A winter garden

Madison artist Waller gets
inspiration from her garden

Waller focused her creativity
on gardening for 17 years

By Lela Jane Bradshaw
Contributing Writer

(December 2008) – Returning to her easel after a hiatus from painting, Madison, Ind., artist Teresa Waller found an exciting subject for her work right outside her doorway.
“I reached a point where I needed inspiration, and it came to me one evening while watering my garden. For about 17 years, I’ve poured all my creative energy into gardening. I am particularly fond of ‘foliage plants,’ specifically the caladium and elephant ear plants. But I hadn’t thought of painting them until that moment in 2006.”
That moment of inspiration has blossomed into an entire series of paintings that vividly capture the moment when a gardener bends close to a prized plant and enjoys the play of light on the natural colors.

Teresa Waller

Photo provided

Teresa Waller’s plant paintings will be
shown through Dec.
at the Madison
Artisans Gallery.

Teresa Waller Painting

The show, “Portraits from the Garden,” is currently on display at The Artisans Gallery and will run through Dec 28. The Gallery is located at 325 E. Main Street in Madison.
Waller explains the process behind capturing the garden plants on canvas saying, “The first experiments were strictly from life. I took the potted plants to the studio, lit them with spot lights to mimic the effect of the sun as I observed it in the garden.”
Faced with the seasonal life cycle of the plants and natural changes in the leaves, the artist then began using photography to capture particular moments in the plants’ development and to serve as references for her paintings. “Now I take lots of photographs of my plants – and of plants I see in other people’s gardens,” says Waller.
Yet, these paintings do far more than provide a simple image of the leaves. Waller, 51, stresses that “I am not trying to ‘copy’ the photograph.
In every painting there comes a time when I must put the photograph out of sight and work with the painting as a separate entity. In the end, I hope that the painting succeeds in capturing the essence of what inspired me, rather than be a ‘photo realistic’ image.”
In the past few months, Bob Maile, owner of Madison Table Works, expanded the business to include the Artisans Gallery. Inspired by the Madison Art Jam, Maile working with artist Bob Saueressig has assembled an enviable collection of functional and decorative art available for sale. The interplay between handmade chandeliers and finely crafted tables with photographs and paintings allows visitors to imagine how the items might look in an actual home setting. At any time, shoppers can enjoy the work of between 30 to 40 area artists and craftsmen. Maile is particularly proud of the range of styles presented in the gallery, from “cutting edge” sculpture and painting to traditional quilts and photographs. “We have a variety of things here, something to appeal to most people,” he notes.
The building itself provides a striking showcase for the works inside. This atmosphere is no accident. Maile explains that the goal of renovations was to recapture the history of the building, “We’ve tried to put it back to the old wagon and carriage factory look.” The result allows visitors to appreciate the art and furniture in a settling that highlights the stories behind handcrafted items.
The paintings on display have previously been shown in Louisville, so this exhibition at the Artisans Gallery marks a homecoming event for the portraits. “This series of work is special to me because it joins two thing about which I am passionate: gardening and painting,” Waller said. “The show ‘Portraits From The Garden’ is special to me because it’s here in Madison. This is where the plants grew, this is my home, this is where I have many friends and family, and this is where I paint.”
The gallery will be open for special, extended hours during the Nights Before Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes, and the Madison Art Jam on Dec. 12. During these times, visitors will have the opportunity to meet with the artist and learn more about her work and inspiration.

• For more information on The Artisans Gallery or Madison Table Works, call (812) 273-5050.

Back to December 2008 Articles.



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