Work and sense of family. by Emily Arndt (class of 2015)

Mount Gretna is an inspiring and unique place that brings dedicated students from different parts of the country together. While at Mount Gretna, talented and professional staff have helped me achieve many goals by challenging me to further explore and develop my artistic skills and techniques. I have become more knowledgeable and passionate about my overall artistic painting and drawing process. In order to create a successful painting or drawing of a landscape, I knew that I needed to immerse myself in a program that is committed to training individuals who are serious about making art.

I have never made a more wise decision than the one I made when I chose to attend the Landscape Painting Program offered at Mount Gretna. While at Mount Gretna, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many new people with different backgrounds. These students, and I have created many new and unforgettable memories and have become friends. Besides sharing different art techniques throughout our daily critiques, these artists have shared interesting things that have happened during their painting sessions throughout the day to more personal things such as unforgettable stories that have made me laugh and cry. I feel strongly that these people are more than just art students they are a small group of people I can call family.

My art friends and I often spend our time painting on location around our studio in the woods where we paint our landscapes and occasionally work on self-portraits.  We also enjoy venturing off to other areas of Mount Gretna that are easier to get to by car. When travelling to these destinations during our free time, our group often makes small stops to local farmers markets and other places such as the local art supply stores. During car rides on our way back to the studio, our group often share jokes and tells stories about our families and friends at home. My new friends are always considerate about what it is that I have to say and always make me feel welcome. During the week after a day of work at the studio, we sometimes go out for a meal together to the local pizza shop, or gather together on one of the cottage porches and share dinner with faculty and visiting artist. After dinner and before resuming work, we often play board games or card games for fun.

Our cottages are small quaint places that make a person feel at home. Every necessity I need is always there thanks to the support of my cottage leader. My favorite area of the cottage I stay in which is known as the Markwood cottage, is our kitchen and dinning room area.  Here I am able to have a sit down breakfast and dinner with the people I live with. We often joke about who will have the last cup of coffee and discuss artists we know.

Our classes during the day are run by hardworking staff who make learning more enjoyable and keep their students their first priority. My teachers always provide us with new material that helps to strengthen our learning experience. My teachers also provide me with new problem solving solutions that allow me to view the world I paint around me from a different perspective. It is during these lessons that I am able to break what I see down into different shapes, colors, and values. While in my drawing class, I learn how to properly draw an object’s proportions by sighting what I see. Over class breaks the other students and I often gather on the porch and read books on famous or popular artists. Other times during my break, I find myself sketching the beautiful landscape around me.  Mount Gretna is a wonderful place, with wonderful people that continuously inspire the work that I make.