MADISON, Ind. (November 2003) Late Sunday evening, Oct. 12,
the Celebration Belle paddlewheeler docked in Madison, Ind., carrying
only its crew, two journalists from the Quad Cities, Iowa, newspaper
and noted marine artist Michael Blaser.
The group was headed to the Tall Stacks festival in Cincinnati and
stopped in Madison to board 450 people and more crew the following
morning for the final days cruise into Cincinnati.
by Don Ward
Blaser with new print "Nocturne."
Blaser had been talked into making the nearly week-long journey aboard
the vessel, which had no showers or sleeping quarters on board for
guests. The artist and journalists had slept on the floor of the dining
room all week, but spent the night in a hotel in Madison in preparation
for the final cruise on Monday, Oct. 13.
Its been quite an adventure, more so than I ever expected,
said Blaser, a native of Davenport, Iowa, where he lives with his
wife, Gay. The couple is familiar with Madison because of Blasers
print, Madison Landing, which he sells at Binzers
Custom Framing at 301 W. Main St. Two years ago, the couple appeared
at the Madison Chautauqua, where he sold and signed prints.
On this trip, Gay was to join her husband in Cincinnati, where they
were scheduled to take part in an art festival in conjunction with
Tall Stacks. Blaser was promoting a new print of a painting titled,
One of Blasers art fans, Ralph Wischmeyer, met Blaser at the
boat ramp to talk about the trip and see the new print. Wischmeyer
owns one of Blasers original paintings, Cincinnati Morning,
and six prints.
by Don Ward
Celebration Belle leaves Madison in fog.
Theyre all over our house, said Wischemeyer, a
Cincinnati native who is an anesthesiologist at Kings Daughters
Hospital & Health Services. What I like about his paintings
are their realism they take you back to that time period.
Another Madison resident, Keith Webster, owns the original painting
of Madison Landing, 1936.
Blaser said the experience of the trip along the Mississippi and Ohio
rivers from Iowa was life-changing. He described foggy
nights and beautiful crisp fall mornings. He did some painting on
the top deck as the boat cruised.
He said he was struck by the politeness of the river people who operate
the boats and tugs, and found the language of the radio communications
Blaser has a busy schedule in the months ahead. He has been commissioned
to do a mural for a casino in Colorado and will be flown to Vancouver
to make some changes to a painting he did there.
The Celebration Belle is homeported in Moline, Ill., and can carry
up to 800 people or 660 when seated for dinner, according to Capt.
Scott Schadler. Schadler and his father, Joe, own and operate the
vessel, which has a crew of 36 when cruising. This 1,000-mile, one-way
trip was an unusually long voyage for the dinner cruise boat. Schadler
said it would take five days to return to Moline.
For information about Blasers artwork, call Binzers
at (812) 273-3873 or visit: www.michaelblaser.com.