Painters unwind at Mounds State Park

By Jack Molitor | The Herald Bulletin | Posted: Saturday, January 10, 2015 9:15 pm

Park Place Arts painting class

Jim Knotts paints the sky around a moon in his winter landscape during a class by Park Place Arts at Mounds State Park on Saturday. The class was so popular that a second was added.

ANDERSON — Simple. Quiet. Relaxing.

Brush strokes and thoughts of nature soothed people trying their hand at acrylic painting on Saturday at Mounds State Park.

Step-by-step instructions, tips and tricks were given by art teacher Melody Carr for about 40 people who divided between a morning and afternoon class at the visitors center. The classes were offered by Park Place Arts, which will be offering more classes later in the winter.

Eliot Reed, the owner and operator of Park Place Arts, said the classes fit in nicely with the vibe at Mounds State Park.

“We’re trying to give people a chance to paint the kind of scene you’d see in the park,” Reed said. “This gives them an opportunity to expand their experience and learn something new.”

Reed said he was impressed with the turnout for the $30 classes. So many signed up that he needed to break the event into the two sessions. The subject was a forest landscape on a winter night, with bare tree trunks surrounded by snow. Reed said the blank canvas could open people’s creativity.

Jim Knotts of Anderson said the class was restful and relaxing, just what he was looking for on a Saturday afternoon.

“I always wanted to learn how to paint,” Knotts said. My mom was so good at it, and I never really got into it, but I loved to watch her. So I figured I’d get started.”

Marji Graybiel Rau made the trip from Greenwood to take the class with several relatives, including her mother, Carol Graybiel. She said she’s been a skilled painter for years, but her focus has always been oil painting, which takes longer to dry and is typically more involved than acrylics.

“I prefer oil, but this is fun, and I get to be here with family,” said Graybiel Rau.

Several people who took the class talked about how relaxing and soothing the atmosphere was.

“It’s something I always wanted to try,” said Ann Bull of Anderson, “and I like it. The size of the class is small, the instruction is good and the setting is perfect.”

Reed said the success of the classes has prompted him to schedule a follow-up class on Feb. 21, though he hasn’t settled on a time yet. He said the focus of that class will be spring landscapes.

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