Artist A. Wendy Warner Brings Verdant Scenes and Charming Portraits to Homeland


A. Wendy Warner felt a sense of oneness with art and nature as a little girl.

“It sounds sort of crazy, but I felt like I could almost touch things that were beautiful in the sense that I would drive down a mountain and lift my arm and feel as if my arm was touching the treetops,” Wendy said. “That’s how I enjoyed both the visual and the tactile.”

Wendy is the first artist of 2024 to exhibit in Homeland’s Florida Room gallery. The quarterly rotating exhibits showcase the works of local artists hand-picked by the Art Association of Harrisburg to bring artistry and beauty to the residents, staff, and visitors of Homeland.

Behind Wendy’s shimmering landscapes and piquant portraits is a determination to hone her skills through constant learning. Wendy was born in the Boston area. Her parents owned businesses, but she wanted to emulate her grandfather, an artist who painted in oils.

In her 20s, she tried to learn oil painting but put away the brushes after a few unsuccessful tries.

“I had no idea what was wrong, except that I didn’t like them,” she said.

In the meantime, she pursued a career in the nonprofit sector, helping schools and communities manage and program their grant funding.

“I felt very comfortable in the world of nonprofits,” she said. “I loved it.”

Fast forward to her retirement years. Wendy wanted to paint the faces of her “gaggle of grandchildren” – 10 of them.

“I wanted to leave something to them,” she said. “It’s a natural part of me.”

Still unsatisfied with her solo attempts, she tried a couple of teachers and finally enrolled online with Evolve Art Education. Evolve’s systematic rigor demanded commitment, but “if you just muddle through and work and work and work, I’m convinced that probably 90 percent of people can actually paint,” Wendy said.

As her work matured, Wendy served as an artist in residence at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. She also found her community with the Susquehanna Valley Plein Air Painters. ”Plein air” translates to “fresh air,” which challenges painters to sit in nature and capture a scene even as light and weather change. It’s all part of her never-ending learning trajectory.

“Getting to know people who have been painting for so many years and are so skilled, in a group where there are people of every level, was very good for me,” she said.

Going public was a big step, overcoming the feelings of vulnerability that come with “putting your work out in front of perfect strangers.” Her expert work in portraiture is attracting commissions, including winsome portraits of children and a skateboarding bulldog named Charley Girl.

A portrait of a smiling boy peeking out from the corner, posted on her website and on display at Homeland, is one of Wendy’s grandsons. Her two children live in Pennsylvania, one in Pittsburgh and one in Dillsburg, near her home.

People like to know the stories behind the artworks and their titles. Viewers at Homeland get to see “Kuerner’s Pig,” depicting an interior from the landmark Kuerner Farm in Chadds Ford, PA, that inspired artist Andrew Wyeth for decades.

Another painting at Homeland depicts a young woman wearing an enigmatic expression as her loose hair falls around her face. Its title, “Climate Change,” inspires different interpretations because “you can’t really quite figure out what’s going on with her.”

“I call it that because I see her as being so changeable,” Wendy said. “Her mood can change so quickly. You don’t know if she’s happy, whether she’s sad or whether she’s concentrating on something. You have to stop when you walk past it. You have to take a look to understand it.”

Wendy said her time in painting has been a joy.

“I still have a massive amount of learning to do, but I’m very happy with a brush in my hand,” she said. “Very, very happy.”

Wendy has heard of Homeland’s stellar reputation, and she hopes that her exhibit further brightens the hallways – and the days of its viewers.

“When you see someone walk by a painting and they stop because they need to look at it, it’s like giving a gift to someone,” she said. “It takes them away for a couple of minutes while they’re looking at it.”

Anyone interested in commissioning a custom painting is welcome to view Wendy’s portfolio and contact her at or (717) 903-4875.