Madison Chautauqua

Artists Beach, Wells selected for
2017 poster, T-shirt design

Beach captures look of Lanier Mansion
in 1840s in painting

(August 2017) – Artwork from two Madison, Ind., artists have been selected for the 2017 Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art poster and T-shirt design. Tammy Beach’s painting of the Lanier Mansion has been selected as the poster, while Patty Cooper Wells’ artwork has been selected as the T-shirt design.
The festival is scheduled for Sept. 30 - Oct. 1 – a week later than usual to precede the annual St. James Court Art Fair in Louisville, Ky.

Chautauqua Poster Signing

• The Chautauqua poster signing will be held from 10-11:30 a.m. and 4-5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 30, at the Information Tent on Broadway Street.

The poster signing will be held on Saturday during the festival at the Information Tent on Broadway Street from 10-11:30 a.m. and 4-5 p.m. A limited number of 150 poster size prints in size 16x20 inches will be available for sale for $45 each. For the first time, a smaller 11x14 size print will also be available for $25.
T-shirts and sweatshirts also will be available prior to the festival at the Lanier-Madison Visitors Center, 601 W. First St. and at the Information Tent on Broadway at the festival. T-shirts cost $16; long-sleeve T-shirt       s are $21. New this year – hoodie sweatshirts are $30.
Beach, 53, is a Madison native and a self-taught artist who began painting 20 years ago.
She also took lessons for 15 years from Nancy Townsend. She is employed full time at the Indiana Department of Child Services office, so she paints part-time at her home.

Photo by Patti Watson

Posing at the Lanier Mansion north lawn are (from left) sponsor Harry Dobbins of Harry’s Stone Grill, artist Tammy Beach and George Jackson of DPI Printing, which creates the poster from the original painting.

The painting selected is of the Lanier Mansion as it looked in 1840. She visited the Jefferson County Historical Society Archives to obtain a lithograph photo of the mansion taken in that time period. Unlike the maize color exterior that we see today, the mansion back then had red stone and white stone around the top with ornate trim.
“It’s the first building painting I’ve done,” Beach said. “I started on it last fall (2016). I don’t have a lot of time to paint.”
She continued, “I’ve always been drawn to the Lanier Mansion. I love the mansion and often go there just to chill out or when I’m stressed. I just like being by the river. I often wonder what life was like for the people who lived there.”
Beach did not create the painting with the Chautauqua in mind. She had planned to give the painting to her children or grandchildren some day. She says the mansion has special meaning to her. But then one of her friends suggested that she enter it in the contest for the Chautauqua poster.
It was a last-minute entry in June, and she won. “I didn’t think it would be selected because the mansion has been done so many times before,” she said.

Photo by Patti Watson

From left, Madison, Ind., artists Tammy Beach and Patty Cooper Wells pose with their original paintings, which earned them Chautauqua poster and T-shirt selections.

Then she learned that the original painting goes to the sponsor, Harry Dobbins of Harry’s Stone Grill.
“I was unaware that I had to give up the painting when I entered, so it was a big blow. I’m still trying to come to terms with that.”
Yet, she is content that the experience has inspired her to paint more and to even organize an exhibit of her work at the Thomas Family Winery in September or October. “I’m not sure I would have called Thomas Family Winery to request an exhibit had I not won.”
Much of her work is of musical instruments. Several years ago, Beach painted a scene of the Reuben Wells locomotive as it may have looked coming down the Madison Incline back in the 1860s. She donated the painting to Lydia Middleton Elementary School in honor of teacher Susan Ohlendorf, who retired at that time. It still hangs at the school.
Beach cherishes her finished paintings these days for a special reason: In 2004 a fire that destroyed her home also destroyed about 30 paintings she had done.
“That was really a hard thing to take on top of losing everything else,” she said.
Today, most of her paintings have been given to family members and friends.
“Any chance I get, I go paint,” she said.

Photo by Patti Watson

Artist Patty Cooper Wells poses at the Lanier Mansion with her original painting.

Wells, meantime, grew up outside of North Vernon, Ind., in Queensville. She says she always knew while growing up that she wanted to be an artist. She has followed her dream to fruition and today spends much of her time painting at her home studio on the Madison hilltop, where she has lived since 2000. Along the way, she was mentored by artist Paul E. Neufelder of Columbus, Ind.
Wells has painted several murals, including three in Madison – one on the wall and restrooms at Off Broadway Tap Room (formerly joeyg’s Restaurant and Nightclub), one on the exterior wall of Shipley’s Tavern and another inside the Madison Comfort Station on Main Street. She also was one of 16 artists who created one panel each in a collage that was done on the west side of Rogers Corner in 2009 for a special mural for the Madison Chautauqua during the Madison Bicentennial. The original artwork hangs inside Madison City Hall. Wells also was commissioned to create a piece of art to represent “Madison’s Muse” in 2016 as part of an 11-artist creation for the Madison-Jefferson County Community Foundation.
Recently, Wells painted one of four orphaned pianos that musician Brook Reindollar plans to display at outdoor events, whereby anyone can just sit down and play a song. The piano is on display at West Street Art Center.
And then there is her series of paintings of Victorian bicycles, for which she is known.
It is the latter subject that inspired her to enter the contest for either the Chautauqua poster or T-shirt design. Her image of a big-wheeled Victorian bicycle was selected for the T-shirts and fits with this year’s Chautauqua theme – “Cirque du Chautauqua.”
“The Victorian bicycles idea was inspired about 15 years ago by a neighbor of mine in North Vernon who was a chimney sweep,” said Wells, 46. “I’ve been doing them ever since and it seems it has become sort of my signature style.”
Some of her art is currently on display at Gallery 115 in downtown Madison and will likely still be there during this year’s Chautauqua. As a guest artist, she hopes to be there for one year.

Wells says she often does commissioned work of people or other subjects and is known for her bright colors. “I like to do portraits and things with action.” She also has done assemblage pieces, or collages.

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