Although Joyce Frost has been a member of the Photographic Society of America for 62 of its 78 years, she also loved playing the clarinet for the Delmont Community Band. That's one reason the Murrysville woman had a difficult choice to make when her husband, Lawrence, urged her to join him as a member of the East Suburban Art League.
"Both groups met on Thursday evening, so I had to make a difficult decision," Mrs. Frost, 91, recalled.
She ended up buying a Nikon 35mm, single lens reflex camera and putting her clarinet back in its case.
"Because Lawrence was doing color, I decided to do black and white photos," she said. "He developed my photos in his darkroom, but when he passed on four years ago, I decided to join the crowd and went out and bought myself a digital camera."
From now through Dec. 30, Mrs. Frost and 28 other league artists are exhibiting their work at the Art Gallery at Penn State New Kensington. Many of the works are for sale with prices from $50 to $1,200.
Each artist is permitted to exhibit two works, and Mrs. Frost chose one titled "Honkers" that is getting a lot of attention. It depicts an elderly woman with white hair and a colorful cane and purse blowing her nose with a bright yellow handkerchief while seated next to a goose. The photo took home a first-place prize in this year's Murrysville Women's Club Art Show.
Her second work, "Blue Room," is a photograph taken inside the living room of the Frost mansion in Fredonia, N.Y. where she first met her husband.
"The walls are painted a sort of royal blue, and the photo includes two windows and a mannequin wearing a reddish-purple dress," she said.
Exhibit coordinator Ted Scanga, 74, of Lower Burrell has been a league member since 1997, although he first started painting in oils in 1964. In the 1990s, he switched media from oils to acrylics, basically because acrylics dry faster.
Raised on a dairy farm where he also learned carpentry, Mr. Scanga bought a lathe for his youngest son, James, and put it in his barn, where the two "toyed around with it." By the 1980s, he had acquired a full wood shop of tools and ended up making most of his own furniture, everything from an ash and walnut wood inlay table for the dining room to all-cherry office furniture.
"Recently, I've gotten turned off to making furniture but might consider something if it were unique enough," said Mr. Scanga, who retired from Alcoa after 32 years.
At the moment, he's become adept as a wood turner and specializes in bowls and vases. For the exhibit, he's included a walnut bowl along with an acrylic painting titled "Death in Life," a depiction of a dead log with rudbeckia growing alongside.
Once on a trout fishing trip to Wyoming, he saw for the first time an intarsia (inlaid wood) piece and thought he'd try his hand back home at the woodworking skill similar to marquetry. His first piece, an image of an elk inlaid in a 12-by-15-inch oval, is now hanging on a wall in his laundry room. Other intarsia pieces have followed.
In Murrysville, Sarah Wood, 72, has been a watercolorist for four years. After she retired as a researcher for Carnegie-Mellon University in 2006, she decided to take a watercolor class at the Franklin Regional Adult School.
"People often ask me 'why watercolors,' and I explain that it was what they offered at the time," said Ms. Wood, who has a Ph.D. in microbiology. "After I retired, I made quite a leap from scientific precision to using the other half of my brain by painting."
For the exhibit, she's included two watercolors. A work titled "Winter Pears," is not for sale because it's meant to go with another painting she's completing to hang on her living room wall. A second painting, "Lady in Fur," was done from a photo of her grandmother, Jess Davidson.
The art league was formed in 1965 as the Holiday Arts League. It is open to all artists, with yearly dues of $25. Meetings are held at 7 p.m. the first Thursday of each month at the Christ Lutheran Church on Route 286 at Sardis in Murrysville.
The exhibit includes metal sculpture, oil and watercolor paintings, photography, wood turnings, paper crafts and more. Details: 724-339-8890.
Dave Zuchowski, freelance writer: email@example.com. First Published December 20, 2012 10:15 AM