Working double time
Artist Peter Cehily, 49, will showcase more than 40 works at two venues in the Alle-Kiski Valley throughout February.
His acrylic paintings will be on display — and for sale — at Allegheny Valley Hospital during its “Art in the Valley” series. At that same time, Cehily's work will be featured at People's Library in New Kensington.
A native of Allegheny Township, Cehily still resides there and paints out of his basement studio in his home.
“I work from home full time in sales, and it's great because I have flexible hours and can take art classes and be close to my studio for painting,” Cehily says. “I always drew as a child; people would ask my mom, “How do you get him to sit still for so long?”
Cehily graduated from Kiski Area High School in 1983 and graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a degree in journalism and public relations in 1987.
“I didn't really explore art when I was a teen; I had other creative outlets. In 2004, I took my first painting class — acrylics — at (Westmoreland County Community College). I was in my 30s.”
Cehily studied painting and drawing at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in Shadyside and learned from abstraction artist Mary Collins.
Peter is a wonderful student and has come a long way since his first class,” Collins says. “He has a strong eye for expressive color and line. He has a great dedication to the arts, and I'm so pleased for his shows.”
“Damsel” and “The Apple” are two paintings that are on display at People's Library.
“These two are both good examples of my figurative work and the style I paint in,” Cehily says. I like ‘Apple,' since I find it a bit mysterious. It was a painting that just sort of developed as I was doing it.
“‘Damsel' is painted in a limited palette and is an example of the style I use in my character series. Both pieces are from my mind and no model was used.”
“Clearing” will hang at Allegheny Valley Hospital and was painted from a photo snapped at Millstone Creek in Elk County.
“My brother took the picture, and, now and then, I like to paint a landscape in an impressionistic style like this,” the artist says. “Normally, I'm not too big on landscapes, preferring to paint the human face in an abstract way.”
Cehily says his favorite painting among those on display is “Red Interior.”
“I am very partial to this one. It is disturbing, and I like art that makes you think or shakes you up a little bit.”
Cehily is a member of the East Suburban Artists League and the Associated Artists of Butler County. He serves as membership chairman for the East Suburban group.
“I paint every week,” Cehily says. “A lot in the winter, because in the summer, I'm outside more.
“Currently, I am working on a series of cinema-inspired movie characters. I will paint classic female characters and hope to have 20 to 30 pieces to show at a later date.
“I hope to expand and do shows in the tri-state region, Ohio, Baltimore and West Virginia.”
Cehily draws inspiration from artists such as Edvard Munch, Mary Collins, El Greco, William Hogarth and Pittsburgh artist Robert Robinson.
“I would love to travel to France and paint the French countryside and see the Louvre Museum in Paris,” Cehily says.
But he's also inspired in Pittsburgh. “We have a great art scene in Pittsburgh —beautiful galleries and lots of venues,” Cehily says. “It is a best-kept secret.”
Joyce Hanz is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.