by Allee Gerard
"Of all the places I have painted I like Kosciusko county the best and I would like to be know as a painter of its lakes and streams," Mrs. Allee Gerard, of Country Club drive, told The Times-Union women's editor during an interview. (Photos below)
Mrs. Gerard, whose biography appears in "Who's Who in American Artists" by the American Federation of Arts, and "Who's Who in the Midwest" by A. N. Marqauiss, is rapidly becoming just that-an artist whose work is identified with the beauties of Kosciusko county.
Her paintings, especially of the Tippecanoe river and its tributaries, have received recognition wherever she has had one-man shows or has entered them in compteition. ... Upon request, Mrs. Gerard has generously written the following article for The Times-Union, hoping it might encourage those who have like talents to continue their work. (Editor)
As long as I can remember, creating things interested me and as a child I would rather draw and paint with watercolors than do my homework. For this I was sometimes punished at home and at school, and then again praised. My teacher had me draw pictures on the blackboard in colored chalk to decorate for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
At this time, art was not given much consideration. Artists generally had very little to live on, and few people had oil paintings in their homes. So, after graduation, I let myself be persuaded to take teacher training. I taught school for four years but the dream of being an artist never died.
I had been married 18 years and my son was 15 years old when Homer Davisson, one of our states fine landscape artists brought his class right into my front yard, on Country Club drive, Winona Lake. This looked like opportunity knocking at my door. I asked if I might join the class. Mr. Davisson did not seem very pleased, saying it was an advanced class and I would not fit in. I guess I must have looked so disappointed that he sold me a canvas board, primary colors and four brushes and said "Go off by yourself and paint something and tomorrow I'll se if you can join the class."
Using an old plate for a pallet and the bottom of an old ironing board for an easel, I painted the lake shore in fron of th eBurr Maish home. It was my first try with oils.
Scared stiff that Mr. Davisson would say "no," I could not swallow my dinner that night but to my relief he was very pleased next day with my picture, and after a couple of days told me that he predicted that now I had started painting, I would never quit. I studied with Mr. Davisson for several years until he told me "I had graduated."
During the winters of 1938 to 1941 I studied with Robert Connavale and Clinton Sheppard at the Miami Art school-also portrait painting with the late James Lunnon, of Coral Gables. Much help was received by studying the very fine books on art at the Warsaw library.
Members of the Warsaw Art club sponsored my first one-man show in November, 1943, at the Hotel Hays-a showing of 64 pictures.
In the next two years, one man show invitations came from many places-Fort Wayne Art museum, South Bend progress club, Peru Library gallery, sponsored by Art club, Rochester, Indiana, Tri-Kappa, Franklin college, sponsored by Tri-Kappa, Frankfort sponsored by Psi Iota Xi, Miami Beach Art center, public library, Mayfair Art Theatre, Miami, Hoosier Salon headquarters, Indianpolis, Anderson sponsored by Art club and Tri-Kappa and at Logansport, sponsored by Art club and Tri-Kappa.
During the years, I have been fortunate, as critics have awarded my paintings prizes at shows sponsored by the Hoosier Art Salon, Northern Indiana Salon, Hammond, and Fort Wayne Women's club. I received first in landscape for four years at Miami International show, and the Walter Walter's award for the most popular picture at the Women's club show, Miami.
Pictures have been exhibited many other places, including Indiana university, Wabash and Franklin colleges, Culver and Howe military academies, Ball State Teachers college, Smithsonian Institute and Federation of Women's club home, Washington, D.C., Friendship Gardens, Michigan City, Hoosier Salon, Blocks and Indiana Artists Show, Ayers, Indianpolis, Artrusia club, Gary, Lowe gallery, Miami university, Washington and Robinson galleries, Miami, Nortan gallery, West Palm Beach, and Mooresville library.
Pleasant and helpful have been my associations as a member of the Indiana Artists club, Indianapolis, National League of American Pen Women, Miami Beach, the Miami Art and Blue Dane leagues, of Miami and the American Professional league.
At the present time pictures are being exhibited at the Hoosier Salon Patrons association in Indianapolis, the Robinson galleries in Miami and the Swope gallery, Terre Haute.
To be told you have graduated is just when the real work begins. Pictures are not copies of nature. They must be so painted that all parts of the canvas are interesting. Choosing what to put in and what to leave out from the many things you see is the real test of the artist's ability.
One must always study, practice drawing and listen to the advice of others, try new methods and colors.
Exhibiting her favorite painting, a bend in Grassy Creek, tributary of the Tippecanoe river near the Barbee lake chain north east of Warsaw.
Mrs. Gerard in her Country Club drive home studio surrounded by numerous prize-winning works.
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