Stained Glass & Watercolor
For over 50 years Peter Youngers has been bringing art to the Sterling community.
Peter found his love of art in junior high, when an outstanding art teacher developed his interest in it. After graduating from West High School in Wichita, Kan., Youngers attended the University of Wichita and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1958 with a major in painting and drawing, and then went on to earn a Master of Fine Arts from Wichita State University in painting and graphics in 1964.
In 1965, he was hired as an instructor of art at Northeastern Junior College, where he taught Two and Three Dimension Design, Painting (oil, watercolor and acrylic), Printmaking, Sculpture, Ceramics, Stained Glass, Lettering, Art History and Exhibition Techniques. At the time he only planned to stay a couple of years to get some experience, but as the years went by he couldn’t bring himself to leave.
“Sterling has been a good place for me. I’ve had tremendous support from the community in my work and what I’ve done,” Youngers said.
From 1987 to 2001, Youngers was the instructional director and associate dean of the Humanities and Human Services Division. He also served as the Director of the NJC Art Gallery from 1967 until he retired in 2001, scheduling and installing eight to 10 art exhibits each year. Youngers still continues to assist the art instructor with the gallery each year and remains an adjunct instructor.
Stained glass artwork by Peter Youngers lines the window of Sterling Creatives.
On Oct. 30, 2004, the art gallery on campus was named the Peter L. Youngers Fine Arts Gallery and a bronze bust in his honor was dedicated at that time.
Youngers’ work can be found in many states across the country, as well as in the regional art exhibits he continues to participate in.
Most of his stained glass creations, which are bolt leaded or copper foil processes, are really abstract, though one of the pieces in this exhibit is a lighthouse that he made for someone. Over the years, he has done a number of stained glass pieces that represent florals, airplanes, landscapes and so on.
“I really like the abstract nature of stained glass, with just the light reflection and the use of the different textures around us,” Youngers.
His stained glass pieces are really a cooperative project, with his wife Jeanne cutting most of his glass for him after he makes the patterns.
Youngers said his inspiration for his paintings comes from his time living in the northwest part of the country when he served in the U.S. Army, as well as his home now, the flatlands of northeast Colorado.
“I find that the landscape around here is interesting, with the subtle rolling hills,” he said. “It changes, the landscape changes constantly with the wind and the rain and the snow and the sun. You can paint the same landscape a number of times depending on if you’re there in the morning or afternoon, if it’s a cloudy day or rainy day.”
His paintings aren’t meant to be realistic though. “I like to work with the feeling that I get when I’m out in the landscape,” Youngers said.
In many of his paintings and drawings you will notice a great deal of white space used to create the design.
“I like negative space,” Youngers said. “That just kind of reinforces the line; in my stained glass and in my paintings line is important for me, the variation of line. To me it allows me to give the expression that I want to give in the particularly abstract pieces.”
He also said he uses a lot of color for expression, which creates the mood he wants to get.