Professional artists Dan Annarino, Terry Lacy, Rena Brouwer, and Alan McConnell share how the natural world has inspired their work. Each artist shares specific paintings, photographs, or other works of art inspired by nature and discussed their creative process.
Professional artists, Dan Annarino, Terry Lacy, and Alan McConnell, share how the natural world has inspired their work.
Meet the Artists
Dan was born and raised in West Lafayette, Indiana where he now resides. He received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and his MA from Purdue University. Over a thirty-year career, he has taught at Purdue University, worked in various businesses as a graphic designer for print and video production, and a fifteen-year career as a graphic designer for Purdue. Throughout the years, Dan continually worked and exhibited as a professional artist with a focus on painting. He currently works as a full-time artist and maintains a studio in downtown Lafayette, Indiana, and continues to exhibit his paintings throughout the Midwest.
Dan’s primary focus has been contemporary landscape painting, specifically the Indiana landscape. Finding inspiration is not a real challenge, sometimes it is as easy as taking a drive on the roads less traveled or a quiet hike through the woods, especially the NICHES Land Trust properties. The composition of the rural elements– the relationships between the land, horizon, sky, fields, tree lines, roads, outbuildings, and waterways– have a distinct graphic quality to them. And the complexities of deep woods, creeks, and ravines provide a creative contrast. He is especially inspired when hiking by what he sees next to the trail, the dense vegetation, trees, flowers, vines, etc. Dan is intrigued by the total chaos it presents but at the same time, it is in total harmony. There is a quiet beauty and a sense of nostalgia about the varieties of our landscape that offers nourishment for the senses and the spirit. In his paintings, Dan attempts to tap into that spirit, translate it, and share it with others.
Indiana artist, Terry Lacy, earned his BFA from Herron School of Art and his MFA degree from Indiana University. After teaching graphic design at Purdue University for eight years, he and his wife, Fran, started Lacy Design. Lacy Design combines traditional print media, illustration, and fine art such as hand papermaking to produce unique solutions to design problems.
They rehabilitated a barn into a studio with a lower room devoted completely to the production of one-of-a-kind pieces of handmade paper artwork. For over thirty years, Lacy has fine-tuned the medium of handmade paper, infusing color and his graphic design aesthetic into his stunning landscapes.
In addition to his work in handmade paper pulp paintings, Terry paints in watercolor on location, especially at NICHES sites. He has exhibited widely and also accepts commission work.
Alan has been interested in photography since high school. His first encounter with the camera and the associated darkroom procedures occurred with a two-week mini-course at his small Mid-western school in the early ’70s. Since then, he has gradually refined his skills. Over time, it became obvious to him that he loved scenes of the natural world, as well as subjects of historical significance. Around the turn of the century, his life changed in a way that allowed him to spend more time and energy to improve his art. Being an educator, he professes the philosophy that the best teacher one should have is oneself. By using an abundance of books and periodicals, he strove to maximize his potential in both the technical and artistic aspects of his art. With an evolving need to always grow, he decided to make the move to the large format camera in 2003. In 2004, he became an associate member of the Lafayette Renaissance Academy & Gallery in Lafayette, Indiana, and he exhibited at some other small galleries, shows, and competitions. In 2009, he was pleased to become a resident artist, along with watercolor artists Rena Brower, at the Opera House Gallery of Contemporary Art in Delphi, Indiana. After the renovations of the Delphi Opera House in 2016, Deborah Waymire joined Rena and Alan as the owners of the gallery.
Rena is an international award-winning watercolorist, instructor, and entrepreneur. With a passion for nature, Rena’s paintings reflect the beauty of a captured moment transposed onto paper in her unique contemporary style, one that is recognized worldwide. For over 40 years, her innate artistic gifts have led her to teach at national art conventions, colleges, museums, and community venues across the nation. Rena’s work is a voice that communicates her deepest values: Preservation of our natural resources, our heritage, and the opportunity to educate future generations. Today, you’ll find Rena as co-owner and Gallery Directory of the Opera House Gallery of Contemporary Art, located in Delphi, Indiana, where she teaches and exhibits her work. She is also an Indiana Artisan, a member of The Brown County Art Guild, Indiana Artists Club, Hoosier Salon, Indiana Plein Air Painters Association, and a Cardinal Fellow member of the Watercolor Society of Indiana.
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