Art of Nature

Artists return for third annual
‘Great River Paint Out’ in Hanover

Hanover College hosts artists
for outdoor painting event

Lela Jane Bradshaw
Contributing Writer

(September 2011) – For some artists, the best classroom can be found not inside a studio, but alongside a river. Many painters find that working en plein air – painting outside, in the open air – allows them the inspiration of nature and technical challenge of of racing against shifting light and unpredictable weather.
A popular facet of this artistic movement includes paint outs, or gatherings of artists who meet to paint outside in a particular location. Creating art becomes a social and education event as artists come together to compare works and exchange ideas.
National award-winning artist Mary Ann Davis of Indianapolis credits this sort of gathering as one of the ways she developed her own talents. By observing other painters in action, she was able to learn skills to apply to her own work. She encourages aspiring artists to attend a paint out and “Just set up next to someone who paints all the time – pick their brain.” The opportunity to meet with a variety of artists at a variety of stages in their careers can give painters the chance to serve as both mentor and student in the same day.

Paint Out Artist

Photo provided

Artists have plenty
of beautiful views to
paint on the Hanover
College campus,
which overlooks the
Ohio River valley.

This year the Hanover College campus will transform yet again into an outdoor art studio and classroom with the third Great River Paint out, hosted by the Rivers Institute at Hanover College. It takes place the weekend of Sept. 17-18. Also on Sunday, a special display and sale of works created during the paint out will be presented from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. The public is invited to come out and view works created on-site during the weekend and also take home a favorite piece. Many of the participating artists will be on hand to discuss their work and complimentary hors d’oeuvres will be available.
The campus setting has proven popular with artists and the event draws painters from as far away as Tennessee and Virginia. Davis will be returning for her third Great River Paint Out, and she says there is “plenty to paint” on the college grounds. Hanover professor and artist Rick Bennett cites “views of the river that are famous” and a variety in landscape that inspired him to help initiate the first Great River Paint Out.
“It's convenient to have all these different subjects within walking distance,” he explains.
Marissa Austin, director of external relations for the Rivers Institute, agrees that the 650-acre campus offers a wonderful variety of inspiration to artists. “Our architecture is wonderful. It’s very peaceful up here. It’s a nice place to paint and enjoy a natural setting.”
Austin encourages members of the community to take advantage of the fall colors with a walk on the Hanover campus, whether or not they are artists themselves. “We would love for people to come watch people paint and just enjoy the campus,” she says.
In addition to meeting other artists, paint outs put painters in contact with art lovers and collectors, as well as people just out for a casual stroll. As painters seek out striking views, hikers and nature lovers may be at the same spot, enjoying the vista. Visitors are welcome to observe the painters at work, and it is important to be respectful of the artists.
Bennett says, “You do feel a little bit exposed” when painting in public. “I think most artists appreciate a compliment” and he encourages casual spectators to pass on a quick work of praise if they have spent time watching an artist work. He believes that many of the artists who take part in such events do welcome comments but does encourage people to be sensitive to the fact that the painters are focused and not to interrupt someone who is clearly deeply engrossed in their work.
Davis agrees and notes that people observing an artist should allow the artist to take the lead in any conversation.
While many celebrated regional painters have taken part in the event in the past, artists of all ages and levels of experience are encouraged to take part. “We set out to do something that casts a wide net,” says Bennett. He believes that the welcoming environment has been a success. “We’ve had good turnouts and almost all positive experiences.”

• Advance registration is encouraged but not required for artists wishing to take part in the Great River Paint Out. Visit http://rivers.hanover.edu.

Back to September 2011 Articles.



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