Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Famous West Baden Springs Hotel

In my last blog, I gave you a "teaser" about the soon-to-happen paint-out at the 1902 West Baden Springs Hotel in West Baden, IN near French Lick and Brown County. http://www.frenchlick.com/aboutUs/history/wbsh This is how one of the web sites describes it:

An Historic Indiana Luxury Hotel
Enter the splendid atrium of West Baden Springs Hotel and feel transported back to its halcyon days. Once dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World” for its seemingly implausible six-story, free-span dome this landmark Indiana luxury hotel has been meticulously restored to its original 1902 grandeur. Timelessly elegant, this well-appointed Indiana luxury resort is a true American classic.
Timeless Elegance within this Landmark Indiana Luxury Resort

Embark upon an unforgettable Indiana luxury holiday within the grand West Baden Springs Hotel, offering two extraordinary spas, 45 holes of legendary golf and an elegant, Beaux Arts gaming establishment. 
Well, my husband and I had a fabulous time there.   The huge grounds and gardens have been beautifully restored including the four Spring Houses where visitors at the turn of the century would drink the natural mineral water for their health.  All of this spectacular architecture and gardens offered the artists a bounty of subject matter to paint.

My husband, Howie, and I spent a night in the spectacular hotel with its huge dome on the fifth floor overlooking the atrium.  Before sinking into the elegant sheets, we listened to some wonderful jazz (piano, base, drums) in the hotel along with a delicious meal.

Howie never goes anywhere without at least one guitar so you may notice a guitar and banjo behind him in the corner of the room.  He's content to play for hours while I paint, and the other artists love the background music too.   

As you can see, we all had a blast of a time, and Howie even got his portrait painted by Chris Newlund.  I painted that view of the hotel in the first photo of this blog and finished a good painting.  However, I can only show you the painting in progress because I intend to submit the finished painting to the book Painting Indiana III: Historic Architecture.  We aren't allowed to publish any paintings to be submitted so here's my painting in progress:

The canvas panel is 9" x 12" and is certainly more than half complete but just not finished.  However, this should show you the view and the impact of the painting.  On the final day of the Paint-Out, there was a very successful Painting Sale on the veranda with wine and cheese for collectors and the public to see the freshly painted works along with framed paintings we brought from home.  A big "thank you" to the sponsors of this event:  Indiana Heritage Arts org. and The Brown County Art Gallery. http://www.browncountyartgallery.org/indiana/heritagearts.html

From Sketchbook to Canvas:  Four Artists Show the Process
On September 16, an exhibition opens with my paintings along with three other oil painters at The Tippecanoe Arts Federation in Lafayette, IN.   Because this is a noncommercial gallery, we've decided to let it have an educational bent by explaining the painting process with sketches, field studies, and progressive photos of the finished work while it was being painted. My next blog will show you some of those things----so stay tuned.

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Indiana Dunes & Our Inland Ocean

Sometimes we in the Midwest forget that we have our own freshwater ocean called The Great Lakes!  Personally, I have been extremely negligent about appreciating and enjoying this amazing body of water, I'm sad to say.  This past weekend, I rediscovered its beauty and the sheer delight of watching all the families playing at its shore.  Sun and Sand!!  Can't beat that combination at Indiana's National Lake-shore, part of the  national park system.  http://www.nps.gov/indu/index.htm and the Indiana Dunes State Park http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/2980.htm. I went up with a painting buddy, Margaret Hanke, to participate in a paint-out sponsored by the Indiana Plein Air Painters Assoc. http://www.inpainters.org/, basically two days of painting where ever we wanted near the Dunes and Lake Michigan, then getting together at the end to see all the paintings complete and incomplete.   

I finished two paintings at the Dunes and put the final brush strokes on the third today.
"Indiana Dunes Lake Shore", 9" x 12", oil on canvas panel

This is a very happy painter, having found some afternoon shade after painting in full sun in the morning. All plein air painters try to paint within a time window of three hours (one painting in the morning, one in the late afternoon) because the sun changes radically after that amount of time.  Here's the painting I did from this spot:
"Indiana Dunes--Beach Play", oil on canvas panel, 9" x 12"

The quantity of sand on the Dunes is astounding!!  Some of the dunes are more than forty feet high! and we climbed one called Mt. Baldy, but this isn't it.
"Indiana Dunes--Pines",  oil on canvas panel, 8" x 10"

We're planning a fall trip back up there to see how the landscape changes color with the dying foliage and the fall light. It will no doubt be a tad cooler too which will be greatly appreciated.

My next painting excursion will be to the famous and elegant West Baden Springs Hotel in Brown County Indiana on August 19th and 20th.  Click on this link to read about French Lick and its amazing history and restoration!  http://www.frenchlick.com/aboutus/history/wbsh  and the West Baden Springs Hotel with its amazing dome--an architectural feat!  http://www.frenchlick.com/hotels/westbaden   I'm so excited to spend a night in this incredibly beautiful, turn of the 19th century hotel.  At this paint-out, the painters will be able to sell paintings completed there and to also bring other finished and framed paintings.  All paintings will be sold directly by the artist, so I hope you can come and find me.  I'll be painting outside the hotel on the porch or the grounds and will have previously finished paintings with me.  "Saturday, Aug. 20th, there will be a reception in the hotel lobby and library area from 3-5pm with music, food, and wine.  Artists may display paintings on the veranda just outside the library to sell during the reception.  Three works at a time are allowed."  If you know people who might like to attend this wonderful opportunity to see both beautiful paintings and beautiful architecture, please forward this blog to them.  

August is the crescendo of summer!  It's hard to fit it all in!  Thank you for reading about my painting life and viewing my efforts.  I always love to hear from you...