Joseph Skrapits began painting in 1985 as a student of the late Italian-American artist Antonio Salemme. Salemme’s intuitive, alla prima approach to oil painting stressed the structural and emotional properties of color, a practice rooted in late-19th-century post-Impressionism. Building on this foundation, Skrapits studied the painting methods of the French Impressionists while writing about art for national magazines. In the 1990s he traveled on assignment to Normandy, the Ile de France, and Provence, and made additional painting trips to Italy, Greece, England, and the Netherlands.

While these foreign locales were important to his early development as a painter, the Pennsylvania landscape near Skrapits’s home in Allentown has been and remains his primary source of inspiration. Favorite painting sites include the Jordan Creek Valley near Trexler Nature Preserve, the farmland of western Lehigh and eastern Berks counties, and the historic industrial complex along the Lehigh Canal.

Skrapits believes that the challenge of painting outdoors, in direct contact with his subjects, promotes fresh responses that stimulate creative growth.

“Wehr’s Dam, Low Water” (1999)

Image on C&C homepage: Winter Solstice, The Lehigh Canal at Freemansburg (2021)