(VIDEO) Local Man’s Artwork Displayed in Ford City

George Skamai, in a candid interview, tells about his artistic passion.

George Skamai may be Armstrong County’s commissioner, but his private life has been spent quietly removed from the mainstream hustle and bustle of politics.

In the quietness of his home surroundings in Rural Valley, he is a multi-talented artist, conveying his images using wood-burning techniques, watercolor, line drawings, and much more.

He was at the Ford City Library last night as his artwork was displayed to the public.

Skamai said he spent most of his teenage years as the class artist and class clown.

“Instead of taking notes in school, I would find myself doodling! It was my ability to process. I was doodling, but I was listening. Sometimes I was writing notes, but it helped me to take information in. At the time I didn’t realize it – I just got in trouble for drawing a lot!”

Skamai was known for doodling while he was Chief Clerk in the Commissioners’ office, and even now, as commissioner, has used the margin of his agenda for an occasional rendering of something while he participates in meetings.

At age 18, Skamai created his first wood carving of a hunter and a grouse. His father took it to work with him at PPG Industries in Ford City to showcase it to his coworkers. He came back and said one worker offered him $35 to sell it.

“I never dreamed it would develop to the point where I was producing artwork for (someone else).

Skamai’s artwork included a fourteen-year collection of holiday cards for his former employer. 

Skamai was working for a law firm when he began producing greeting cards for the business.

“I remember the idea the first year – they were going to take a piece of art that I created and turn it into a holiday card and print 3,500 copies. It continued for 14 years. They grew in popularity to the point that we were printing 13,000 cards each year. It was very satisfying.”

Skamai is unique in his talent, in that he has managed to create images that reflect various periods of art in our history.

“Norman Rockwell was an influence. I appreciated what he did – the story he could tell with a single piece of art. He used a technique where he exaggerated features to emphasize the point that he was trying to bring through on his art. I could never take it to that extent because I was working with people I knew. So I didn’t want to make them look like caricatures. But on the fine art, I looked at some of the Renaissance artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo de Vinci. Looking back, I see the influence, but at the time, in retrospect, it was just something that appealed to me and I wanted to reproduce that style.”

Skamai began with wood burning, requiring him to master various disciplines to create the final image.

Skamai saw a reference to this image called “Behold the Man!” and set out to create a wood carving of it, capturing the intensity with every burn of his pen. 

“I always felt that when I was doing portraits especially, that working with wood was somewhat limiting because the wood-burning pen would take the heat more readily over the grain than between the grain. So maintaining total control through that was difficult. It was time consuming. I always thought ‘If I could just do this with a pencil, paint brush, or a pen, I could do so much better.’ ”

His Catholic heritage led him to create wood art of the suffering Christ, the crucifixion, and the Virgin Mother.

Skamai said that although he had a wife and three children, he was able to find time late evening and sometimes into the wee hours of the morning to pursue his passion. Through every season of employment, he has been able to weave his art into his job – even in county government.

“I’m working on something. The cupola of the courthouse (the dome) is in disrepair. One thing I thought about doing was producing a card or a print of the courthouse. I want to take a unique angle on it because there have been enough photographs and drawings of it over the years. If I could do that somehow and get it reproduced, I would like to use the proceeds of it to go toward the repair of the cupola because it is an expensive endeavor – over $250,000.”

If you invite him over for lunch, make sure you have a pen beside his napkin at the place setting. You may end up with a masterpiece from Armstrong County’s version of Norman Rockwell.

109 comments on “(VIDEO) Local Man’s Artwork Displayed in Ford City
  1. mark says:

    Wtownma, we`re investing in ourselves to lure in potential business and residents. Armstrong County will soon be an oasis of jobs/housing and a tourism utopia. PLUS, you can buy the drug of your choice on any corner or tire shop. Judging by the wall full of tax sale properties in the sheriff`s office, there will be PLENTY of real estate available.

  2. worthingtonman says:

    I took my wife into the courthouse on Monday to pick up her carry permit and got nauseated looking at all the money this County is spending renovating the old pollacks warehouse. Why????? Is the count payroll growing so fast that they needed the annex??? The 911 center and now this big building? The reckless spending of taxpayer dollars sickens me. Do they all need big fancy county offices? These commissioners are no better than the last. They all need votes out and I will work hard to get them out as I did the last rotten bunch of fake conservatives.

  3. mark says:

    Dang it!! I forgot them again!

  4. mark says:

    Steve, I get paid whether I`m marching or fighting. And I`m not [ StillMad is gonna love this one] a boofer.

  5. mark says:

    Wow! Lotsa sour faces on HERE today! =)
    Now where`s my cute little arrows… OH!

  6. jorn jensen says:

    I agree with Mark that George Skamaii’s goal of raising money for the cupola repair is a good goal. It is a matter of priorities. Some prior priortities – $27 million Alqueda-proof 911 center out at Armsdale when they were able to run well-enough in the basement of the courthouse, $10 million contract with Motorola to dust off the radio system for 911, some multi-thousands contract with Pictometry to use aerial spaying on properties to save assessors actually having to get out of their offices and do assessments, and the list goes on. Where was the priority for the cupola all of this time?

  7. opie2 says:

    Pink Depends

  8. Rainbow Rider says:

    Steve, he’s so caught up in his crush on jensen he’s dedicated his life to fighting with those who knocked his boy down. He’s Brokeback Mountain over jensen.

  9. Rainbow Rider says:

    Everywhere he looks he sees filth. Especially the mirror….

  10. steve says:

    Wow Mark, 12 straight hours of posting on the KP site. Do you have a bathroom in your basement or just a bucket at this point?

  11. opie2 says:

    Mark stop hitting on Rainbow. I have a feeling he is not interested in you.

  12. mark says:

    OIC, filth again. Kiss your mother with that mouth RR? Bet she`s proud!

  13. Rainbow Rider says:

    WTF kind of stupid question is that?

  14. cartman says:

    First of all, I think that payingcommissioners 60+ thousand per year is ridiculous. I think that home rule would be better. Also, I do not think that it is a full time job. Skamai is indeed a talented artist. I wish I had a piece of his work. Working on his art is, to me, a lot better than sitting on his hands at the courthouse.

  15. mad-2010 says:

    “Is this a line I am seeing being drawn in the sand?” What’s wrong Sylvia Browne Psychic waves not connecting today? lol

  16. mark says:

    And RR, why do you keep typing the abbreviation of WaveTheFlag twice in each comment? =)

  17. mark says:

    Uh oh! Uh oh! Is this a line I am seeing being drawn in the sand?

  18. mad-2010 says:

    WTflag, You called Chief Diebold a liberal-pig without knowing the man’s political affiliation. Some contribution you gave the community with your crossed wired mentality, you and the HoneyCreeper are birds of a feather! lol

  19. Rainbow Rider says:

    WTF , wtf would you know about what anybody else does for the community? Especially when you don’t even know who any of us is?

  20. mad-2010 says:

    HoneyCreeper, A good dosage of Imodium A-D would do wonders for the BS flowing from your mouth! Playing Captain Marvel is a good job for a bloviating Twit like yourself! Keep-On Bloviating!

  21. mark says:

    WaveTheFlag; but what about the highly sought after KP plastic trophy? It will be meaningless if they don`t have to EARN it!
    Wow, almost hit “post comment” without the cute little arrows. Whew!

  22. WaveThatFlag says:

    Mark, I wouldn’t even acknowledge these guys if I were you. What do they do for the community other than hate on you and Jensen?

  23. mark says:

    StillMad, you forgot eye-chee-wa-wa AND the cute little arrows…

  24. mad-2010 says:

    “pot calling the kettle” Quite the hypocritical Creeper! Buckwheat, POS and Boofer comments are attributed to only one poster, You! The on topic comments should have been about the man’s accomplishments and his willingness to give back in the form of monies to fix the cupola. The Creel lawsuit and the 3 million spent on anything would also be off-topic, But, Surprise, This is a Blog and trying to steer it is Stupid, (Get the Idea, Creeper) it takes on it own flow!

  25. mark says:


  26. Rainbow Rider says:

    I work for a living. I don’t own a business. You’re trying to become the next trolling Mark. So let’s see how long it takes you to respond.
    Lyin’ el !

  27. WaveThatFlag says:

    Aren’t you the expert in ripping off customers? What is it you do for a living again . . .

  28. Rainbow Rider says:

    WTF , wtf? You’re getting weirder. Maybe go play with the trains for a little while. Rip off a few customers. It’ll be ok.

  29. WaveThatFlag says:

    I think everyone knows what one means when they refer to you as being on fire, diaper dandy.

  30. Rainbow Rider says:

    WTF , wtf are you talking about ‘on fire’? It was just a response, nothing more.
    Settle down, It’ll be ok, you poor thing.

  31. WaveThatFlag says:

    RR is on fire! You must have struck a note on his binky, Mark.

  32. Rainbow Rider says:

    I’m not the one on here whining about the posts like you and that crying wtf!
    Absolutely wrong

  33. mark says:

    pot calling the kettle

  34. Rainbow Rider says:

    WaveThatFlag February 13, 2018 at 11:32 AM
    “RR I don’t know why you are asking me to suck my thumb at Mel’s.”
    Because you’re a baby.

  35. mark says:

    Wavethe flag, I don`t think they`re old enough to drink yet.

  36. mark says:

    Eh, we`ll just let THEM make their own decisions on why you/they are here.
    I`ve already said many times, I`m here for the entertainment as funds are too low to buy any!
    But back to the story, I hope you all support the commissioner in his quest to raise money to repair the cupola. I am impressed with that goal.
    If we hadn`t had to pay the Creel settlement and the $3mil in legal fees, we`d have plenty of cash to fix it up!
    ↑↑↑↑ I love those little arrows!

  37. WaveThatFlag says:

    RR I don’t know why you are asking me to suck my thumb at Mel’s.

    I think you gents should get together – maybe Stanley’s – and you can share a hot sausage with each other. You like sausage, don’t you?

  38. Rainbow Rider says:

    “Wavetheflag, they are trying to, as RR put it, WIN the KP”
    Never said it, never even implied it.
    You twisted my statement that you are trying to get back at certain posters, especially those of us who help knock jensen off his perch. A statement that is absolutely true. It’s the only reason you’re here. Why? Well, I already answered that 😉

  39. opie2 says:

    How much does the Kittanning paper police job pay?

  40. mark says:

    Wavetheflag, they are trying to, as RR put it, WIN the KP! Hope Dave has enough plastic trophies for them all. Hate to see kids pout. LOL! But I tried StillMad, I tried… =(

  41. opie2 says:

    Why would anyone go to Mels? Go to Sheets, have a MTO and a beer.

  42. mad-2010 says:

    JJ, For a small person I’ve never been a public embarrassment to myself or my family, nor have I had to take a plea for a crime! Can you say the same, Ouch!

  43. Rainbow Rider says:

    Jorn Jensen February 13, 2018 at 9:18 AM
    “They are simply narcissists, WaveThatFlag. These small people with massive keyboards like to control things and people. Even ignoring them doesn’t make them go away.”
    You’ve had your first Township meeting as auditor, you know, the position you backed into. Did you take the Magnum with you?

  44. Rainbow Rider says:

    WaveThatFlag February 13, 2018 at 8:52 AM
    “Everyone should meet at Mel’s and talk out differences out.”
    You should go to Mel’s and suck your thumb.

  45. Rainbow Rider says:

    Opie2 February 13, 2018 at 7:29 AM
    “@ Mad, the creeper would burn the barn, then blame everyone else on here for doing it.”
    Excellent comment Opie2!
    You nailed it!
    The creepy clowns will be proud!

  46. mad-2010 says:

    JJ calling someone a narcissist has to be the All Time KP Laugher! WTFlag, What flag are you waiving?

  47. jorn jensen says:

    They are simply narcissists, WaveThatFlag. These small people with massive keyboards like to control things and people. Even ignoring them doesn’t make them go away.

  48. WaveThatFlag says:

    Everyone should meet at Mel’s and talk out differences out. I’m sure a few of you sit in there every day anyway, as some of you that won’t leave Mark and Jorn alone come off as old grumpy drunks.

  49. opie2 says:

    @ Mad, the creeper would burn the barn, then blame everyone else on here for doing it.

  50. mad-2010 says:

    @ Opie, Lil Marko is playing “Keeper of The Flame.” Better watch out or he’ll burn down Old Jubal Foster’s barn! lol

  51. mad-2010 says:

    “Trying to keep this one free of ridicule/child`s play/name calling.” Then why the “Dapper Dan” Reference? Hypocrite Much! I agree that the only recourse is at the ballot box next election. So what if they don’t play well together, Hell, look at the goings-on at the White House, not exactly hospitality central there either! It’s politics, crap happens! Vote!
    I will say this, the man is an accomplished artist.

  52. mark says:

    Resident, would you please expand on the “power” structure in our county then? I`ve always thought the commissioners had the reins!

  53. Rainbow Rider says:

    “These 3 people are being paid $180K a year with benefits and pensions. ”
    Resident, I agree but it’s MORE than 180k and then it’s, PLUS , benefits and pensions. Which is all the worse.

  54. Rainbow Rider says:

    Mark February 12, 2018 at 9:41 AM
    “Agree Watching. Was just trying to keep at least ONE topic on track.”
    How valiant of you!

  55. mark says:

    Resident, Dan Lucovich

  56. Resident says:

    Honest question: What do you expect a County Commissioner to do that requires him to be there full-time? There are 3 of them, 2 from 1 party and 1 from another. There is always going to be an ‘odd-man out’ third wheel. There is an un-elected executive responsible for the daily management of County, What’s his name, the ‘4th Commissioner’. The 3 County Commissioners have little or no control over the other elected officials and judges. They can only provider/deny funding. So what do you expect a County Commissioner to do that requires him to be there full-time? I don’t know any of these commissioners and really could care less if they get re-elected. I voted for a Home Rule charter since I think it’s a better way to go. I still do. These 3 people are being paid $180K a year with benefits and pensions. I would rather use that taxpayer funding on one person who actually has the power/authority to make a difference in the way things are done. These current 3 people don’t. They are figureheads with no real power.

  57. savvynewshound says:

    Ask the employees who is there everyday

  58. mark says:

    Agree Watching. Was just trying to keep at least ONE topic on track.
    Watchdog, I`ve heard George in the court house is the odd man out not unlike me on the KP. Hearsay.

  59. Watchingfromadistance says:

    Mark, you know that most of the those people who post on here do not have the ability to put sarcasm, name calling, etc off of this site. That’s just the way they are.

    I don’t know why David Croyle even affords them the space on his site to allow them to act this way.

  60. watchdog15 says:

    You can do something about it. WORK ON THE NEXT ELECTION SO HE IS NOT ELECTED!!!!! He doesn’t get another term. He doesn’t deserve another term. I know I am going to work against him and anyone else with big egos who don’t understand it is PUBLIC SERVICE. LAZY is not acceptable!

  61. Rainbow Rider says:

    Wrong topic Brokeback Mountain Mark! Keep it here where Revolver man is! That way he can witness your ‘desire’ to protect him! Valentine’s day is near! Maybe he’ll get you sumpin’ special! Keep it going!

  62. Rainbow Rider says:

    39 minutes! That’s better but still a little bit slow. Come on Brokeback Mountain Mark, you can do better! I’ll keep commenting and you see how fast you can troll my comment. We’ll keep it going all weekend! Imagine all the hits the KP website will get! They’ll be able to charge more for ads! Because of you! Are you ready?

  63. mark says:

    Put the sarcasm on the other topic. Trying to keep this one free of ridicule/child`s play/name calling/sexual accusations.

  64. Rainbow Rider says:

    Why did it take so long for you to troll my comment Psycho? 3 hors and 27 minutes won’t cut it! It should be 15 minutes tops!
    Maybe now Revolver jensen will answer my question about Wolfe “impersonating an officer of the law” as he accused him of several times! Come on Brokeback Mountain Mark! Troll this one!

  65. mark says:

    Yep, heeeeeee`s BACK!

  66. opie2 says:

    Now,we will get some action on current topics.

  67. Rainbow Rider says:

    Look who’s back posting

  68. jorn jensen says:

    All that can be done about it is that the voter must vote informed and responsibly in elections. These people all had ‘their party’s backing’ – that should tell you plenty. I think Pat is doing a good job. The question about being full-time commissioners was asked at the debates and meet-the-candidates and the answers were all over the map.

  69. mark says:

    Is it possible Renshaw/Fabian and Dapper Dan don`t play well with others? Hmmm? I`d be home painting too I spose. And I`ll ask again, what can be done about it? Complaining here is about all we have at this point.

  70. mark says:

    Try to stay on topic RR

  71. Rainbow Rider says:

    My comment was a test for Psycho. Just to see if he’d follow me to this topic and troll my comment.
    Note ↓↓↓↓↓

  72. mark says:

    But before this turns into a pi$$ing contest, I want to say that I DO agree with any who feel Skamai is MIA at work. I too have spoken to courthouse employees who testify to his absences. Question is, what can be DONE about it?

  73. mark says:

    And this is any different than county paying 3/4 mil in Creel lawsuit or spending 3 mil +or- in legal fees in less than a year?

  74. Rainbow Rider says:

    Watchdog , agreed. Over $60,000 salary but don’t forget about that Cadillac benefits package that’s in addition to that salary! 😉

  75. watchdog15 says:

    It is admirable the Commissioner is very talented and this effort to showcase his artwork should be commended by the Library. The sad part of this story for the taxpayers is that he is an absent Commissioner at the Courthouse and everyone in county government knows it. Just ask the staff. He was elected to serve the people who elected him (tax payers) and it appears he has used that free time at home to work on the art work and whatever he does with all that free time. Sounds like he’s doing it at work too. At over $60,000 per year salary I’m not a happy taxpayer with his attendance. Don’t use my tax dollars for working at home use them to serve the interests of the people you serve. Eliminate property taxes, fix the cupola like it should have been done, give the at will workers the compensation they deserve. The unions got increases. Everyone who works would like to do fun stuff too but our employers expect us to produce. David Croyle do your job of reporting. Haven’t seen hardly anything about the Commissioners and the work they should be doing.

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