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Embracing the artistic process

By Staff | Jan 23, 2015

Tim Chapman/PCT Caroline Doucette (left) and Rita Graber, both of Rugby, discuss the former’s watercolor paintings at an artists’ gathering Wednesday morning at The Coffee Cottage.

Caroline Doucette implored a slightly hesitant Rita Graber to share the latest art she was working on.

“Yes!” Doucette said in unison with her mother Ann Marie Richard.

Graber gladly grabbed her portfolio. She shared experiences and fielded questions and praise from Doucette, Richard and Marilyn Niewoehner – fellow members of a new weekly artists gathering in Rugby.

“It’s very encouraging and inspiring,” Graber said of the club. “It’s difficult to do it on your own, but having a support group, like anything in life, is great.”

Graber said she was inspired a week earlier when the artists met at Coffee Cottage. Richard had shared some of her work, a reminder for Graber to continue working at it and enjoy the process.

Process, perseverance and patience proved themes of the discussion led by Doucette. The women shared various textbooks, supply catalogues and talked about techniques. Niewoehner said she has enjoyed five-minute painting exercises recently and Richard praised the idea of drawing upside-down to copy an image.

“It’s amazing how it looks when you’re just drawing lines,” Richard said.

The experience of the group varies from years of artwork from the mother-daughter combination from New England to a newcomer like Niewoehner. Some of the artists have taken summer courses with local artist Terry Jelsing at the Prairie Village Museum. The artists wanted to meet weekly following the 2014 collage course, but schedules didn’t match before Doucette recently set the time for Wednesdays at 9 a.m.

They hope to see more artists join and share the spirit of experimentation through art.

“As you were saying, there are plenty of closet painters around,” Niewoehner said to Doucette after sharing a new piece done at a recent workshop at Minot’s Taube Museum of Art.

“When I say I want a critique, I want to know where your eye goes,” Niewoehner said. “Tell me! I’m a big girl. I can handle it.”

Conversation shifted to fears associated with art and one’s work being seen by the public. Doucette recalled the anxiety of her first demo, which took place on Cape Cod, Mass.

“Sometimes you have to walk away, but other times you have to work through it,” she said.

Doucette has kept in touch with artists from a group she started years ago in Nashua, N.H. Through the internet, she connected with some of her friends back east and printed some of their art to critique with her new Rugby group.

The discussion includes a little bit of everything art related, including history. Doucette shared stories she heard about famous 19th century New England painter Winslow Homer. Richard proudly shared the fact that her own mother left in her will correspondence class drawings. Richard’s mother would send her drawings to instructors out-of-state and have to wait for the critique in the mail. She also cherishes a copy of a national watercolor publication that featured Doucette’s work in one issue.

For more information about the group, visit with the artists at 9 a.m. on Wednesdays at The Coffee Cottage.

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