Sec­ond time around

Suc­cess comes for painter af­ter busi­ness ca­reer



— It took Don Shoffner al­most 30 years to pur­sue his art pro­fes­sion­ally.

But per­haps it’s bet­ter late than never for Shoffner, who is now an award-win­ning wa­ter­col­orist.

This month, Shoffner’s serene images of barns, boats and coun­try still lifes ap­pear at The Pal­ette & The Page gallery in down­town Elk­ton. Shoffner’s paint­ings are on dis­play along­side mixed me­dia works from Deb­o­rah Arnold in the ex­hi­bi­tion “Lay­ered Land­scapes.”

Al­though Shoffner long held an in­ter­est in art, he put art on hold to pur­sue a ca­reer in mar­ket­ing. He grad­u­ated from West Ch­ester Univer­sity, where he stud­ied tex­tile de­sign at the Philadel­phia Col­lege of Tex­tiles and Sciences.

Af­ter work­ing in the busi­ness world, he fi­nally de­cided to “give this art thing a try” in 2003. He ap­proached his new ca­reer by draw­ing up a busi­ness plan. Once he


built up enough work, he en­tered ju­ried art shows. He said his suc­cess was serendip­i­tous.

His work is now for sale in sev­eral lo­cal gal­leries, and he is rep­re­sented in cor­po­rate and pri­vate col­lec­tions through­out the United States. He has been a par­tic­i­pant in nu­mer­ous group shows and as­so­ci­a­tions in Penn­syl­va­nia and New Eng­land, in­clud­ing Ch­ester County Art As­so­ci­a­tion, Buck Hill Falls Fine Arts Festival, Duxbury Art As­so­ci­a­tion, North River Arts So­ci­ety, Yel­low Springs and Dayles­ford Abbey.

He finds in­spi­ra­tion “just driv­ing around.” He grew up in Ch­ester County, Pa., and now the area’s familiar old build­ings and barns fill his works. He also has a place on Mas­sachusetts’ South Shore, so boats, lob­sters and seascapes also show up in his paint­ings.

Work­ing in water­color and In­dia ink, his works de­pict fall and win­ter scenes. He fa­vors those sea­sons be­cause the fo­liage doesn’t get in the way of his view, he ex­plained. Al­though his paint­ings are pre­sented in sub­dued col­ors, he will keep pops of color in his works – red barns, green grass, pink clouds.

Each day, he does some- Don Shoffner grew up in Ch­ester County, Pa., amid the old build­ings and barns that of­ten show up in his work.

thing re­lated to his art – some­times that’s a sketch, some­times a busi­ness spread­sheet. He has a friend with a frame shop, so he frames each piece him­self, and he said he be­lieves choos­ing the right frame is an in­te­gral part of the art­work. When he en­coun­ters “painters block” he will still try to cre­ate. That’s usu­ally when he works on his small paint­ings of fish­ing flies, a way to share his love of fish­ing.

His work is “painfully re­al­is­tic,” he said, and he is ded­i­cated to cap­tur­ing or recre­at­ing a scene down to the texture of stone found on a barn. How­ever, he said view­ers are of­ten sur­prised when they study his paint­ings up close and see he didn’t cap­ture ev­ery blade

of grass.

He will some­times work from a photo, but will also paint or sketch out­side.

“I can’t do a scene un­less I re­ally have a feel for it,” he said.

While his work stays true to what he sees, his per­sonal col­lec­tion is filled with ab­stract and ex­pres­sion­ist works from artists he knew.

Al­though his ca­reer kept him from art for sev­eral decades, he said he rec­og­nizes it also gave him the fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity to pur­sue art later in life.

Today, he said he’s just ex­cited when some­one com­pli­ments or buys his work.

“I just look for a few kind words,” he said.

“Lay­ered Land­scapes” will be on dis­play through April 29. The event is free and works are also for sale in the gallery. The Pal­ette & The Page is lo­cated at 120 E. Main St. in Elk­ton. For more in­for­ma­tion, con­tact 410-398-3636 or visit thep­alet­te­andthep­


Work­ing in water­color and In­dia ink, Don Shoffner’s works de­pict fall and win­ter scenes in their sub­dued hues.


Water­color “All the An­gles” is among the works of Don Shoffner on dis­play at The Pal­ette & The Page.


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