Thursday, February 23, 2012

Preserving Indiana

"The Farmer's Institute", 11" x 14", oil on canvas panel, $650
Opened in 1851, this was the first school of higher learning in rural Tippecanoe County and was built by the Society of Friends (Quakers).  Some foremost educators of the day taught here.  Successful operation ceased in 1874, but it continues to be used as a Meeting House by the Quakers.  I was impressed with its historical importance and wanted to paint it in the afternoon light.

Two years ago, the Indiana Plein Air Painters and the Indiana Historical Society came together to create a new book which will highlight important buildings and places in Indiana that need to be preserved.  The plein air painters, including me, began painting Indiana architecture two years ago but had to keep those paintings secret, not exhibiting them or publishing them on our web sites until they were judged in the competition to be included in the book.  That competition happened last November, and the juror was Stephen Doherty, the editor of the highly regarded Plein Air Magazine.  So now I can show you the paintings I did that were NOT included in the book.  I submitted six paintings, and three were chosen for inclusion in Painting Indiana III.  The three that will be in the book must remain a secret until it is published at the end of this year.  All the paintings submitted were required to be painted plein air, that is painted on site, and each artist had to take a photo of herself with the painting and the subject in the image to prove it was painted on site and not in the studio. Many painters succeeded in jumping through all these hoops for the book and Indiana history.
"The Brookville Cemetery Gate", 11" x 14",  oil on canvas panel,  $650
Brookville, IN was the home of Indiana Impressionist T.C. Steele and Otis Adams near the turn of the 19th century.  This historic church sits in the middle of Brookville, and its cemetery is one of the oldest in Indiana.

"Brookville Church and Cemetery", 11" x 14", oil on canvas panel,  $650
Here is another view of the historical Brookville church, one that I did not submit for the book. 
"Rappite House in New Harmony, IN", 11" x 14", oil on canvas panel, $650
New Harmony is the site of two of America's great utopian communities.  The first, Harmonie on the Wabash (1814-1824),  was founded by the Harmony Society, a group of Separatists from the German Lutheran Church.  In 1814, led by their charismatic leader Johann Gorg Rapp, they left their first American home in Harmonie, PA.  This new land in Indiana's lower Wabash Valley on the western frontier gave them the opportunity to acquire a much larger tract of land.  Their houses are still there.  Later, under the direction of the Owen family, this small village was also the site of the first public library and the first kindergarten in America.  It has been restored beautifully and is a tourist destination worth the trip.  

At the end of this year, when Painting Indiana III is published by Indiana University Press, I'll show you the other three paintings I submitted.  I hope you've enjoyed this diversion into Indiana history, and I thank you for viewing my art. 

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