NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. — As one who favors impressionistic and expressionistic styles, Donald J. Wonderling will share his art, which features the landscapes and woodlands of southwestern Pennsylvania, through Aug. 25 in the Penn State New Kensington art gallery. The exhibit is free and open to the public.
Wonderling’s one-man show, “Rural Pennsylvania,” showcases 45 paintings. The Sarver resident traditionally paints on both Masonite and canvas using acrylic paints. He noted that he “likes to experiment as I paint, and acrylics allow me to quickly repaint areas that do not match with my original or developing concepts.”
Wonderling employs color and value contrasts to convey the emotional impact he strives for in his paintings. His favorite motifs are the woodlands and farmlands of western Pennsylvania.
“In these paintings, I attempt to evoke sensations I recall from my early childhood visits to my great grandparents’ farms and from my experiences as a youth, roaming the woods, farms and streams of Butler, Armstrong and Westmoreland counties,” said Wonderling. “Many of the subjects are in my neighborhood or only a few miles from the houses where I have lived.”
“Donald creatively captures light in his paintings using intense color and glazing that immediately creates an effect. The colors almost ‘glow’ from the canvas,” said Tina Sluss, art gallery director for the campus.
The accomplished artist has been studying art since 1958 and has entered his work in western Pennsylvania art competitions since 1982. Through the years, Wonderling has won more than one hundred awards, including Best of Show. His work hangs in many private residences throughout the country. Wonderling enjoys the works of Monet, Pissaro, Sisley, Van Gogh, the California Society of Six, Thom Thompson, the Canadian Group of Seven, Russell Chatham, Richard Diebekorn, Wayne Thiebud and Wolf Kahn.
A native of western Pennsylvania, Wonderling earned his bachelor of science degree in business education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he also enrolled in art classes. He continued his educational pursuits, obtaining a master of science degree in public school administration from Duquesne University and a doctorate in education from the University of Pittsburgh.
A veteran of the United States Army, Wonderling spent his career in education. He retired after 31 years as a Pennsylvania educator and administrator. He said this has afforded him the opportunity to paint, study, exhibit and market his paintings.
“I believe more people would be happier with themselves and their lives if they found ways to be creative,” said Wonderling.
The public may visit Wonderling’s work in the Penn State New Kensington art gallery from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. weekends.
Each month, Penn State New Kensington features the multimedia works of local and regional artists. The exhibits are free to the public. For more information or a schedule of upcoming art exhibits, contact Sluss at 724-334-6056.