For the morning painting demonstration, I chose a spot near the fishing pier on Lake Shakamak, one of three reservoirs in the park.
My first visitors for the day were staying at the park’s modern campgrounds for the weekend.
My painting for Shakamak features “the dock to nowhere,” all that remains of a 32-foot diving tower used for Olympic diving trials and national meets from the 1930s through the 50s. Athletes such as Esther Williams and Johnny Weissmuller (Tarzan) competed here before moving on to Hollywood.
For the afternoon, we set up under some shade trees in front of the roomy Pool Shelter next to Shakamak’s busy aquatic center.
I was impressed with the attention to detail found in the shelter’s extensive brickwork and wood trims. Many of the buildings and structures at Shakamak were constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 30s.
We are always glad to see everyone in the family participating in the art activity.
Our first completed artwork featured a variety of subjects including a happy cardinal, the brick and iron fence around the pool, and an intricate abstract of lines and color.
These young artists recognized Paints in the Parks from our visit to O’Bannon Woods State Park two years ago, and were back to participate again. I see trees, rainbows, waterslides and a dragon’s eye!
Here’s a young artist modeling his freshly painted abstract full of movement.
This young artist made full use of the glitter watercolors for her masterpiece.
This is one of our favorite group shops from all four years of the program. Note that everyone in the family is lined up to match the dad’s family portrait on the left, including the young man holding up his two paintings!
Animals and Pokemon made appearances in these artists’ colorful works.
Fun with color was a big theme in this group’s artwork, and some mischievous raccoons showed up, too. Evidently they’d made off with the family’s marshmallows the night before!
Our final artists for the day were also my first visitors in the morning. They came back to create artwork in their own unique styles and continue the creative conversation.
Paints in the Parks spent one of the most gorgeous days of the summer at Shakamak State Park in August. Created in the late 1920s from land donated by three Indiana Counties south of Terre Haute, Shakamak owes its name to the Native Americans who aided Tecumseh in his famous efforts against the U.S. and offers three manmade lakes totaling more than 400 acres. Recreational opportunities found at the park include fishing, boating, camping and hiking as well as swimming at the impressive aquatic center serving the needs of the farming community for miles around.
I spent the morning painting what I called “the dock to nowhere” on Lake Shakamak which is a remnant from diving towers that were used for swimming competitions and Olympic trials by celebrities such as Esther Williams and Johnny Weismuller. All that’s left now is an enigmatic section of dock that underscored my plein air scene. While enjoying a pleasant spot in the shade cast by a nearby grove of trees, I visited with early-rising campers who stopped by during their morning walks to check out what I was doing.
For the afternoon I moved to the spacious brick and timber pool shelter, one of many structures built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. I set up my painting activity on tables overlooking the busy aquatic center, and spent the rest of the day having some great conversations with families who stopped in to try out the water brushes and other art supplies. Many were taking a break from swimming to cool off in the shelter in their swim suits, appropriate attire for watercolors!
While Shakamak is off the beaten path, we highly recommend a trip to this beautiful park with its aquatic history and gleaming lakes. The park’s aquatic center, modern campground, family cabins, abundant wildlife and miles of trails are definitely worth a trip to the west central side of the state.