The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

October 6, 2013

Nationally known artist to lead parties, workshop


JOHNSTOWN — Even those who have never picked up a paintbrush can create a masterpiece at an art party.

Art parties and a watercolor workshop with nationally known artist Jean Pierre DeBernay will be held at Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center, 411 Third Ave. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

DeBernay leads inexperienced artists through the process of creating their own work of art by throwing an art party and inviting them to attend.

Although he was born in Normandy, France, DeBernay came to Johnstown in 1957 and is the son Paulette Carstensen, a local artist known for her work at the Community Arts Center of Cambria County, and stepson of the late Bill Carstensen, a local businessman.

Bottle Works executive director Rosemary Pawlowski said both have been good community workers.

“I saw him at the wake for his stepdad, and he thought the art district in Cambria City would be a good place for his forum,” Pawlowski said.

“His concept is to start from square one, a blank canvas. His art parties have been extremely successful and are the rage on the West Coast.”

DeBernay lives in Colorado and has been staging art parties for children displaced by various forest fires.

He also has used his art parties to raise money for fire victims, and as he travels across the country to reach Johnstown, he is stopping along the way for more art parties.

“He does them for schools, corporations and fundraisers,” Pawlowski said.

“He’s got it down. This will not be the first time he’s doing this.”

A family day art party will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon Oct. 12, and an adult art party will be held from 2:30 to 5 p.m. Oct. 13.

A 16-by-24 canvas, paints, easel and other materials will be provided.

Pawlowski said there will be 24 images of DeBernay’s work to choose from, but since he can only do one at a time, the painting to be done will be chosen democratically by each group.

For family day, the painting can be done by each individual family member or together as a group.

“He will guide them through the process to make their own painting,” Pawlowski said.

“The unique thing is, they will start with a blank canvas and by following his demonstration, they will be doing it along with him.”

She added that this won’t be paint by number.

“They will learn perspective, composition, the elements needed to create paintings,” Pawlowski said.

“Everyone ends up with their own piece of art. Jean Pierre is easygoing and pulls them through the process until they get excited about it.”

A watercolor workshop, which is designed for those who have a painting background, will be held at 9 a.m. Oct. 17.

Artists can choose a half-day session from 9 a.m. to noon or stay the entire day.

The sessions will include a demonstration followed by student participation, and students will be responsible for bringing their own materials.

“This one is self-designed,” Pawlowski said.

DeBernay has served as a designer for Hallmark, a director of an art and literary magazine and as a designer and art director for Current Inc. for 25 years.

His illustrations and calendars have been sold throughout the United States, and his work can be found in numerous corporate collections.

DeBernay has done juried exhibitions as well as one-man shows.

Preregistration is required for all sessions.

Ruth Rice covers Features for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at

If you go ...

What: Art parties and watercolor workshop with Jean Pierre DeBernay.

When: 9:30 a.m. to noon Oct. 12, family art party; 2:30 to 5 p.m. Oct. 13, adult art party; 9 a.m. Oct. 17, watercolor workshop.

Where: Bottle Works Ethnic Arts Center, 411 Third Ave. in the Cambria City section of Johnstown.

Admission: $40 per adult for art parties; $45 for half day and $80 for full day for workshop.

Information: 536-5399 or email