SOUDERTON — After putting his artwork on hold for two or three years while he fought cancer, Sean Murphy is back at it. 

The 31-year-old has four shows going at the same time, he said at an opening reception April 19 for his display at Exhibit B Gallery on Main Street in Souderton.

Plus he works full-time as a shop manager for Bucks Lumber. Plus he's father to 2-year-old daughter Amelia.

"She likes painting with me. She's daddy's girl," Murphy said.  

Even with such a busy life, he said he spends as much time as he can on his artwork. 

"Pretty much any free time and in my lunch break at work, I sketch and try to plan out stuff," he said. 

Murphy said he does a lot of plein air painting, particularly of shore scenes.

"I mix it up between pastels, water colors, oils, some acrylic," said Murphy, who grew up in Langhorne and now lives in the Somerton section of Philadelphia.

"Day Break," one of his shore scenes from Cape May, N.J., was purchased at the opening reception by Ann Marie Kirk, co-founder and director of Art for Justice.

"I like the light, the contrast of colors," Kirk said. "I like the texture and feel of it." 

She also likes the sense of how the water meets the sky in the painting, she said. 

"It's just a lovely piece of a place that I know well," said Kirk, who showed photos on her cellphone that she had taken of the same scene. 

The display, which has a total of 31 paintings, also features several still lifes by Murphy, Exhibit B owner Harry Boardman said. 

Because of his relatively young age, he wasn't suspected of having cancer, so by the time he was diagnosed with stage 3B colon cancer, the doctors said he may have had it for five years, Murphy said. 

"They removed 75 percent of my large intestine and colon," he said.

"I had to do six months of chemo and radiation and three surgeries," he said. "I'm clean now."

The April 19 opening reception was scheduled as part of Souderton's first Third Fridays this year, but because of rain, the outdoor portions of Third Fridays had to be dropped. That still left the indoor parts, including the opening reception for Murphy's exhibit and specials at restaurants and stores, Boardman said. 

"We never say canceled," Boardman said. "We always just change what's going on and try to highlight the best of what's happening." 

An opening reception for a different featured artist is held at each of the third Fridays, he said. 

Murphy's artwork will remain on display at Exhibit B until May 11, Boardman said. The gallery also displays works by several other artists in the local region. 

"We like to work with a young, emerging artist every year and try to give them the benefit of our experience," Boardman said.

This year, that emerging artist is Murphy, he said. 

 Third Fridays in Souderton are held from 6 to 9 p.m. the third Friday of the month April through October. The next one will be Friday, May 17. 

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