers and the brilliant play of light through water, the Ferndale resident has created a bountiful bouquet of color and whimsical surprises in her first solo show.

Her richly colored, lively paintings reflect a classical painting style touched with a bit of magic.

Professional artist

Silwones has been a professional artist for more than 20 years, working as a book illustrator and cover designer as well as a painter.

After relocating to the area with her husband from the Pacific Northwest in December 2021, she said she was looking to find her place in the local arts community.

"I started teaching classes at Bottle Works, and I was offered this exhibition about four months ago," Silwones said.

"I started painting like a mad woman possessed and painted for a little over four months to produce new pieces of work."

Acrylic, oil paintings

The exhibit features 55 pieces of acrylic and oil paintings.

"This show is two different mediums and really two different collections of work," Silwones said.

She said the "Luscious Stems & Whimsical Surprises" showcase is all about the glory of flowers and the reflection of light in water in acrylics.

"I've always been fascinated by it, so it's really close-up large paintings of flowers, arrangements and glass," Silwones said.

"In there is mixed in the whimsical things that are my staple. I'm a Fairy Book children's illustrator, so fairies and wee folk just have a way of making their way into my art. That collection has them sprinkled in and tucked in the back that maybe you don't notice on your first pass."

The exhibit also includes an interactive educational component to the collection.

"I paint with an unusual color palette called the Fletcher Color System, and it's a marvelous old way to manage your colors," Silwones said.

"It makes my work look really different, so there will be an explanation poster about that and a palette example so that people can learn about the mixing of color and how it affects what you see when you look at your paintings."

Oil-painted portraits

In conjunction with the show, Silwones is exhibiting her oil-painted portraits.

"Those are a recent fascination of mine," she said.

"The portraits are a start at trying to capture the ethnic and cultural diversity of Johnstown in portraits.

"This is a 10-piece peek at the portrait work of what I see as beauty in other cultures."

Silwones said she's inspired by color and light.

"Those are the two things that fascinate me about art and painting, and the ability to use color to create an emotion or mood are things that I love and try to develop in my work," she said.

"I also love the educational aspect of art. That's what keeps me doing art is trying to seek out others who I can share that gift with and give them an opportunity to do their own art and use art as a way to connect with my communities."

Silwones said she hopes people will smile and have a good time when viewing her artwork.

"I hope they can enjoy the whimsy that is giant flowers and berries, and the exotic women in the portraits," she said.

"Hopefully, they can find an interest in art, and if they are inclined to do art themselves, that they'll take advantage of some of the connections that will be available there to contact me or through other places where you can explore and get inspired to do art yourself."

Artist's reception

To celebrate the exhibit, an artist's reception will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Silwones will be on hand to discuss her work and thought process.

"People will be able to explore the work with me," she said.

"It's a dream come true to put all this work out there and you want to share it. It's a miraculous thing when you can have a show and have people come and share in the excitement of it."

Refreshments will be served. Guitar music will be provided by George Byich.

In addition, a Bottle Works reception with Silwones will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. May 18, and it will coincide with the Allied Artists of Johnstown's spring show opening.

Both receptions are free and open to the public.

For more information on Silwones, visit www.sarahgayle.net.

There is no fee to attend the exhibit.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

For more information, call 814-535-2020 or visit www.bottleworks.org.