This was the coldest air that I’ve ever painted in, upper 30s to low 40s. Brrrrrrrr!
We had a great spot with plenty of picnic tables in the midst of all sorts of fun activities.
A group of potential painters crowd around the table full of art supplies and possibilities!
Our first group of painters planned their paintings to fit together. A great idea and wonderful teamwork!
love to see all those colors in a fluid pattern. A true watercolor!
Jalen’s jack-o-lanterns look pretty happy (especially the teeny, tiny one!)
More pumpkins and some gorgeous fall colors are starting to show up. Kudos to those who bundled up to come out and paint despite the cold.
I spy some colorful fall foliage, self-portrait and waterscape by these creative artists.
The Halloween theme continues with some ghostly specters and scary green monsters.
And the rest of the family provided plenty of pumpkins to go along with those ghosts, of course!
I really like the graveyard mood this artist created with watercolor pencils, and all the fine detail.
This family tried out all the supplies to create different kinds of paintings.
A great capture of a friendly cat, one of my favorite subjects!
Winter the cat shows up again with Ollie the Owl!
Lots of fun going on here with paints and pencils!
Beautiful rainbows and more butterflies to match this young artist’s shirt.
Trees and greenery suggest that camping theme in these young painters’ work.
I always ask and appreciate artists who agree to have their pictures taken with their art, especially the shy ones.
More rainbows on a sunny fall day. I love how the colors blend together.
I enjoyed meeting and discussing art with this experienced painter.
Another beautiful rainbow against a dramatic backdrop.
This young artist talked to me about how he painted this leaf with its striking veins.
I got a kick out of the flames coming out of this young painter’s fiery mobile!
Not only did these artists create colorful fall scenes, but they included messages as well. Very creative!
The pumpkin carving contest was another creative outlet that day.
This painting event was set up right next to the chili cook-off, the best spot on a chilly day while you’re creating art, in my opinion!
Did I mention the bonfire for warming hands, and making s’mores, of course!
I enjoyed all the creative costumes the artists were wearing as they painted.
A shout out to Julie, who participated in many of my painting events this year, and brought along her canine companions who always stole the show!
Lauren, one of Summit’s interpretive naturalists, multitasks by creating s’mores and a gorgeous painting of the lake!
This family not only created some colorful watercolors but brought along a very tasty chili for the cook-off.
Our final artwork for the visit and another Paints in the Parks season. Thanks to everyone who participated or stopped by this year, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and Indiana Arts Commission for making this Arts in the Parks and Historic Sites grant possible.
Paints in the Parks’ final park visit for 2018 took place on a very cold day at Summit Lake State Park near New Castle, Indiana, where I painted some colorful fall foliage reflected by the lake and had a blast offering my painting activity at their Spooktacular campground event, complete with pumpkin carving, chili cook-off, s’mores and very creative Halloween costumes. What a great ending to our third grant year!
Part of 2,680 acres set aside for recreation and flood control measures along the Big Blue River in the 1970s, Summit Lake’s 800-acre lake attracts woodland animals and 100-species of birds in addition to providing a home for bass, sunfish, crappies and yellow perch. Established as Indiana’s 19th state park in 1988, Summit’s name comes from its location at one of the highest elevations in the state. The park is also home to Zeigler Woods, a preserve that presents a rich variety of native flora and fauna that could be found in abundance before the area’s development in the 1800s.
In the frigid morning light, I set up my easel at one of the three boat ramps near the park’s boat rental and docks. Even though I had trouble feeling my fingers enough to hold a paintbrush, I enjoyed seeing the first flush of fall color reflected in the lake from trees along the shore. Our unusually late autumn had me itching to add some reds and oranges to all the green that I’d been painting for months. A few hardy souls ventured out in the frosty air, particularly fishermen who quickly and efficiently launched their watercraft into water that was much warmer than the cold air above it, creating misty clouds that floated above the surface like ghosts in keeping with the day’s Halloween theme.
A few hardy souls chatted with me as I struggled with my water-mixable oil paint that becomes very gooey in cold weather. While traditional oil painters can work outside in freezing temperatures without too much trouble as long as they avoid frostbite, I found out the hard way that the morning’s 38 degrees pushed the limits with medium that is water-based. That’s okay though, because my indoor studio is always available when the weather turns cold!
After a good start on a view of the shoreline’s fall foliage, I spent the rest of the day at the campground naturalist’s site, strategically located right next to the chili cook-off and a crackling fire for hand-warming and s’mores making. I offered my watercolor painting activity as part of Summit Lake’s annual Spooktacular campground weekend where prizes are given for the best-decorated campsite, the tastiest chili, and the most creative carved pumpkins. As the sun came out to stay and the day grew warmer, costumed crowds gathered to sample a long lineup of crockpots filled with spicy family recipes, construct messy chocolate and marshmallow confections, vote on the crazily creative carved pumpkins, and even test out my large array of art supplies to paint their own spooky postcards full of ghosts, ghouls and greenery.
I especially enjoyed watching artists working on several picnic tables provided by the park while sporting all kinds of costuming, from monarchs to kitchen mops (yes, really). Participants’ outfits and face paint added an amazing kaleidoscope of color to match the splashes of creativity on their canvases. At the end of a very successful few hours before the park closed the roads for their trick-or-treat parade, over 80 park visitors had stopped by our special canopy and table, with 50 children and adults creating art despite all the other wonderful diversions going on at the same time!
My fingers and heart were certainly warmed up by the time we drove off into the sunset of another fulfilling year with Indiana’s Arts in the Parks and Historic Sites grant program. As always, I’m very grateful to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Indiana Arts Commission for making this program possible. And a special thanks to everyone who participated or stopped by in 2018–your smiles at the end of the day make our park visits endlessly worthwhile!