GREENSBURG — For seven hours on Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., the city became a canvas, with artists from around the region sitting down to their palettes and recreating slices-of-life from the city we call home.
By noon, 20 participants had registered for the sixth annual Plein Air Paint Out, Painting the Town, hosted by the Arts & Cultural Council of Decatur County (ACCDC)
Volunteer Coordinator Beth Smiley told the Daily News that participating artists were free to recreate any spot in Greensburg in crafting their paintings. Some were at Rebekah Park; others camped out at High Point Orchard; others were at the Decatur County Fairgrounds and other spots, while a handful remained within the Courthouse square downtown.
At 3 p.m., Smiley explained, the artists gathered beneath a canopy on the Courthouse lawn, within which a metal lattice was erected where artists hung and displayed their day’s work.
The art display, Smiley said, lasted from 3 to 5 p.m., with the works available for sale.
“All the works will be on display at the Art on the Square Gallery for the entire month of August,” Smiley added, “where they’ll be available for purchase.”
Smiley offered special thanks to MainStreet Greensburg for donating the canopy under which registration and the art display were held. She also thanked all the area businesses who contributed to the Plein Air event.
“Each artist received a bag full of goodies,” she said, “items such as pens, pencils, local maps, clips and other things promoting Greensburg. We want to thank our sponsors for making those possible.”
Those sponsors included Anytime Fitness; Decatur County Farmers Mutual Insurance; MDL Coffee & Tea – The Fine Grind; Urgent Care; Decatur County Tourism; and the Decatur County Community Foundation.
Judith Richey, Art on the Square Committee Chairwoman, was one of the day’s participating artists. She camped out in front of the Art on the Square Gallery, recreating a building from a picture taken at the Charles Buell Nature Trail.
Although Richey was an art teacher at Greensburg Community High School, retiring 12 years ago after 35 years, she confessed, “I’m not really a painter; I’m more of a print maker – wood- and linoleum-cut prints.”
Regardless, she added, as Chairwoman of the Art Gallery Committee, it’s her job to lend all the support she can to all of the Art Council’s functions.
Judy Glower chose the corner of Broadway and Washington, right by the mailbox at MainSource Bank, to recreate her slice of the city. Like Richey, Glower is a retired art teacher, having called it a career in 2001 with the closing of the old Jerman Elementary School.
“I was there 18 years,” she said, “but I was a teacher for 34 years, all of it at schools around Greensburg.”
Unlike Richey, Glower considers herself a fulltime painter. She didn’t discover her love for the medium until high school, she said. Due to a transfer during high school and quirks between the schedules of the two schools she attended, she wasn’t able to take her first art class until the final semester of senior year. It didn’t matter though, and she graduated Butler University ready to step into the classroom.
During her first few years as a teacher, she explained, she continued pursuing her love of oil painting in her spare time. Then, sometime in her 20s, she began having a reaction to the smell of the turpentine-based paints and could no longer stand to use them.
She wouldn’t paint again as a hobby until she discovered water colors in her 40s.
“I took a class here in town,” she said, “and fell in love with it.”
She’s been painting ever since, and is a member of both the Indiana and the Kentucky Water Color Societies. She regularly attends workshops through both of those, allowing her to study under notable artists from around the country. She has even been part of organized “painting trips” to both Italy and France to hone her skills.
During the two trips to Europe, she stayed in the country at night, but went out during the day for day trips where she and her groups took pictures or did sketches. At night, they returned to their lodgings to paint recreations of the pictures or sketches.
Next month, she’s off to Boone N.C., for a workshop at Cheap Joes.
“I’m a workshop junky,” she said.
Contact: Rob Cox 812-663-3111 x7011