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The Ephemeral Being of Light – A Muse for Artist Rosanne S. Wolfe
Fifth Musing

by Ms. Terious

Artist Rosanne S. Wolfe, first place winner for her watercolor and gouache painting titled Harrisburg Capitol in the exhibit, Icons of Harrisburg, sponsored by Harrisburg Magazine and The Smith Gallery & Fine Custom Framing states that color and light are the qualities that attract her attention to everyday life and its potential for creating art. In viewing her collection of works this becomes immediately apparent. But this muse thinks that Rosanne’s art also gives the viewer an insight into her personal spirit and soul. Her work is meticulous in detail, grounded in realism, but open enough to allow soft lines and edges to bring it all together; allowing a feeling of corporeality to exist alongside a potentiality that can be nuanced by the soft edges present. A beauty that is not glaring and demanding but subtle and pleasing in nature. Yes, this is a description of both Rosanne and her art.

Rosanne’s inspiration comes from seeing appealing things in her day-to-day life. “I can see a beautiful display of fresh fruits and vegetables in the market, or a beautiful vase or ceramic pot in a store, it could even be a special gift I received from someone, and I know in seeing it that it would make a beautiful painting.” In viewing her works, one can sense her care in creating artwork that transforms something ordinary into something that is deserving of closer inspection.

Her current work is mostly in watercolor or oil and it takes an artist’s skill to move between these mediums because of the difference in materials used; paint application, consistency of the oil or watercolor and an understanding as to what medium is best for a certain painting. She says, “There are certain pieces that speak more to me as a piece to be done in watercolor, such as botanicals… and others which I feel more would be an oil such as with a still life that I am looking at straight-on…. for instance, the style of the Dutch masters and other still life artists.” Although her early study in graphic design led her to an approach in art leaning toward realism, she also likes the softened, blurred edges used in Impressionism to create a subtleness that arouses the imagination.

In choosing the site for her award-winning painting Rosanne says, “I love the state capitol building, both inside and out … I began a walk from Second St and kept photographing the building from various directions as I walked towards the Capitol. The trees and daffodils were beginning to bloom and the colors were so pretty… I walked around to the back near the fountain looking for a new and different perspective and kept photographing. When I got home, I looked through all the photos and knew which one stood out as the building looked so beautiful with the blooming trees and blue sky surrounding the capitol dome. It was a striking image even as a photo!”

Rosanne’s art will be used for the cover of Harrisburg Magazine‘s August issue and also for Simply The Best and Readers’ Choice award plaques given by the magazine to winning businesses in the yearly Simply The Best competition. This will be the third time that Wolfe’s art has graced the front cover of a local magazine. The first two times in 2000 and 2001 were for Pennsylvania Lawyer Magazine, published by the PA Bar Association. She also has had her work used as the back cover for Pennsylvania Magazine around the same time period.

Wolfe has participated and won numerous awards over the years in juried shows for her realistic portrayals of botanicals, still life, and portraiture and she has earned signature status in the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society. She is also a member of the Portrait Society of America, the Cecelia Beaux Forum and the Philadelphia Watercolor Society. Wolfe is locally represented by The Smith Gallery.

She will be participating in three art shows this summer: July 15, BrewFest, at Fort Hunter Park; Lititz Fine Art Show, July 29 at Lititz Spring Park; and Long’s Park Art Show which is held over Labor Day weekend.

Rosanne is a Harrisburg native who has lived in the Central PA area all of her life. She is a graduate of Hershey High School. She went to Millersville College for over two years and then transferred to York Academy of Arts studying typography, illustration, and graphic design in the commercial art curriculum.  She and her family currently reside in Mechanicsburg.

When asked if she has a muse, she says, “Perhaps, it is light and color because it is so captivating. Recently I was standing at my kitchen window looking out on a rainy, cloudy day right before sunset. To the north, the sky was dark but clearing and the light was breaking through hitting the neighbor’s trees. There was a slight breeze moving the leaves on the trees and it caused this beautiful light and shadow, which just gets me – it’s the light – the colors and the light.” For Rosanne, her muse is the ephemeral being of light and the ability to catch it at just the correct moment in space and time.

There is still time to see the Icons of Harrisburg exhibit at The Smith Gallery & Fine Custom Framing and also place a bid for Rosanne’s winning art, Harrisburg Capitol, which will be auctioned as a fundraiser by Harrisburg Magazine for the Leukemia, Lymphoma Society. The finished size of her watercolor and gouache painting is 25 x 28. It is matted with a Moorman silk top mat and an inner cream mat with a silver fillet to match the underside of the railing. The piece is framed in Larson Juhl’s Louis XVI moulding from the Chateau collection, hand-finished in silver leaf in the European tradition of fine water-gilding. It is finished with TruVu Museum Glass and is ready to hang.

Currently Harrisburg Capitol is on view at  The Smith Gallery, 190 Reno Ave New Cumberland, and a bid can be placed via a QR code on display or by going to the link : Click Here to Bid!

Please visit the The Smith Gallery to view more art by these artists and many other talented artists and view our ArtTalks videos for conversations with artists.


The Tenth Muse was created to give inspiration, information and confidence to the reader.

This publication celebrates The Tenth Muse that is alive in all of us! She gives us the confidence to embrace going beyond the nine original muses.

Ms. Terious explores many subjects related to art and framing that can be used in the real world as you explore your own personal tastes and experiences without boundaries.

See all Tenth Muse articles