Monroeville artist paints on, plans show, despite challenges
Jeanne Werner is a primarily self-taught artist, whose lack of formal instruction does not keep her from the painting she loves.
Nor do a 1980 diagnosis of multiple sclerosis and more recent cancer challenges, her family members say.
Werner, 76, of Monroeville, is one of two artists whose work will be on display through the month of May at Feathers Artist Market, 102 4th St., Irwin.
Owner Tracy Alaia is holding an artists’ reception from 6-9 p.m. May 9 at the store for both Werner and to honor her own late grandfather, Dick Davis.
“He was a sign painter and artist in Manor and Westmoreland City,” Alaia says of her grandfather, who died in 1987. “A lot of people have come into my shop and talked about his art work.”
Davis painted signs for upcoming community events, fire departments and parades, Alaia says.
“A lot of people in the area have his paintings. He was self-taught. He gave away paintings instead of Christmas cards,” she says.
Alaia became aware of Werner through the artist’s daughter, Bekki Stack, a store employee.
“My house is filled with my mom’s art, and Tracy’s seen it there,” Stack says.
Finding a way
Stack says her mother lost the use of her legs and left arm decades ago, but still paints as often as she can.
Stack’s father, Bill Werner, helps set her up with a canvas and paints so she can work from her bed.
“She has dabbled in everything. Most of her work is acrylic painting. She’s done watercolor, wood-blocking, she’s tried it all. It’s pretty amazing. She only has movement of her right arm, and it’s very limited,” Stack says.
She’s also done encaustic painting, where the artist paints in wax and uses a blowtorch to fuse the colors.
Her mother primarily paints on 5-by-7-inch canvases now.
“It’s very therapeutic for her. She’s still very positive,” Stack says.
Stack’s sister, Susan Knauss, and their father are all helping to get Werner’s art work exhibit ready.
Werner will not be able to attend the reception, Stack says.
“She’s very excited. She chose what will be shown. Some prints will be for sale,” she says.
A lot of her mother’s painting subjects are houses, flowers, people, churches and abstracts, Stack says.
“My personal favorites are of a paintbox and Mom’s Apple Pie,” she says.
One of her mother’s paintings is of an entire town, including a wedding, a funeral, football players and cheerleaders, Stack says.
“This is going to be an amazing show for her and her family. It is truly an inspiration to see her art work and celebrate her as an artist. This is one of my favorite shows I have had (at) Feathers because it honors family and art,” Alaia says.
Details: 412-325-1000 or facebook.com/Feathers-Artist-Market-and-Gifts
Mary Pickels is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-836-5401, [email protected] or via Twitter .