20 Sep Artist Showcase: Studio Artist Lesley Haflich’s “Women of Noblesville”
“Do one thing every day that scares you.”- Eleanor Roosevelt
This could sum up a project that Nickel Plates Studio Artist Lesley Haflich has been working on for most of this year. She has not really considered herself a portrait painter in the past, yet she is putting paint to canvas on the portraits of approximately 30 women in the Noblesville community. From October 3-31, “The Women of Noblesville” Exhibit will be on display in the Stephenson House Gallery at Nickel Plate Arts, 107 S. 8thStreet, where Lesley has been an artist-in-residence for five years.
The idea for this show was inspired by artist Rose Frantzen, who, upon returning to her hometown of Maquota, Iowa, felt disconnected because so many of her friends and family had moved away. Rose set up her easel in a shop on the town square and had the men and women, boys and girls, and even a baby pose for about five hours for each portrait. She completed 180 12”x 12” portraits, which eventually ended up at the Smithsonian.
Lesley regarded Noblesville as the perfect size for something similar, but when the recent reincarnation of the Women’s Movement gained momentum, she thought it would be timely to focus on the women in Noblesville whose roles have allowed them to contribute significantly to the growing town. Having only painted two portraits from life previously, she invited a few women she knew to pose at her studio for an hour or so to get them in a favorable light and start a loose painting. She then took some photos which she could work from later to “get it right”. Traditionally, portraits can be somewhat stiff and solemn, and Lesley has tried to give hers liveliness with soft, expressive brushstrokes.
The list of women grew from recommendations, and before long she was painting prominent faces in the community; some of whom she had never met before. “This made me a little nervous, but everyone has been more than nice and accommodating, and it has really been fun talking and getting to know these ladies. The variety and scope of their lives is awesome.” She plans to type up a short bio on each participant to post next to their painting. Included in the show will be paintings of educators, medical professionals, attorneys, business owners, government officials, a police detective, a pastor, and – of course – artists. Having lived in Noblesville for 25 years herself, Lesley was impressed by the fact that about half of the women were born and raised here and the rest have chosen to make it their “forever home”.
Lesley has had a passion for art from a young age and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Purdue. After working as an art director for an advertising agency and sign company, she began oil painting about twelve years ago and has never looked back. She learned a lot by painting with a group of women at the Hamilton County Artists’ Association and by taking workshops from nationally known artists. “I have also valued being among the artists and staff at Nickel Plate Arts where I soak up art vibes on a daily basis. If I were painting at home, I don’t think my cats could give me the feedback I need to develop my skills.” She has also been an artist member at CCA Gallery in Carmel for seven years and regularly sells paintings at Penrod Art Fair. Her paintings are part of many public collections such as the Indianapolis Symphony, Columbia Club, Indianapolis Sailing Club, Conner Prairie Farm, Flanner and Buchanan Mortuary, Jackson Lewis Law Firm, Linet Americas and the Noblesville Mayor’s Office.
Besides getting to connect with the women of Noblesville, this project has given Lesley a direction and a goal to achieve in her daily pursuit of art. It has also encouraged her to go outside of her comfort zone.
“Forget what the world thinks of you stepping out of your place; think your best thoughts, speak your best words, do your best works, looking only to your own conscience for approval.”- Susan B. Anthony
Lesley would like to thank all those who gave their time to participate in and support “The Women of Noblesville”.
An opening reception for “The Women of Noblesville” will take place during Nickel Plate Arts’ First Friday on October 5th from 6-9pm. After the reception, guests may view the exhibit during normal gallery hours: Wednesday – Friday from noon – 5pm and Saturday from 10am – 5pm.