Paint by numbers
125 fine artists exhibit in Lititz Springs Park
Mitzi Hall waited on Saturday afternoon for the customer who would walk into her stand and be stopped dead in their tracks.
“Art makes people feel,” she said, gesturing to the bright, mosaic-style work glittering in the summer sunlight at the 48th Annual Lititz Outdoor Fine Art Show. “That’s why I do this.”
Hall was among about 125 vendors sharing their passions with the Lititz community last weekend, though her style differed from most at the park. Hailing from Irwin, she and her husband made the three-and-a-half hour trek to the show for the first time and said that despite the unusualness her work, the crowd enjoyed it.
From guitars covered in found objects to platform wedge shoes sparkling like disco balls, many stopped by to admire the vision of Mosaic Mitzi.
“I love it,” one woman remarked, asking how she could learn the art herself. Hall is quick to admit that she’s self-taught. Her passion for stained glass (Hall’s original profession) transformed itself well into mosaic art.
“With stained glass, I was forced to follow the rules,” she said. “But with this, every day is a new adventure. There is no guidebook or instructions.”
That freedom is what drew fellow artist Jeff Stambaugh to the trade 15 years ago when he looked to pursue his love of gardening and pottery, two separate interests that somehow worked their way together.
Now, Stambaugh averages 45 shows a year and continues to grow his business, Avant-Garden, specializing in pottery for garden clubs and flower arranging. What started out as a hobby has become his “full time gig,” he said, and he loves every minute of it.
The Lititz show is one of his favorites, he said, citing the intimate atmosphere with customers in a small town setting as a perfect place to sell artwork. And when it came to sales, Stambaugh said he was having a great day.
Among vendors, results varied though. Some said the day yielded lots of profit, while others were having a slower experience. But prices also fluctuated, running anywhere from more than $600 for one of Mitzi Hall’s bedazzled guitars to two small watercolor prints for $25 at a stand two doors down. Customers had their pick, and a vast price range to choose from.
Pam Hall is no stranger to the art show, with Saturday marking her fifth year in Lititz Springs Park. Her business, Twin Moons Pottery, has transformed from a childhood dream abandoned long ago into a reality after her four children headed off to school and away from home. With a little help from art classes and a great mentor, Hall has come a long way from the first time she sat down at a potter’s wheel. Today, this is how Hall makes her living, shaping and molding clay, firing it herself and then finishing the piece with handmade glaze.
“I’m really proud I can say it’s completely made in America,” she said with a smile. Actually, it’s completely made in her own home.
That’s a common theme among the vendors. Be it for ease, convenience or simply space, most artists have developed their own system to make their house both their workplace and home. Though many don’t consider art their full-time job, it’s a craft that most keep close to their hearts.
For Bertie Brown of Willow Street, her living room doubles as her art gallery, showcasing vibrant music-inspired watercolors. Her husband joked that the expansion to their home was really just a way for Brown to store her paintings.
“You have to do it for love,” she said with a laugh.
Brown’s transition to painting seemed pretty natural, she said, after having played in local musical ensembles for many years. Though she wasn’t creating music anymore, she found a new medium to express her creative side.
As long as expression comes from the heart and soul, many say the inspiration comes easy.
Elizabeth Gibson looks to her dogs for the warmth expressed in her paintings. The Leola woman, now in her seventh year at the show, even offers the option of personal pet portraits, photographing and then painting a family’s furry friend for a unique touch.
And just like that, customers become regulars and artists become friends over a passion many long to understand and few share.
“You have to be fearless,” Mitzi Hall said, gesturing to the artists around her. “You can’t be afraid to fail.”
Brittany Horn is a freelance feature reporter for the Record Express. She is also a recent graduate of Penn State and was the editor of the Daily Collegian. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.