I have just finished my stay as an artist in residence at Indiana Dunes National Park. Here are three finished paintings from my trip and I have plenty more in progress. The chick coop painting is now part of the National Park Collection.
This was an opportunity of a lifetime. The park and trails are something that I’ve never experienced before and being an artist there with my tools was a blessing. My art is very much intertwined with my faith in God so each day when I did my work it was in the light of His presence. I’m still growing and learning as an artist and painter. In other words, I’m a work in progress in both my faith and my art.
I want to say thank you to Jeff, Stephanie, Tommy, Sarah and Robin. These people really made my stay perfect. Jeff Mazurek is the park ranger who is in charge of this A.I.R program, Stephanie, his wife does the housing. Jeff gave me an excellent tour of the park. Tommy and Sarah were my housemates during this stay. Tommy works in maintenance at the park and Sarah is in charge of the volunteer programs. It was great getting to know them and I learned a thing or two about park life. Robin has a lovely Airbnb in Ste. Genevieve, the town where I stopped on my way to the park from Mississippi. I enjoyed visiting with her at the lake and the tour of beautiful St. Genevieve. It's truly a hidden gem. This Mississippi girl says thank y'all for your hospitality!
Jeff said something to me during the tour that stuck with me and that was "paint what inspires you". I’ve learned that makes for the best work. Paint from your heart, not your head. There were so many trails to hike and beaches to explore. There were bird-watching platforms and rivers to canoe. There was so much to take in and enjoy and I did.
I set up my easel throughout the park to do plein air painting. The Chelberg Farm inspired me the most.
Not that a ramble afield makes everything
okay, just like that. But going out alert
and open causes some chamber of the heart
that has temporarily drained to pump
again. You can remember that you can
harbor loss, hold tight to sorrow, and honor
grief, while still rejoicing in the rich gifts of
the earth… and in a world deeply flawed…
this is no small potatoes.
Robert M Pyle Orion, March/April 2005
Here are some of my takeaways for artists that participate in this program:
- Paint with a fan brush. This works great at getting the grasses.
- Wear insect repellent every day before your leave
- Bring water on your hikes (obviously but I forgot when I hiked on Cowles Bog Trail)
- Take your dinner to Lakeside Pavilion and eat it while you enjoy the sunset (you really can see the Chicago skyline across the lake)
- Visit the local art store, Firme Art, on highway 12, and buy something to support this awesome art store #buylocalthinkglobal
He wanted me to sit in it so he could get my picture. This was taken at Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk.
Robin's gazebo & lake
I recommend her place if you visit Ste. Genevieve. She took me on a tour of the countryside and showed me some of the oldest French homes from the 1750s. Thank you, Robin!
Head over here to check it out: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/25071465?source_impression_id=p3_1631369733_3NnyaWKqQUmdMmGV