Demonstration by RCAA artist Kari Rajkumar before May membership meeting

River City Art Association member Kari Rajkumar of Paris, Illinois, gave a Live Portrait Drawing demonstration on May 10 before the RCAA membership meeting in the Vigo County Public Library at Terre Haute, Indiana.

Model was RCAA member Elise Spaid-Roberts of Terre Haute.

The event was free and open to the public. Attendees were encouraged to bring a sketchbook/notepad/pencil to follow along.

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Paintings, blackout poems by RCAA’s May Artist of the Month

Elise Spaid-Roberts of Terre Haute is River City Art Association’s May Artist of the Month featured in the lobby gallery of the Vigo County Public Library.

Haven by Elise Spaid-Roberts

Art has been a way to learn about myself and process the world around me, Elise states in her artist’s statement.

My main subject matter is landscapes and allows me a bit of escapism while I’m creating. Strong influences in my subject matter comes from trips through mountains growing up, The Outer Hebrides of Scotland I visited in 2011 and the storms of the midwest.

When I’m creating blackout poetry, I spend time finding words or phrases that stand out to me before marking out the rest. This requires a high degree of focus and consideration of the final image. I use these poems to guide the paintings I make for each poem.

I also create art on a tiny scale. I tend to be a bit more playful with this process and enjoy what I can fit into a small space. My tiny art may be landscapes or more fantastical like the bottle cap doors. It all is a way to express or rest as I need.

Artwork in Elise’s exhibit includes
“Haven” featured above, Blackout Poem, Acrylic on Canvas

“Fellowship Doors”
Mixed Media Tiny Art
*These are made to look like Hobbit doors, each door represents a member of the Fellowship from JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings

Also featured will be “Spring Within”
Blackout Poem, Acrylic, Watercolor on Canvas

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Unique works of clay by RCAA artist featured in April at Vigo library

Unique clay artwork will be on display at the Vigo County Public Library during the month of April. The creator of the wall hangings is Richard Acton, a member of the River City Art Association. The Terre Haute, Indiana, artist’s work is being presented as RCAA’s Artist of the Month.

“Country Cottage” is just one example of Acton’s clay designs.

Country Cottage-Richard Acton

Country Cottage-clay design by Richard Acton

Acton’s background has been a Master of Science Degree from ISU in Industrial Arts Education, teaching at local high schools plus Maintenance supervisor at a local factory for the majority of his working years. During this time he was married and had three children; a son and two daughters. Although his busy life left very little time for artwork he soon developed a curiosity for creating clay works. He attended several classes to learn about how to manipulate clay into interesting art pieces. Classes were in North Carolina at John Campbell’s Art School, Indiana State University’s clay classes, and Vigo County Clay Classes to name a few of the efforts used to learn about his chosen medium.

The ability to create, imagine, visualize, improvise and manipulate a medium is what describes and person that can be called an artist. It does not always depend on the medium but the artist’s ability to turn it into a pleasing piece of artwork. After several learning years that is what Richard is able to do with his clay works. Not wanting to use the clay to make the typical pots and bowls he developed an unusual way to make new pieces from clay. The clay is used as a background for pictures of different things in our surroundings. There are pictures of tiny houses, lighthouses, leaves, rabbits, birds, etc. and all of them with the medium of clay.

River City Art Association meets on the second Tuesday of each month in the VCPL. Also like its Facebook page.

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RCAA artists illustrate themes from 2022 NEA Big Read selection “Beloved” for March exhibit at Vigo library

Sethe’s Beloved by Dian Der Ohanian Phillips

An art exhibit inspired by “Beloved,” a Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Toni Morrison, opens March 1 in the Vigo County Public Library at Seventh and Poplar streets in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Several themes from the 2022 National Endowment for the Arts Big Read selection will be illustrated by works in River City Art Association’s Artist of the Month gallery space in the lobby.

“Beloved” centers around Sethe, a runaway slave who kills her infant daughter to save her from a life of slavery, and the malevolent spirit of baby Beloved, who returns 18 years later to haunt her mother.

The power of love, guilt and agonizing grief, and desperation to overcome adversity are recurring scenes in the novel that Elise Spaid-Roberts interprets through the words in three of her blackout poetry paintings.

“Despair, No Stars, No Rudder,” an etched glass piece by Todd Stokes, and “Oppression,” an abstraction on canvas by Sheila K. Ter Meer, are perceptions of the physical, emotional and psychological torment Sethe’s family and friends endured to escape the brutality and indignity of slavery.

Dian Der Ohanian Phillips pulled colorful imagery from Morrison’s pages to create a watercolor on paper titled “Sethe’s Beloved,” as well as a charcoal and pastel drawing of Sethe wrapped in a quilt with two orange patches. “Brief Solace” represents warmth, comfort and protection from the cold reality of an unjust institution, especially against African-American women.

Another quilt representation created by fused glass artisan Edith Acton is believed to be one of the quilt codes for escaped slaves to follow on the Underground Railroad. The secret message of the Bear Paw block pattern assured them that they would find food and water.

Morrison’s “evocative and moving” writing also inspired Mary Mayhew’s “Future Promise,” an uplifting oil painting of the free character Denver, who shares a specific point in her life in a story she tells her sister, Beloved.

Artwork by an RCAA member is featured each month in the library. Membership details are on Facebook and at

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RCAA’s Don Turner Feb. Artist featured at Vigo library

River City Art Association’s February Artist of the Month featured by the Vigo County Public Library is Donald Turner of Terre Haute.

Donald Turner profile 2017 Art in the Park

Donald E. Turner at 2017 Art in the Park event

Each February, Turner celebrates his heritage and Black History Month. This year’s display will pay homage to former President Barrack Obama, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Oprah Winfrey and other Black contributors to U.S. history and culture.

Turner attended Butler University and Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, where he studied with renowned Indiana artist Harry Davis. He later studied art with Charles Reddington, Whitney Engeran Jr., Monty Montgomery and Dick Hay at Indiana State University.

After earning several degrees in art education, a master of arts and a master of science degrees, Turner studied watercolor painting in spring 2008 with internationally known painter Joseph Fettingis NWS at Turkey Run State Park.

After many years of teaching art in the public schools and at ISU, he retired in 2008 to start his own art business as an illustrator.

Turner’s company, Turner Graphique Designs, has created work for several well-known companies and organizations in Terre Haute and the surrounding area including Clabber Girl, Williams/Randall Marketing and Communications, and Kiwanis Club of Terre Haute.

Turner is well known in the art community for the drawings and paintings he has created for area art shows and juried exhibitions. His many honors and awards include a first place in 2016 for his pastel drawing, “The Legend of Satchmo,” at RCAA’s eighth annual juried exhibition; Best of Show in 2017 for his “Lady Day” entry in the VCPL’s Big Read Art Competition; People’s Choice award in 2019 for his “Iron Mike” graphite drawing of former heavy weight boxing champion Mike Tyson in the VCPL’s Big Read “The Big Smoke” Art Competition.

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Photographic art in January Artist of the Month exhibit at Vigo library

A mix of representational and abstract photographic art by Sheila K. Ter Meer will be featured throughout January in River City Art Association’s Artist of the Month gallery space at the Vigo County Public Library in Terre Haute.

The Brazil native has been honored for her nature photography in TREES Inc. and Indiana Nature Conservancy competitions, but finds recognition of her abstract designs most rewarding.

Her photography-based abstract titled “Vegas Elvis 1977” was juried into Swope Art Museum’s 75th Annual Wabash Valley Exhibition. Other unique designs have been selected for shows in Arts Illiana Gallery, the Indiana University-East Whitewater Valley Art Competition, and the “SELF Portrait 2019” international juried exhibition at Specto Art Space contemporary fine art gallery in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Flood of Emotions-Sheila Ter Meer-ForWeb

Flood of Emotions by Sheila Ter Meer

“To satisfy my enthusiasm for fantasy and whimsies – anything playful or fanciful, as an artistic creation – I take creative license with my photographic images to design one-of-a-kind abstractions,” Ter Meer says in her artist statement, explaining the method to her artistic madness.

“I combine digital processes with traditional photography techniques to intensify the colors and contort the form. Brilliant designs in black negative space liken some of my artistic expressions to black light and scratch board art.

“Once an abstract design is complete, the first image or emotion evoked by my mind’s eye often determines its title,” she adds. “Although, much like the Rorschach test, the subjectivity of my ‘inkblots’ is open to interpretation by the viewer.”

Ter Meer challenges viewers to study her designs and assign their own meaning before she reveals the original photographic image used to create each abstraction.

“I like to keep them guessing,” Ter Meer adds, “and experience their reactions to the transformation.”

Covid in Nature

COVID in Nature by Sheila K. Ter Meer

To make many of her unique art pieces command even more attention, Ter Meer tries to “think outside the frame.” Stripping away conventional parameters and exposing the image on canvas, leather, hardboard, wood, acrylic or metal, “creates a unique presentation and dramatic viewing experience.” One abstract, “Rainbow Galaxy,” inspired her “Somewhere” is out there … fantasm on YouTube at

In addition to the ultimate Swope honor and a Best of Show at Covered Bridge Art Association Gallery in Rockville, Ter Meer has artwork in the Permanent Art Collection at Indiana State University and at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

For more information and examples of Ter Meer’s artwork, visit

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Invitation to join

Hello all, and Happy New Year!


It’s time to renew or begin an RCAA membership. A Membership Renewal form is provided above, so you may either fill out and mail with your check … or bring to the January meeting.

Note that this month’s meeting will be held on SATURDAY, JANUARY 15, at 1 P.M. at the Vigo County Public Library, room A-B-C (downstairs).

The date and time change is in response to several members who can’t or don’t like to drive when it’s dark. This also accommodates those who work during the week … so, I hope to see a lot of members who have recently not been able to attend.

With the wonderful attendance and response we had at the December meeting, I hope to see a good showing on Jan. 15 so we can continue that momentum.

Take care, and see you soon!

Dian Der Ohanian Phillips, RCAA president

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