The world is a fantastical place for Jeanette Colbert-Menas of Red Lion.
The 44-year-old artist has been a Lord of the Rings and Narnia fan since childhood, and these days she channels her imagination and love for unusual creatures into Fyrewerks, her storefront at the online arts community Etsy.
"It's always been a predominant theme in my artwork - nature, animals, fantasy," she says. "Since I was 3, I just always loved to paint and draw."
With bachelor's degrees in English and art from Mount St. Mary's University, Colbert-Menas has spent time as an art teacher but is focusing on her own work right now.
"It's very difficult to make a living off of art, but when you're an artist, your soul gets sick if you don't paint and draw," she says. "I want to write a book about the sacredness of art and the shaman as artist."
Her creativity and enthusiasm have inspired the next generation in her own household. Daughters Bethany and Jessica also have opened an Etsy shop to showcase their artistic sides.
Blooming: Colbert-Menas is joining the Bloom Art Market for the first time Friday. The festival on the third Friday of every month brings new indie artists to downtown York City to share space with established retail shops in the West Philadelphia and North Beaver streets arts environment.
"Art itself isn't something that can be defined. ... Get a bunch of artists together and just let things flow is a good idea," she says. "Art's not just the product, it's also the process, (and) the festival and market is a creative process itself."
Colbert-Menas has worked in a variety of mediums, from pen-and-ink drawings to stained glass creations.
"Now I've started doing upcycling, making wine bottles into wind chimes, bottle lamps" and other pieces, she says. "They're functional art, and people seem to like that."
For the market, she'll have wine bottle pieces as well as original acrylic paintings and low-priced prints. Her latest crazes are series featuring animal totems and dryads.
"A lot of times the paintings and drawings I do are directly inspired by something I see in nature or in my mind," she says. "I do believe that color and art speak to our spirit. (Art is) something that all human beings reach out for."
Colbert-Menas often reaches for that connection from her home studio.
"It's my own little space," says the busy mother of four. "For me, it's a place to keep everything, mom's little quiet space to paint and create."
On Friday, a little corner of York City will become home to her fantastic creations, too.
Bloom Art Market
Meet Jeanette Colbert-Menas and dozens of other local artists and crafters during the Bloom Art Market event from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday along West Philadelphia and North Beaver streets in York City. Several shops will host guest artists for the evening. Each month features a different mix, but attendees can expect to find fine art, jewelry, clothing, pottery, photography, toys and more.
This month's Bloom Art Market coincides with York City Bike Night, so the motorcycle parade and live music will be a short walk away in Continental Square.
For more information about Bloom Art Market events, call (717) 746-6278 or visit www.facebook.com/bloomartmarket.
- Reach Mel Barber at firstname.lastname@example.org.