PERU, IN — A few years back, I was invited to check out a group of area artists who get together monthly for about an hour or two in the evening to share their finished creations, chat about ideas and talk amongst themselves.
I'd been taking watercolor and drawing lessons from Logansport artist Teri Partridge but in no way considered myself an artist. Not even close. For one, I needed a ruler to draw a line and an old compact disc to trace around and create circles. But even though I was a beginner, she thought I might enjoy meeting like-minded creative types.
Why not?" I thought.
We went on a third Wednesday, which is when the Community Artists' Co-Op meets. At that time, photographers, painters, watercolorists and others gathered at Cafe Du Cirque. The walls were covered with the work of various members of the co-op while one artist's work was featured on a wall that greeted customers as they walked through the restaurant's front door.
Some of those in attendance recognized my last name when I introduced myself after the meeting started. I'm a clown town native where "Saine" is synonymous with tennis on the paternal side and bridge on the maternal side. Not being a complete stranger helped. But even if I hadn't known a soul, members made me feel at home.
I thoroughly enjoyed myself and decided to go back. Everybody had been welcoming and supportive as well as encouraging. Skill levels ran the gamut from beginning to quite accomplished. And it didn't matter that I couldn't draw a circle or a straight line. It didn't matter that I wasn't the best at drawing or that my watercolors could be a bit streaky or my acrylics a tad sloppy.
The most important requirement, and probably the only requirement, is that members try. It's not about the finished piece, it's about the willingness to put yourself out there and give it a shot.
The meeting format has changed gradually from being a bit formal with much of the time eaten up by business issues to a relaxed approach. One month, artists share their work based on a theme and the next month is wide open. Sometimes, the artists work together on a project. And at other times, there might be a workshop or someone might bring something they're working on and would like some feedback, knowing that whatever the suggestions, they would be made gently and with kindness.
Needless to say, I started to attend a bit more regularly after the approach to the meetings shifted.
The group has since had to pack up its portfolios and take them to one of the classrooms at the Peru Campus of Ivy Tech because the cafe closed down. The meetings begin at 7 p.m. and usually last about one or two hours and are held on the third Wednesday of each month.
Shortly after summer started, somebody pulled out a torn scrap of paper with a theme suggestion written on it for the month of July. I hadn't been to a meeting in quite awhile, and I hadn't created anything in months. But after "theatre" was selected, my mind kicked into full gear. I couldn't wait to get home and get started. My creative juices had been stoked.
My mom had been a hard worker her entire life and started her first job as soon as she was old enough. Among her many titles was that of movie theatre ticket taker. And the name of the theatre chain? Roxy!! With the help of Google and Bing, I found all kinds of images from Roxy theatres back in the day to a variety of other chains. From there, I moved onto refreshment stands and intermission adds. And then, drive-ins.
I had a blast, and it felt good to be pulling out sketchbooks and drawing pencils along with watercolors and acrylics, markers and gel pens. What follows are a few of what I came up with.
|This was my first drawing for the theme "theatre." |
I used a drawing pencil, Uniball black gel marker
and Inktense watercolor pencils.
|I chose this Roxy because of the unique|
front used for the chain theatre's name, using
Inktense watercolor pencils and
a variety of gel pens.
|I love using Prismacolor markers, which is what|
I used for this! And notice there's yet another
"person." in the drawing.
|I needed a bigger sheet of watercolor paper to tackle|
this painting, which was done in a Moleskine.
This required a giant step out of my comfort zone to work on
a big piece of paper and tackling
the subject matter.
|I liked this because of the name|
and the challenge of drawing the sign.
I decided it would look better
with no color except a pink gel and black marker.
|When an image search using the word "theatre," |
I saw thisCalifornia-based theatre and couldn't resist.
I used watercolors, a Pitt Artist Pen, and fluorescent gel pens.
|Same California theatre with the|
point of interest the wild
|I wanted to do this one to see if I|
could draw the cars. I only used a
black Pitt Artist Pen.
|There were a number of reasons I did this ink|
drawing. One and two were the car and
the people. And three was the misspelled word
|This one isn't finished. But the reason I chose the image|
was because I continue to be
baffled by segregation and the use of the phrase
"colored people." Offensve.
|This is an ink drawing of speakers used at|
|Yet another challenge!|
|Another unfinished piece. I fell in love with|
the photograph. The challenge was getting
the shadows right ...
|This was all about the image!|
|This one was too fun to pass up! Of course,|
the cars are cartoonish, and I changed the colors of
the drive-in's exterior.
|Prismacolor markers and because I|
liked the sign and the name of the
|After seeing a picture of this, how could I resist?|
Who remembers when these graced
the silver screen?
|I saved this one for last because it was the most|
challenging painting I've done to date. I'm really proud
of this one. I fellin love with the photograph and gave
it my best using Inktense watercolor pencils,
watercolors and markers.
If you'd like more information about
Community Artists' Co-Op,
visit: Community Artists Co-Op