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Versatile talent

Madison Art Gallery to feature
works by Walters-Dixon

She is one of 16
Madison Bicentennial Mural artists

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

(December 2009) – Many artists are able to create wonderful works centered on specific themes or topics they have researched and thoroughly studied. Some artists are able to concentrate on only one specific category, such as landscapes or portraits. But Madison, Ind., artist Barbara Walters-Dixon can paint it all. From pets to people to historic buildings, Walters-Dixon has created amazing pieces of work that have been sold throughout the country and abroad as well.

Barbara Walters-Dixon

Photo by Konnie McCollum

Barbara Walters-Dixon is a
versatile artist capable of painting a
variety of subjects in oil or watercolor.

More than 40 of her paintings, both oil and watercolors in a variety of sizes, will be on display in a special exhibit during January 2010 at the Madison Art Gallery, 301 E. Main St. Among her paintings are a series of 10 scenes depicting the buildings of Hanover College and numerous steam boats including the Belle of Louisville, Mississippi Queen, Delta Queen and American Queen.
Born in Louisville, Ky., Walters-Dixon was raised in Madison. It was in high school in Madison that she was heavily influenced by her art teacher, Bernie Gray.
“She was my mentor; she told me to keep painting and sketching,” said Walters-Dixon, 70.
After graduation, Walters-Dixon married, moved to Colorado and raised two children, Robert and Catherine. Although she worked as a secretary for an engineering firm, Walters-Dixon managed to find time to sing with Sweet Adelines, a top notch women’s choral group, and she continued to always sketch.
She said she never considered herself a professional artist, although her lifelong hobby has worked itself into a business. Her artwork can be found extensively throughout the country and has been purchased by people as far away as Paris.
She moved back to Madison after re-marrying and currently resides in the Steamboat House, a historic home once owned by a steamboat captain and built to resemble a steamboat. “I have a fondness for steamboats,” she said. “A friend of mine, Louis DeCar, has a book on steamboats he will let me borrow so I can paint them.”
Walters-Dixon gets her inspiration from a variety of subjects. Although she is largely confined to her home because of health issues at this point, she loves plein aire painting, particularly on the grounds of Hanover College.
She also does commission work, and is working on a series of pet portraits. “I am a detail person, so I don’t always paint as fast as other artists,” she said. The minute details of her paintings are evidence of the time she puts into her work. She said she attempts to work on her paintings every day.
“Anything she tries to paint, she succeeds,” said Annette Hackett, a friend who has become her personal helper. “I’ve been working for her for three years and she is great. It’s amazing.”
Walters-Dixon is one of the 16 artists chosen to help create the Madison Bicentennial Mural for the city’s 200th anniversary celebration. The original mural is on display at Madison City Hall, while a special replica hangs on the wall of Roger’s Corner, 101 E. Main St.
In addition to the special exhibit ongoing at the Madison Art Gallery through the month of January, Walters-Dixon is a regular member of the Madison Art Club and has small postcard-sized paintings and prints available at the gallery’s gift shop.

• For more information, visit Barbara Walters-Dixon’s website at: www.SteamboatHouseArt.com.

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