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Square Deal Art Show

Artist Taylor among those featured in Square Deal Art Show

The challenge for artists
is to paint on 12x12-inch squares

(November 2017) – For one Madison, Ind., watercolor artist, art is not only a hobby, it’s a part of her. Karen Taylor, 73, started painting when she was just a little girl sitting on her father’s lap when he taught her.
“It’s a part of me; it’s who I am,” she said. “I love all my paintings. I can work on them forever because none of them are perfect, and when I am done with one and finally sign my name, I’m anxious to go on to the next because I can’t wait to paint again. Each painting you do, no matter how many you have done throughout your life, you get better, you learn more everyday.”
The Art on Main gallery plays host to multiple shows a year, but coming up is the sixth annual Square Deal Show. This show consists of artists buying a 12x12-inch canvas to paint and create their own masterpiece. Any artist in the community can participate, not just the artists from the gallery.

Photo by Sam Swartz

Karen Taylor says many artists hold misconceptions about the challenges of painting with watercolors.

The show begins Nov. 2 and lasts until Dec. 31. There is also a reception from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10. The Art on Main Gallery and Gift Shop is located at 309 W. Main St., in Madison.
“It’s so intriguing because of all the different kinds of artists and the things that they choose to do. They are all the same size, all fitting together, almost blending in like a song,” Taylor said.
This show is a great way for artists to not only show off their wonderful work, but also sell their paintings at great prices. All the canvases are priced at $99, which gives the buyers a nice little piece of the artist’s work to enjoy. Artists are also allowed to bring in more canvases of their paintings if they sell out during the show. As for Taylor’s paintings, she still is undecided what she will be painting. But one thing is for sure – she will be painting in watercolors.
“By profession, I am a watercolorist. Watercolor is my field. I like the transparency of the watercolor. It’s a completely different way of painting, and you paint in a different manner than you would with opaque colors,” Taylor said.
When people think of painting, usually oil or acrylic comes to mind. But watercolor is a different story. Watercolor is less known and often misunderstood in society within the art community.
“A lot of people are afraid of it, but once you learn how, there is not reason to be. There are ways of correcting your mistakes and ways of scrubbing out what you don’t want. They just aren’t necessarily aware of that. Back when I had classes, I would have oil painters that want to come and learn watercolor, but they can’t get their mind switched around because in one, you paint from dark to light and the other from light to dark. It’s very hard to get your mind switched,” Taylor said.
Taylor and her husband, Stephen Taylor, who is an artist, too, met at the Fort Wayne Art Institute, which at the time was transitioning into Indiana University. They applied for the artist and residency program for the National Endowment for the Arts and ended up being in the program for seven years here in Madison. The couple wasn’t originally from Madison, but they ended up staying here in the end.

Photo by Sam Swartz

Madison, Ind., watercolorist Karen Taylor enjoys painting landscapes and objects, such as flowers. At right is one of her paintings that hangs at the Art on Main gallery.

They both taught a lot of people in the community in different classes at different times for years. “My husband taught at schools, and our children become involved in their schools. We became involved in the community during that time and just fell in love with everyone here and never left. We never found our way home, so this is home,” Taylor said.
Taylor said her favorite things to paint were houses and landscape portraits. Throughout the years of painting, Taylor had many inspirations and mentors that helped her throughout her process of painting watercolors. Judi Betts, an international watercolorist, was one of her inspirations, along with Indiana artist Rob O’Dell.
“I took a lot of classes from Judi. She’s one of my very favorite watercolorists. I also painted and took classes from Rob for many years, and painted with him throughout. He has been very influential teaching me and being my mentor, helping me in many ways,” Taylor said.
Taylor has been in many shows throughout her life and participated in events such as the Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art, but now she is more localized.
“I focus my time and energy here at the art gallery. At this age, I don’t want to do that (shows and events) anymore, I’m too tired, and it takes a lot of energy.”
But that doesn’t stop her from doing what she loves.
The Square Deal Art Show is a great way to enlighten the people of the community about art. Depending on how many canvases are being shown, the show usually spans from two or three rows deep and is anticipated to be the same or better this year.
The show and the gallery encourage all artists, whether they are beginners or professionals, to participate in art.
“It enriches your life,” Taylor said. “You don’t have to understand it. You don’t have to know what is good or bad. You just have to come in and see what you like and see what people are doing. Plus, it’s important, I think to have a venue for the community to see the wonderful talent we have here. We have a lot, a lot more than what people realize. We appreciate it when people come in and learn that. The Art on Main is a best little kept secret here.”

• For more information about the Square Deal Show, visit the Art on Main Gallery or call (812) 265-2923.

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