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‘Second Nature’ exhibit offers inspiration for journaling

An area graphic designer’s 100-day dedication to a drawing and writing practice has culminated in an exhibit at The Gallery at Penn College. “Second Nature,” featuring works by Sarah Patterson, also offers inspiration on establishing a journaling routine.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Gallery at Penn College is temporarily closed to the general public; however, highlights from the exhibit can be viewed on the gallery’s website. The virtual display shares supplemental resources including journaling exercises and prompts. Penn College students will also be invited to consider a journaling practice during the exhibit’s run through April 9.

“Second Nature,” featuring works by an area graphic designer, Sarah Patterson, is available for viewing on the website of The Gallery at Penn College.
“Second Nature,” featuring works by an area graphic designer, Sarah Patterson, is available for viewing on the website of The Gallery at Penn College.

A mini-exhibit showcasing seven prints from “Second Nature” is on display in a window at the Community Arts Center in downtown Williamsport.

As part of her artistic explorations while attaining a Master of Fine Arts degree in graphic design from Vermont College of Fine Arts, Patterson researched the subject of handwriting. She began drawing and handwriting each day.

“I picked up a blank book and a pencil to draw on the trail when I went out for hikes,” Patterson explained, adding that she has never thought of herself as a person who draws, but she wanted to explore new artistic terrain.

“I made rules for myself for this daily practice, and every day it grew. Some days, I liked what I drew; other days, it struck me as slightly ridiculous. I kept going,” she said. “The writing and drawing create a record of time. It is observational.”

Patterson is rooted in the field of graphic design and works as a graphic designer/project coordinator at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

"Second Nature," featuring the inspiring work of graphic artist Sarah Patterson, runs through April 9.
“Second Nature,” featuring the inspiring work of graphic artist Sarah Patterson, runs through April 9.

She earned bachelor’s degrees in elementary education from the University of Maine and in graphic design from Penn College. In October 2020, she received her MFA from VCFA.

Patterson spent her formative years in the New York City boroughs of Queens (Rockaway) and Brooklyn; Australia; and all around the state of Maine before settling in rural northcentral Pennsylvania. It took her awhile to appreciate and understand the landscape around her. Years of walking, running and hiking revealed the details, colors, textures and seasonal changes. Pennsylvania offers challenging hills and mountains; this landscape has seeped into her work.

Sarah PattersonHer work involves themes of the natural world, motherhood/daughterhood, archiving, memory and handwriting. She likes the routine of 100-day projects. Working in the face of not knowing the ultimate outcome is the uncomfortable sweet spot where she discovers herself. Trusting the process guides Patterson’s practice.

Her favorite mediums include collage, drawing and other analog methods of mark making.

A digital thesis describing her handwriting research can be viewed online and is available as part of the “Second Nature” virtual exhibit.

The Gallery at Penn College, an educational resource for Penn College students and a cultural asset to the college and community, is dedicated to promoting art appreciation through exhibitions of contemporary art.

For more about the college, a national leader in applied technology education, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free at 800-367-9222.

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