UNION CITY, Indiana — Carol Strock Wasson, of Union City, Indiana, has been painting since she was a little girl.
She is devoted to plein air painting and is always venturing into new areas with pastel or oil. Her numerous awards include the prestigious Silver Medal Award from Indiana Heritage Arts, in 2007. She is a supporting member of numerous organizations, locally and nationally, and is represented by Gordy Fine Art, in Muncie and Editions Limited, in Indianapolis.
Her paintings often reflect her frequent trips with the Union City Plein Air Painters Group, of which she is director and teacher. Plein air painting is about leaving the four walls of the studio behind and experiencing painting and drawing in the landscape. Since the group started, about two years ago, it has grown to about 22 members. The reason for starting the group is simple.
“Because we all like to paint,” Strock Wasson said. “I talk about how important it is that to understand color, you have to go outside to paint. You learn to see color relationships outside better than in photos.”
Many established artists are in the group, such as Mary-Ellen Bertram, of Farmland. She agrees with Strock Wasson about seeing color better outside.
“Photos lie,” she said. “You also get to see how light effects color.”
But in wet weather, the group paints inside. In those cases, all is not lost, according to artist Linda DeHaven, of Union City, who is also one of the members of the co-op The Art Hub.
“You can learn a lot from painting a still-life inside,” she said. “Nothing moves and you are still painting from real life.”
According to artist Annette Warfel, of Richmond, many artists in the group didn’t start painting until they were 60. She said the group has a lot of fun.
“One of the reasons we are here, besides Carol’s expertise, is that she is very encouraging,” Warfel said. “Some of us tend to get down on ourselves, but she won’t let us.”
While watching the artists, Strock Wasson sometimes gives suggestions.
“I just think the shadow needs to be darkened a bit or add some purple and reds in there,” she said.
“Especially in here, yeah, that’s better,” artist Jean Selanders, of Greenville said. “Painting helps keep me sane in this crazy world.”
Art supplies and easels are provided by the artist, which can be expensive.
“But if it improves people’s mental health, it is worthwhile.” Strock Wasson said.
The Union City Plein Air Painters Group meets every Monday at 9 a.m. For more information, call 937-459-6492.