Views of Versailles

Paints in the Parks was grateful to visit Versailles State Park on one of the few warm, sunny days in May. Our first program of 2019 was offered as part of National Kids in the Parks Day and a free fishing day at all Indiana state parks. While many fish were caught and released that day, many paintings were created as well.

Most of the day was spent near Versailles’ 230-acre lake built in the 1950s as an area water supply and recreation outlet. While fishing and boating are still permitted, the swimming pool complex, complete with waterslide, has replaced the lake for swimming activities. Versailles State Park also holds the honor of becoming Indiana’s first federal park in the 1930s when the Civilian Conservation Corps built the park’s infrastructure and erosion controls. In 1937, the National Park Service deeded the property to the state of Indiana to become Indiana’s second-largest state park.

I spent a pleasant  morning painting a particularly picturesque tree that cast interesting shadows against the backdrop of Versailles Lake with its fishermen and boaters. In the afternoon, I set up my hands-on painting activity in the shade of a centrally located building housing the nature center and camp store (which was very busy selling ice cream on this hot afternoon!) I interacted with plenty of folks taking advantage of the opportunity to fish without a permit in any state park this particular Saturday, and a bird watching group that gathered to hike one of many paths through hardwood forests full of a variety of wildlife, habitats, fossils, sinkholes and springs.

Despite the unusually hot temperatures that we hadn’t felt yet this year, quite a few artists joined me to paint at the table or a nearby bench while we talked about the Arts in the Parks program and their favorite subjects to paint. Many who were camping for the weekend came to the camp store for supplies, and found art as well!

After spending a pleasant few hours offering the painting activity, I relocated to a shady spot across the lake from where I’d painted in the morning with oils, and added a quick watercolor to my moleskin journal. We packed up and hit the road right before a big thunderstorm arrived to cool off the evening. As always, Paints in the Parks thanks the Versailles park staff and the Indiana Arts Commission for another successful visit to the parks.


4 thoughts on “Views of Versailles

  1. It’s so good to find you here and to see that Paints in the Parks is still humming along. What a year to try to do anything outdoors! It looks as though many had a good time with you in Versailles — there couldn’t possibly be a better combination that art and park and ice cream!


    • Maybe I should start offering ice cream with art, too! That may be the winning combination. Yes, the weather has been interesting, if not downright terrifying this year so far. Trying to catch up on my event posts in spite of the excitement.

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    • Hi Carolee! The schedule appears in a sidebar on the website, but if it’s not visible for some reason, here’s my schedule for the rest of the year: Shakamak State Park on August 3rd, Brown County State Park on August 31st, and finally Mounds State Park Nature Center on the afternoon of October 19th for an exhibit of 25 of my plein air paintings from all the parks. Refreshments will be served! Thanks for asking.


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