art of adventure
artists to tell travel stories
during Madison event
Hassard have painted
in India, other locales
Lela Jane Bradshaw
(July 2008) When artists Ray Hassard and Debra
Joyce Dawson want to paint, they dont always head to an isolated
studio. Sometimes they work in tranquil Ohio parks or on quiet Indiana
Joyce Dawson and Ray Hassard
pose with an Indian leader during
a recent trip abroad.
Other times, they travel around the world to set up their
easels on some of the busiest streets in India. Sitting down to paint
here means being quickly surrounded by a crowd of onlookers avidly interested
in watching them work. Hassard describes the experience of painting
in India, Like being on stage or in a circus.
Hassard and Dawson will be speaking on plein air painting and their
journey to India and Bhutan at a 6:30 p.m. forum Tuesday, July 15, at
the Madison-Jefferson Public Library. Their talk will include slides
of their paintings as well as pictures from their travels.
Larry Rudolech, Development Committee Chairman of the Madison Art Club,
believes the talk will appeal to anybody who enjoys art and traveling.
In addition to viewing the artists paintings, audience members
will also hear stories ranging from visits to the Taj Mahal gardens
to the practicalities of getting the finished paintings from India back
to the United States.
The term plein air painting comes from the French phrase
en plein air meaning in the open air. Plein air paintings
are completed outdoors, generally in just a couple of hours so as to
capture the impact of light on a scene. Artists are forced to work on
a timetable before the movement of the sun changes the shadows and lighting
on their subject.
Hassard, 59, of Cincinnati, explains that the brief window of opportunity
allows the painter to capture a viewpoint in a fresh, spontaneous
sort of way. Rudolech notes that plein air painting has really
become a hot little topic. There are a lot of collectors, especially
in this area.
Many plein air painters participate in paint outs where collectors and
art enthusiasts can meet the artists and watch as the paintings grow
to life. Such gatherings give the public a chance to, see what
the artists can accomplish in a few hours, says Rudolech.
Dawson, 57, of Pataskala, Ohio, notes the personal appeal of plein air
painting, For me, a lot of it has to do with loving to be outside.
Working outdoors allows the artist to respond not only to the colors
and shapes of nature, but also the sounds and scents of the open air.
Youre out there talking to people and you see the quality
of air, of light, Dawson says. Hassard believes painting outdoors
offers, a number of good things you dont get
in a studio. You have to deal with the sun moving and not fuss around
with details and paint the essence of the scene.
The outdoor painters found inspiration not only in the natural landscape
of India and Bhutan but also in the flow of people and bustle of activity
in the cities. Life is lived in the street in India, not behind
closed doors. Life is big there. It takes all of your attention to walk
down the street, Dawson recalls.
Hassard points out that to those not native to India, Its
really exotic makes it easy for an artist or photographer.
The artists found themselves watching a kaleidoscope of lavishly painted
buildings and people in beautifully dyed clothes. However, to those
used to the constant play of colors and activity, the artists
interest in these everyday sights came as a surprise. People
there ask why Im painting this boring, everyday street,
Hassard says with a laugh.
Both artists share a contagious enthusiasm for India and are certain
to delight audiences with their captivating art and stories of travel.
India is just a magical place, Dawson says. Things
felt like a 24-hour slide show of things I thought I would never see.
Hassard hopes that people will learn some good things about India.
Ever since my first trip Ive been obsessed with the place.
After hearing these artists speak, audience members should not be surprised
to find themselves wanting to pick up a brush and pack their own bags
For more information visit: www.debrajoycedawson.com
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