Jodi Hebel is a local artist who grew up in Morrisdale and has been a professional artist for a little over 10 years.
She paints personal and commission works, and also contributes to the local art community by teaching art classes at The Liddle Gallery.
According to Jodi, she has always been interested in art, and while she can’t pinpoint a specific moment or thing that started the interest, she has been making art ever since she was a child.
“I always liked drawing and making things and art class at school and everything,” she said. “I did a fair amount at home when I was younger”
She went to Lycoming College where she studied studio art and psychology. After realizing that she wasn’t really interested in a career in psychology, she decided that she was more into pursuing “different kinds of art.”
Over the years, Jodi has done many different things when it comes to subject matter, and is currently focused on an outdoor/mushroom-oriented theme. While nature does inform some of her work, the themes vary and it really is more about the ideas behind the artwork.
In the past she has done many things, including a series on disappointment and shoes, where she aimed to “showcase disappointment through different shoe vignettes.”
She said her art is based on ideas she wants to express, typically philosophical ideas, although the ideas she has in mind aren’t specifically attached to the painting.
She noted, “It’s just kind of an expression” that relates to the feelings and ideas she has at the time when each work is created.
For the past year-and-a-half or so, mushrooms have been the means by which she expressed those ideas.
Along with influencing her work, feelings also played a role in her decision to practice art in a small town.
“The things that inspire me … like nature … and people you love,” Jodi said. “They’re here.”
She feels that while a city can provide certain benefits for artists, there are also many reasons to have an art career in a small town, such as Clearfield.
“I’m not someone who really wants to live in a city, even though the arts and opportunities … and the vibrancy of the community might be better suited … You can do art anywhere and with the Internet you can market it anywhere … it’s just about where you want to be …”
For those who choose the path of being an artist in a small town, she has a few tips.
“You have to really look … if you’re interested in something and you want to continue to learn about it … you have to really look and intentionally join things that promote that. And we do have a couple of things.”
She continued, saying that The Liddle Gallery and the Susquehanna River Arts Center of Clearfield are two great local places to get involved with and where you can find people trying to promote art in the community.
“There’s a lot that’s trying to go on … we just need the support and people who are interested.”
While taking classes and finding a like-minded community are two things that Jodi feels are beneficial, she also feels young people in the area who are interested in art really need to focus on creating.
“I think the most important thing is just to find a way and the time to make art. Create something, and make creating something (anything) a habit.”
Making art a habit is certainly a practice Jodi follows. Her current work follows a past project where she challenged herself to complete one mushroom painting every day for 30 days.
In addition to making creations a regular part of her day, Jodi enjoys spending time with her five dogs and reading. She also enjoys kayaking, and recently went on a trip to New York, where she did crystal collecting and wine-tasting.
In the upcoming days, you can find her doing a Slab Pottery class at The Liddle Gallery on Sept. 27. The gallery is also offering various fall classes, including a “dirty pour” painting class for making abstract art, and lots of other events that can be found listed on its Facebook page.
You can view some of Jodi’s work at http://www.theartfulowl.com/.