RCAA’s Brady, Stokes place at Olney Arts Council Fine Art Showcase

Congratulations to River City Art Association co-founding member Ruthann Brady and vice president Todd Stokes on their honors received at the 13th annual Olney Arts Council Fine Art Showcase April 10-13 in The Holiday at Olney, Illinois.

Ruthann received a first place in mixed media for an encaustic painting.
Todd was awarded second place in 3D for “Fleeting Time, Faded Memories,” etched glass with photograph.

For more information on the OAC and its Fine Arts Showcase, visit the OAC website.

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Works by RCAA members in Arts Illiana Juried Art Exhibition

WAR-hol Pop Artist by Neil Garrison

Artwork by River City Art Association members Neil Garrison, Debbie Goodin, Todd Stokes and Sheila K. Ter Meer was recently selected for the 2018 Juried Art Exhibition at Arts Illiana Gallery in Terre Haute.

Guest jurors Philip and Brenda Milliren of Terre Haute chose 58 pieces by 36 artists from Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Kentucky for the regional exhibition. All are on display through July 20.

Neil’s “WAR-hol Pop Artist” is an acrylic on canvas. A second piece, ink on illustration board, by Neil is titled “Marilyn Morel and Her Fun Guys.”

The jurors also chose two etched glass pieces by Todd Stokes, “Strata” and “Status Quo.”

“Shrouded Duet” by Debbie Goodin is a digital photo on aluminum. And “Party Girl” by Sheila Ter Meer is a glossy photography-based digital art abstraction.

A closing reception is set for 6 to 9 p.m. July 20 in the gallery at 23 N. Sixth St. in downtown Terre Haute.  Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

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RCAA members honored at Wabash Valley Art Guild Spring Art Show

“Comfortable Past” by David Gill, Best of Show at 2018 WVAG Spring Art Show

River City Art Association’s David Gill received Best of Show honors May 4 at the Wabash Valley Art Guild Annual Spring Art Show reception in Clabber Girl Bake Shop and Museum in Terre Haute. David’s “Comfortable Past” entry in the Painting category features his grandfather.

Juror Jason Krueger, curator for Indiana State University’s permanent art collection, also gave First Place in Painting to David for his entry, “Last Perfect Day.”

“Last Perfect Day” by David Gill, 1st Place, 2018 Wabash Valley Art Guild Spring Show

Seven other awards went to RCAA members Ruthann Brady, First Place in Mixed Media, “Stand Tall”; Bruce Fiscus, First in 3-D, “Nid D’oiseau Colibri” (french for bird’s nest and hummingbird); Richard Acton, Second Place, Mixed Media, “Get Off My Limb”; Sheila K. Ter Meer, Second in Photography/Digital, “Middle Child Born on the Libra-Scorpio Cusp”; Todd Stokes, Second in 3-D, “Fleeting Time-Faded Memory” and Third in Photography, “Ephemeral Forest”; and JoAnne Perigo Fiscus, Honorable Mention in Mixed Media, “Sea-sation.”

These nine works of art will be displayed alongside nine other winning entries throughout May in The Gallery at Clabber Girl.


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J. Melanie Cloutier RCAA’s May artist of the month in Vigo library

Mount Baker-J. Melanie Cloutier

An oil painting titled “Mount Baker, Bellingham, WA” is among artwork by J. Melanie Cloutier to be featured in May in River City Art Association’s Artist of the Month gallery space at the Vigo County Public Library in Terre Haute. Her drawings and paintings can be viewed May 31.

Melanie’s artist’s statement:

I have been so fortunate to always have art as a big part of me. Many of my earliest memories have had to do with drawing and expressing myself in some arty sort of way.

I have always been delighted and inspired by the beauty of nature and much of my work reflects that theme. I suppose that doesn’t make it very edgy but it is relaxing and makes me feel good. While most of my work is realistic, often with an illustrative quality to it, usually there are also areas of abstraction or impressionism in application of paint and use of color.

I like using watercolor for florals, pastel for people and pet portraits, and oil and acrylics for landscapes. I love the discipline of figure drawing and pen and ink for quick sketches. Recently, I’ve been stitching like I paint, doing extremely detailed full surface embroidery of people and pets, where the eye blends the stitches of thread. It is similar to a painting using pointillism. I only use my own photos for references, never kits. The patience and skill that it requires is really quite challenging. Although I spend a lot of time and effort on layout and composition before I start applying media no piece is so precious that it keeps me from adapting and making changes as I go. I always challenge myself to create each project better than the one before, and I am often thinking of my next painting while working on the current one.

Painting for me is meditative. At the end of the process I have something positive and physical to show for my efforts. I rely heavily on my intuition and believe the only difference between the success or failure of most work is the amount of passion you put into it. I am frequently artistically inspired by my dreams both in subject matter and problem solving. Magic occurs during the motivation and execution of ideas. Sometimes happy accidents result from the shear manipulation of media and materials. I think it is important to take the time to really “see” then understand how that makes me “feel”. Capturing that feeling is the real art.

I am infinitely curious and amused how people chose to express themselves. Creativity is not unique to just a few – many of us have the potential to express ourselves in unusual and wondrous ways. Creating art is work, but it also must be fun! If it is not fun then I don’t want to do it. I don’t necessarily set out to create art— I just do my work and if it is true, I feel it will become art. Although I have acquired a great deal of professional knowledge over the years, I will remain a student eager to learn — just as I feel we are all teachers, full of awareness and personal experiences that should be shared with others.

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River City artists to participate in Wabashiki Art Fest

Several River City Art Association members will participate in the Second Annual Wabashiki Art Fest scheduled 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 28, at Dewey Point-Wabashiki Fish & Wildlife Area in West Terre Haute.

The outdoor artisans market is a partnership between Wabash Valley Art Guild, River City Art Association. and Sullivan Area Art Guild and is open to ALL artists age 18 and older.

Participating RCAA members include Edith and Richard Acton, David Gill, Monty Jones, Elise Spaid-Roberts, Todd Stokes and Donald Turner.

The festival takes place during the Third Annual Emily’s Walk at Dewey Point Wabashiki Trailhead, and the Sisters of Providence 20th Earth Day events at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods.

Booth space is $10 for artists, which goes directly to tent rental. Artists can contact Todd Stokes (812-232-0048) with questions or to reserve a spot. Registration deadline is April 14.

Entry Form

Artists will set up 8-8:30 a.m.

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Elise Spaid-Roberts RCAA’s April artist of the month at Vigo library

In Motion by Elise Spaid-Roberts

River City Art Association member Elise Spaid-Roberts is the featured artist in April at the Vigo County Public Library in Terre Haute.

“Creating and exploring art is an important part of my life,” Elise says in her artist statement. “It is the way in which I express myself, and relate the world around me.

Elise works with a variety of media including charcoal, chalk pastels and graphite. “Most of my work is done with acrylic and watercolor paint. These mediums allow me to explore different textures and change the amount of control I have over the media itself. Most recently I have been experimenting with different styles and techniques. Especially in my painting, I slowly build up layer by layer to create the image I want. I will often experiment and end up with a completely different image from what I originally planned in my mind. That is the fun of art and learning to not get caught up in perfection.”

Elise earned her degree in art from Indiana State University in 2011.  “After graduating, I spent some time in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland meeting Gaidhlig language speakers there. My experiences and memories of the landscape left an inescapable impact on me. I often turn to those memories, the ocean and mountains as part of the inspiration in my paintings. Recently, I have been striving to work more with contrast and light and shadows in nature as well.

“Blackout poetry is an art form I discovered while in college. I have continued to do projects in blackout poetry by making entire book of blackout poems. It is a time consuming and meticulous way of creating. The visual style and concept of turning a page of text into something completely new and different is powerful to me. I look for words and phrases that stand out to me, then build my own phrase from those words. I have to be careful when making my final marks to not cover a word I need because once the marker is used, there is no going back. This can leave me agonizing over what to keep or mark over. One word can change the meaning of everything on the page. It makes me realize the importance of choosing words wisely and their impact on others.”

Elise’s artist of the month story also is featured in the ‘BASH Entertainment Guide of the Terre Haute Tribune-Star on April 5, 2018. Her “In Motion” is the cover art.

Tribune-Star Bash cover April 5 2018

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RCAA’s Jimmie R. Tabor receives People’s Choice honor at Big Read art exhibition

Jimmie Tabor with Lost Identities

The People’s Choice Award went to River City Art Association member Jimmie R. Tabor, one of eight artists participating in the Vigo County Public Library’s fourth annual Big Read Art Exhibition in March in celebration of the 2018 Big Read book selection, “When the Emperor Was Divine”  by Julie Otsuka.

At the March 26 Big Read coffee and conversation reception, Tabor received a potted orchid as his People’s Choice Award as voted by library patrons viewing the art exhibit throughout March Big Read activities at the library.

The library challenged artists of all mediums to illustrate scenes from Otsuka’s powerful novel with prevalent themes of national identity, heritage, the American dream, racial prejudice, imprisonment and alienation.

The artwork in the library’s Big Read art exhibition was a reflection of author Julie Otsuka’s story of a Japanese American family’s experience in an internment camp during World War II.

Tabor, a resident of Center Point, Indiana, entered a watercolor titled “Lost Identities.” “The Japanese Americans went to the camps willingly and were greatly confused,” Tabor said in his artist’s statement for the competition. “The children suffered a great trauma in their formative years.”

Patrons voting for Tabor’s entry include:

“The pain in their eyes reflects the sign of the times, especially for the children.”

“This portrait says a thousand words.”

“The blank expression on the children’s faces calls to mind how the mother tried to keep her children calm and obedient … it also reflects their plain existence behind barbed wire.”

RCAA artists Edith Acton and Sheila K. Ter Meer also attended the coffee and conversation reception and awards ceremony. Patrons also left comments when voting for their works.

Our House With Rose Bush by Edith Acton

Edith Acton of Terre Haute designed a fused glass wall hanging titled “Our House with Rose Bush.”

Edith said of her entry: “The family’s house was in a neighborhood that was filled with colorful trees and was a reasonably nice area. The house was two stories with a porch and gravel path. The woman had planted a rose bush that was remembered when the family returned to the house. It had been stolen from the front of the house.”

Voter’s comments:

“Loved the fused glass depiction of the family’s home with rosebush uprooted.”

“The uprooted rosebush symbolizes the family uprooted from their home.”

“The family did not lose their hope while in the camp although it was tested. They began their lives again after returning because of the kindness of people and the vision of their future in their sights.”

Somewhere … Blossoming Madly by Sheila Ter Meer

Sheila K. Ter Meer of Brazil, Indiana, created a photography-based digital art piece on fine art canvas mounted on bamboo panel titled “Somewhere … Blossoming Madly,” inspired by a line in the book: “we never stopped believing that somewhere out there, in some stranger’s backyard, our mother’s rose bush was blossoming madly…” The rosebush represents the ideal of freedom. In the end, the children imagine the rosebush growing freely and without restraint. In the real world, the rosebush and freedom it represents are stolen from them. It becomes a metaphor for the U.S. stealing the freedom of Japanese Americans.

Voter’s comments:

“The vivid colors stand out to me. Beautiful!”

“The rosebush represents freedom, new life, new beginnings…”

“Captures the pain, but captures the hope.”

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