Stink bugs and shelties might not seem like two subjects that would ever go together in the same sentence. But for Maryel Henderson and Kelly Pedersen, shelties and stink bugs are just a part of the story for these two friends and artists who will feature their art at their first exhibitions at the York College Marketview Arts Gallery July 13 through Aug. 12.
Henderson’s show “Through My Eyes” will invite guests to explore her work with abstract art while Pedersen’s “Mother and Baby” will exhibit her love for children and pet portrait art. An opening reception will be held Thursday, July 13, from 5 to 7 p.m., with a special First Friday open house planned for Friday, Aug. 4, from 5 to 8 p.m., and an artist talk on Saturday, Aug. 12, beginning at 11 a.m.
Pedersen says the inspiration for her children and pet portrait art comes from raising her children, serving as a special education teacher and caring for many horses, dogs and cats that have inhabited her Stewartstown farm over the years.
“I was never an artist, but Maryel encouraged me to take art classes, and now I just love it. It’s a passion I now have,” Pedersen says. “There’s so much to learn about techniques, and I’m always wanting to become a better artist. I hope that my paintings of animals and children might inspire people to want their own children or pets painted.”
Henderson, who lives in Yoe, York County, was a visual manager for Elder-Beerman and Kohl’s department stores. Today, she teaches occasional art classes at the York Art Association, including one this fall on fluid acrylics and ink. She says that her interest in abstract art brought her to a freeing place in her creative pursuits.
“I used to do everything in realism, and now it’s more abstract,” she says. “I was getting tired of the tediousness and tightness, but with abstract art, you let the paint do its thing. Sometimes, you get a happy accident.”
She points to one of her abstract works “Confetti Dreams” hanging on her studio wall. “Here’s one example of where so many happy accidents occurred. You can see areas where the paint just explodes.”
From their shared studio space inside Marketview Arts, Henderson and Pedersen describe how a shared interest in being children’s book authors brought the two of them together over creative collaborations. They first met several years ago during a workshop taught by Joe Kulka (author and illustrator of Wolf’s Coming) on writing and illustrating books for children.
Both women admitted that the workshop experience fueled their desire to turn ideas into book form, and both turned to each other for encouragement as they set out to not only write their own stories, but also illustrate them. Together, they persevered through rejections until both found homes for their work with Morgan James Publishing in New York City.
Finding Love on Summer Hill is Pedersen’s story of a shelter rescue dog who, through experiences with her new family, comes to understand that love can chase away all fears. Throughout the book, Pedersen’s illustrations capture the expressive personalities of the animals at the heart of her narrative.
Henderson’s Squirt Saves the Day tells the tale of a stink bug who overcomes the fear of rejection and learns how to embrace his individuality. So why the story of a stink bug? She explains that her interest in a stink bug story was an outgrowth of her work with the creatures in jewelry form. After a Christmas bazaar creation featuring bezels with painted brown marmorated stink bug shells proved to be a hit, she began incorporating the stink bug motif into her art with clocks, sculptures and paintings (see if you can find the stink bug in each one). For her children’s book, she admits she had to challenge herself creatively to make the Squirt character appealing to kids.
Both artists say the creative space inside Marketview Arts continues to serve as an important resource to bring their work to the downtown York community. “Artists at times can feel isolated, but coming here is great because we get to meet so many people,” Pedersen says. “Since we’ve been here [at Marketview Arts], we’ve seen such growth of the arts in York. We’ve met so many talented artists such as Carol Oldenburg, Rob Evans and Brenda Wintermyer, as well as the students at York College.”
“The established artists hang out with the emerging artists,” Henderson says. “All of the artists in York are so encouraging of one another.”
Meet the Artists
Maryel Henderson “Through My Eyes” and Kelly Pedersen “Mother and Baby”
- On exhibit July 13–Aug. 12 at Marketview Arts, 37 W. Philadelphia St.
- Opening Reception: Thursday, July 13, 5–7 p.m.
- First Friday Open House: Friday, Aug. 4, 5–8 p.m.
- Artist Talk: Saturday, Aug. 12, 11 a.m.
Artist Appearances in York County
Find copies of Finding Love on Summer Hill and Squirt Saves the Day at Amazon.com and at all major bookstores, including Books-A-Million in York. These books will also be available for purchase at the Marketview Arts First Friday Open House, at the Aug. 12 Artist Talk and throughout the month of the exhibition at Marketview Arts.
Look for Maryel Henderson and Kelly Pedersen’s work featured at the Arthur Hufnagel Public Library in Glen Rock (32 Main St.) from Aug. 1–31. This exhibition of local children’s book authors and illustrators will also include the art of Judy Grupp, a conceptual and visual artist from New Freedom. Contact the library at 717.235.1127 for information about an upcoming story reading with Henderson and Pedersen this summer at the library.
Meet Kelly Pedersen at “Dogs’ Day in the Park,” Saturday, Aug. 26, 9 a.m.–4 p.m., at the Marge Goodfellow Park in New Freedom. This event will help raise funds for the Animal Rescue Inc. Sanctuary for Life.
Contact the Artists
Writer Michael Vyskocil
Photographer Eric Forberger