Barton’s B.J. Hawley found himself surrounded by artists in an idyllic setting this summer. It was an unexpected but welcomed opportunity following a serendipitous introduction in his spring semester painting class.
Susan Lichtman, Barton College’s artist-in-residence during the 2016 spring semester, recognized in Hawley a talent for painting from life, which is the primary focus at Mount Gretna School of Art in Pennsylvania. “She offered to recommend B.J. to the school’s director,” explained Maureen O’Neill, assistant professor art, and director of exhibitions and educational programming. “B.J. understood that this would be an opportunity to work in a studio environment with other young painters who share his passion and ambition, and receive instruction from terrific teachers, all successful painters and educators.”
The Barton College senior, pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in art and design with concentrations in painting and drawing, enrolled in the intensive summer painting program for advanced college painting students. “The main focus of the school is to give art students an opportunity to paint from life, to be observant, and to be engaged in the surroundings of the school,” Hawley explained. “While at Mount Gretna, my paintings were created from direct observation and many were plein air (painted outdoors). During the summer experience, I also had the opportunity to work with other established artists and receive instruction from a number of notable painters from the Northeast. And, we also had opportunities to visit museums, galleries, and artists’ studios in Philadelphia and New York. Attending Mount Gretna School of Art was a life-changing experience. I learned a lot over the summer and made lifelong friends along the way.”
“An experience like this one can help a young painter move beyond his or her comfort zone,” continued O’Neill. “B.J. now knows he can be successful outside of the Barton College painting studio, as he plans for graduate school. I’m incredibly proud of him and look forward to watching him continue to grow as a painter.”