Van Gogh had Arles, Cezzanne - Mount Sainte-Victoire and Monet had Giverny. Joshua Sterling has Oil Creek State Park.
The former reporter/editor for The Titusville Herald, left newspapering a few years ago to help Venango County figure out a lot of community issues including housing. His work for the Venango County Regional Planning Commission deals with numbers and regulations and trying to find ways to help the people of the area live better quality lives. It's rewarding but difficult work tha doesn't exactly have the creative outlet that his former jobs had,
So when he looked back on an old college class he found a kind in inspiration that let him get away from it all, focus on his thoughts and look at the world around in a different way.
He took up painting. Not wall and not some paint and sip classes to make a personalized replica of art to relax. He dove head-first into the world of Plein Air painting, a form of landscape painting done on site, in the open air and usually in a single session. He jumped into the ring with the Impressionists.
A version of this story first appeared in The Titusville Herald on June 24, 2022
This training, though it wasn’t meant to be for his artistic endeavors, was perfect for going out into the world to find something that tickles his fancy and making something that he can share with others.
When Sterling was young he gravitated toward music for his artistic expression. He played and wrote hard punk rock music. “I shouted into the microphone,” he said of his grungier sloppy music days.
His writing songs turned into other writing that calmed his voice down a bit. He worked on a novel and began writing for the local newspaper.
Sterling won’t brag about his artistic abilities. Like most artists he struggles to know if he is making anything worthy of others attention. “Anxiety is the blank canvas, I can honestly say I have no idea as I start.”
Sterling makes paintings first, worries about if they are art later.
He says he has had a few commissions, but mostly he paints because he is compelled to for himself. He’ll occasionally toss a piece into a regional show, but painting isn’t an endeavor of a monetary life for him, but of a life worth living.