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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Christmas theme by December artist sets holiday mood at Vigo library

Eloise Lovell Santa Elf

Eloise Lovell, native Hoosier, born and raised in Brownsburg, now residing in beautiful North Terre Haute, is River City Art Association’s artist of the month for December. She has created a selection of holiday themed paintings for all to enjoy. This exhibit will be on display throughout the month at the Vigo County Public Library located at the corner of Poplar and Seventh Street.

“A Wish For You” is a new acrylic painting bringing her calligraphic style in this meaningful design. Another is a double painting of a Christmas scene showing a family just receiving its Christmas evergreen tree. Look closely and you will find some of Santa’s little helpers checking out to see who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. How many little elves can you find? Several other paintings are in this display.

Eloise Lovell for Web

Lovell’s art can’t be pigeonholed into one media or category. She finds that each form of art has its own appeal whether it is painting in acrylic, colored pencil, gel markers, watercolors, inks or plain #2 pencils, each one is different and special. As far as her favorite, today it is pencil, but maybe next week it might be watercolors! Her selection of subject matter also varies, however objects of nature tend to show up in many of her artworks. In addition, Lovell enjoys doing tangles and teaches this special technique.

Adding value to one’s life is how Lovell feels about art. It has been great mental health therapy during these dark days of the pandemic not only for her but many others. Whether its doodling, color book art, taking up a new art form or just enjoying an old one, doing art is satisfying. “I’ve had a life-long journey with doing art. It’s been an exploration and adventure all along the way.” She adds, “It isn’t necessarily the finished product, it’s in the doing.”

And A River Runs Through It-acrylic-Eloise Lovell-web

Lovell is a member of the St. Mary-of-the-Woods Art Guild and the Wabash Valley Art Guild. She currently has a painting in the Arts Illiana Small Art Show in Terre Haute and RCAA’s Pearls of the Wabash exhibit in Swope Art Museum’s Education Center as a companion display to the Smithsonian Institure Water/Ways Exhibition in West Terre Haute. She can be contacted at

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RCAA displays “Pearls of the Wabash” companion exhibit to Smithsonian Institute Water/Ways Exhibit

“Pearls of the Wabash,” an artistic-themed exhibit Nov. 20 to Jan. 2 hosted by Swope Art Museum in Terre Haute, will be a companion exhibit to a Smithsonian Institute Water/Ways exhibit in West Terre Haute, hosted by RiverSCAPE.

RCAA’s exhibit will be in the Swope’s education center (former Halcyon gallery) at Seventh and Ohio streets. An opening reception is scheduled 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 20. Admission is free.

A second RCAA reception for “Pearls of the Wabash” will take place 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 3 in the same Swope location during the Miracle on 7th Street event in downtown Terre Haute. A meet and greet with some of the artists will be Noon to 6 p.m. Dec. 4.

Most of the 43 works by 16 River City Art Association artists will feature imagery with a river/water theme.

Participating artists and their medium include Edith Acton, fused glass; Richard Acton, clay; Ruthann Brady, encaustic/mixed media; Debra Butler, photography; Kara Cress, acrylic; Bob DeFrance, wood carving; Dian Der Ohanian Phillips, acrylic; Lynne Dunnavant, watercolor/oil; Sandy Fisher, acrylic; Eloise Lovell, acrylic; Alexandra McNichols-Torroledo, photography; Alice Pine, oil; Jo Rich-Vadas, pastel; Todd Stokes, etched glass; Sheila Ter Meer, photography/digital abstract; and Thomas Wright, photography.

Main Smithsonian Water/Ways events:

• The Indiana Humanities nonprofit charity organization selected West Terre Haute and host RiverSCAPE for the Smithsonian Institute Water/Ways exhibit in the Vigo County School Corp. Administration Conference Center (West Vigo Elementary School) at 501 W. Olive St. The Nov. 20-Jan. 2 exhibit highlights the role water plays in daily life and how it affects the local community.

• An historic-themed “Pearls of the Wabash” exhibit by RiverSCAPE – another companion to the Smithsonian exhibit – plays on the history of mussels in the river, their history, their influence on river industries, their influence on art and music, and local lore.

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RCAA to feature artist known for her portrait work in November library exhibit

“Cameron” – detail of original, red chalk on paper, 12”x16”, by Kari Rajkumar.

Kari Rajkumar of Paris, Illinois, is River City Art Association’s November Artist of the Month at the Vigo County Public Library at Seventh and Poplar streets in Terre Haute, Indiana.

Kari developed a love of drawing at an early age. She was homeschooled and received no formal training in art, save for a few basic drawing classes at around age 9 or 10. A pursuit of fine art as a career began at age 16 when she discovered (quite by accident) she had a gift for Realism and began receiving her first commissions.

Kari is primarily self-taught in both graphite and pastel; however, her ultimate goal was always to work in oils as well. After attending a couple of brief workshops, she began to produce oil portraits in early 2014.

“Alla Prima Apple” – oil on panel, 7”x7”, by Kari Rajkumar.

In all her portrait work, Kari wishes to highlight qualities of the subject that capture and hold her attention the longest – be it quiet confidence, or integrity, or grace of movement. Always, it is the goodness and uniqueness she sees in these individuals that compels her to memorialize it in her art.

Kari’s portraits continue to garner national and international recognition, and have been published in The Artist’s Magazine, Southwest Art Magazine, and the Pastel Journal magazine.

Kari Rajkumar putting the final touches on “Steadfast” (formerly titled Autumn Walk)

Kari gives thanks, first and foremost, to her Creator for the abilities He has given her. She desires Him to be pleased with her life and with her work.

To see more of Kari’s artwork visit her website:

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Artist of the Month gallery returns to Vigo library featuring RCAA artist Dian Der Ohanian Phillips

Lyford Barn acrylic by Dian Der Ohanian Phillips

Artwork by River City Art Association’s president Dian Der Ohanian Phillips will be featured throughout October in the Artist of the Month gallery at the Vigo County Public Library in Terre Haute.

Gallery space was put on hold in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dian explains her longtime love of Hoosier barns in her artist’s statement:
“I’ve been drawing and painting barns for more than fifty years. The earliest example is
an etching created July 1965. Having grown up in Southern Indiana, I was very familiar
with rural farmland scenes.

“So, for this first attempt at making an etching, I recall drawing this scene from memory … a gambrel-roofed barn with silo and overgrown
field. It is an iconic image and one that obviously resonated in my young mind.
“Barns evoke a sense of tradition and community, and they also reflect local architectural
styles. Some recognizable regional styles include Dutch, bank, crib and round barns.
“The exterior color and decoration of barns also has historical and practical roots. New
England settlers didn’t have enough money to paint their farms, so they needed a cheap
way to protect the barns’ wood. They mixed skimmed milk, lime and red iron oxide to
make a red, plastic-like coating. The coating protected the wood and kept barns warmer
in the winter. The color red soon became the most famous among farmers because it
was the cheapest. The tradition continues today. However, barns in Kentucky are
mostly painted black because black barns raise the heat inside, aiding the curing of
tobacco. Many got their color from creosote, which repelled termites. Sign painters also
took advantage of the size and visibility of barns in an age before billboards. “Chew Mail
Pouch Tobacco” signs were numerous in the first quarter of the 20th century.

Barn Again acrylic by Dian Der Ohanian Phillips

Dian Der Ohanian Phillips studied at Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, and received a B.F.A. in visual communications. She completed a Masters program at Indiana
University, and did additional post-graduate work at Boston University. Dian was a graphic designer/art director for the majority of her professional life, however, she continued her fine art pursuits during those years by taking drawing and painting classes. After retiring, she began painting again full-time and has participated in several group and solo exhibitions in the Midwest. She works primarily in watercolor, acrylic and oils. Her paintings and her black & white photos are strongly influenced by nature and rural scenes. Her art is in private collections throughout the United States.

Photo courtesy of RCAA photographer Debra Butler

For more works by Dian Der Ohanian Phillips go to


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Debra Butler is RCAA’s September Artist of the Month

Photography by Debra K. Butler of Terre Haute is featured in River City Art Association’s September Artist of the Month virtual exhibition created by the Vigo County Public Library in Terre Haute.

Visit the library’s YouTube presentation here

“I am honored to be the designated artist of the month of September by the River City Art Association. As an artist, I have explored various mediums but have been primarily a landscape and nature photographer for the last forty years.

“For the library show, I provided photographs taken at different times in Turkey Run State Park. I tried to select a sampling that share my attraction to beautiful places as I hiked through Turkey Run State Park. While photographing in the field, I approach it as a “plein air” painting, and work to achieve the spatial balance in the digital shot with the layout and mood I want to capture. I do very little editing on the computer.

“The scenes I have presented in this collection share the natural surroundings that bring me serenity. Though at times I wonder if I am an artist or simply a perpetual tourist, if my photographs bring you even a moment of quiet calm, I am happy to have succeeded in sharing the beautiful world I see. I hope you enjoy this sampling.”

Debra grew up in Terre Haute and graduated from high school here. In college at Purdue, she studied physics, writing, psychology and took art classes in drawing, design, and photography. She moved to California and became a lawyer, which combined her diverse fields of study. She and her husband moved back to Terre Haute at the end of 2019 for retirement.

“While finishing my law degrees, I worked in retail stores in arts and crafts supplies, and framing departments, learning the use of different art materials, and framing techniques, and enjoyed painting and working with wood in my spare time. After becoming interested in 35 mm photography, I began taking photographs as an art form in earnest. I had fun photographing ball games and surfing events for friends, but discovered I much preferred taking scenery shots.

“When my legal career was most active, I was able to continue my artistic interests by photographing my vacation travels. After I started my own law practice, I was able to occasionally sneak away for a class, and spent time learning water color painting. But photography has always been my preferred medium for documenting the world I see. Because of my work as a disability lawyer, I feel a calling to capture what I see in my outings to share with less mobile friends.

“Now that I have more unstructured time, I have renewed my commitment to my artistic endeavors, and became a member of the River City Art Association, a vibrant organization of diverse artists. I recently began publicly sharing my photographs as I feel the serenity and regeneration that can be found in viewing beautiful nature scenes is especially needed now.”

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People’s Choice, Artists’ Choice awards go to Thomas Wright

River City Art Association member Thomas Wright received the People’s Choice and the Artists’ Choice awards at the close of RCAA’s 13th Annual Juried Exhibition in August at First Financial Bank in downtown Terre Haute. His photography entry, “Orange Ghost Flames,” will be included in RCAA’s display of other winning entries throughout September in the lobby of First Financial’s Springhill Bank.


Orange Ghost Flames, photography by Thomas Wright
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