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The Art of Rivers

Hanover College welcomes
artists for annual Great River Paint Out

Weekend of activities,
events planned for art lovers

Lela Jane Bradshaw
Contributing Writer

(September 2009) – While Hanover College has long been known for inspiring the minds of young students, recently the school has also built a reputation for inspiring artists of all ages. This year will mark the third Great River Paint Out to take place on the picturesque campus. Held every other year, the paint out draws artists who enjoy getting out and creating art in the open air. Event coordinator and Hanover College teacher Rick Bennett explains, “The basic idea is that people come and paint outdoors in nature rather than in a studio.”

Paint out

Photo provided

The third annual Great River
Paint Out is planned for
Sept. 19-20 at Hanover College.

Indianapolis graphic designer Mary Ann Davis is an artist who returns time and again to the Great River Paint Out. Davis, 54, is active on the paint out circuit, having already participated in nine such events this year and just recently returned from a 10-day paint out in Wisconsin.
Working in pastel and oil, she enjoys creating outside noting that, “The colors are so much better, a photo flattens things.” “It’s nice to connect with your subject.”
This year’s Great River Paint Out will take place the weekend of Sept. 19-20 at Hanover College. Artists planning to take part are encouraged to register online in advance, but they may also sign up during the event. This year, the paint out will close with a special “Meet the Artists Sale and Exhibition” on the Sept. 20 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. In addition to giving the public a chance to speak with their favorite artists and purchase art created during the weekend, the complimentary event will include entertainment by the Madison Sax Quartet and hors d’oeuvres.
For those wishing to get an early start on a weekend of art, on Thursday, Sept. 17, Hanover College will host a talk and demonstration by award-wining artist and children’s book illustrator David Slonim at 7 p.m. in room 102 of Classic Hall. The Great River Paint Out is hosted and sponsored by the Rivers Institute at Hanover College and serves as a way to further the educational goals of the Institute.
“Our mission is to teach people about the natural and cultural history of rivers,” says the Director of External Relations for the Rivers Institute Marissa Austin.
While the Hanover Campus offers a variety of subjects to artists from natural landscapes to historic architecture, one of the most popular views during past paint outs has proven to be The Point. The Point is a favorite lookout spot on the campus that gives observers a spectacular view of three bends in the Ohio River. Bennett explains that “The Point is a popular place to paint going back to the 19th century and we keep that tradition going.” Artists wishing to capture a truly special view should plan on arriving early as Austin points out that “Historically we’ve had quite a few around to paint the sunrise.”
Paint Out veteran Davis has her own advice for those considering attending their first event. For artists, she points out that these events can be a wonderful way to improve their skills and discover new techniques from accomplished painters.“You just set up next to someone you admire. That’s how you learn,” recommends Davis. She also encourages those who are simply art admirers to come out and see the canvases come to life, saying, “Artists do not care if you watch.” However, she does point out the need for observers to be sensitive to the work being done. “Certain parts of the painting take full concentration,” she explains. If viewers want to speak to the artists, it is typically best to start off by observing the painters for a few minutes and “let them be the instigator of the conversation,” she suggests.
Many of the artists are willing to talk with visitors when not working on a complicated part of the painting or hurrying to capture a light effect before it fades. Paint outs are a good way for artists and art lovers to gain a deeper understanding of the craft and Davis happily reports that, “Most people in this group are very welcoming.”

• To register for the Paint Out, visit http://rivers.hanover.edu. For more information on the art of Mary Davis, visit www.madavisart.com.

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