“Painting is like a learning curve; you have to stick with your art,” said Arlene Harkness. “You don’t learn to read the first day you go to school.”
Harkness is a member of the Fine Arts Council of Troy (FACT). She stresses how members learn from each other.
“There’s different degrees of ability and talent,” explained Harkness. “In our group we’re all supportive of each other.”
Harkness always wanted to paint, but didn’t know where to start. She started doing leatherwork as a teenager, using her artistic ability while making useful items. Her specialties included gun slings, billfolds, journal covers and belts.
When she met Hilda Moore and Aileen Isbell, she was influenced by their art. Harkness did her first painting when Moore gave her a set of oil paints. They began to work together, complimenting each other. Moore shared many of her painting techniques with Harkness; Harkness taught Moore to do leatherwork.
“I purchased two of her leather journals for gifts,” said Rose Harley. “They were beautifully done. My girls love them and use them.”
“I appreciate good workmanship,” added Harley. “I would buy from her again. She’s a good woman.”
Harkness moved away from leatherwork as she did more and more oil painting. However she continued to make journal covers. In the mid 1980’s she joined FACT.
Along with Moore and Isbell, Harkness started the art competition and display at the Troy Fair. It has been a major part of the fair since.
Harkness learned the “Bob Ross” method.
“I love being outdoors,” said Harkness. “I always wanted to be a wildlife artist. I love nature. I love animals.”
As she progressed with her own painting, she began to teach others.
“I love helping people,” said Harkness. “I love seeing people happy with the painting they do.”
Harkness taught painting at A.C. Moore in Vestal, N.Y. for a few years where she had quite a following. When she moved back to Pennsylvania she taught homeschoolers in her area.
Now Harkness joins other FACT members when they get together once a week to paint.
“We have such a good time,” said Harkness. “If you’ve ever wanted to paint or to know more about painting, come join us! We’re a friendly group!”
For more information about FACT and its artists, call (570) 596-3425 or (570) 297-3823.
What can someone expect if they want to join FACT? Members work on their individual fine art projects, share ideas, help each other and encourage one another.
Arlene Harkness added, “And of course we have coffee and donuts!”