Thursday, February 2, 2017

Chocolatey Watercolors Support Charities

Sweets for My Sweet Rose - Brenner, 2017
Sisters and Brothers, please help me welcome Jeanne Dutton from The Bloomington Watercolor Society, who is joining us to tell us about their involvement in the Annual Week of Chocolate here in Bloomington, Indiana. Thank you for joining us, Jeanne.

First, would you tell us what The Bloomington Watercolor Society is?

The Bloomington Watercolor Society (BWS), established in 2005, is an organization dedicated to the art of watercolor.  Its mission is to support and educated, and provide opportunities to exhibit the members’ artwork.  Our motto is simply, “We Paint!”  And, yes, we do!

The membership includes all skill levels from the very beginner to the professional artist, and everyone is welcome to join.  Currently, there are 90 members from Monroe and all the surrounding counties.  We have associate members from at least three other states, too, and a couple international artists.  

A group of BWS artists meets regularly for plein air painting at various sites around the area.
BWS has a record of benevolent activities with many community organizations,

 Besides LIFEDesigns, such as the Bloomington Garden Walk and Parks and Recreation.  We held a show called “We Paint…Cemeteries!” with the Monroe County History Center, and the paintings were incorporated into their very successful fund raising calendar.

Our activities are so varied that, as they say, there’s something for everyone!  You can discover more about BWS by going to, or read our newsletter at

Jeanne Dutton
How did you get involved in the society?

When I retired from Purdue University, I signed up for a class with Rena Brouwer of Delphi.  She’s a wonderful artist and teacher and lit a fire under me for watercolor.  I lived in Indianapolis for a few years and was mentored by another wonderful artist, Leah Traugot.  When it came time to move to Bloomington, the first thing on the agenda (after looking for a house, of course) was to contact BWS and sign up.  It’s a welcoming, warm group of people, all with a common bond - the love of watercolor.

How many years has BWS been participating in "The Week of Chocolate?"

This is our second year.  Gabe Colman, curator at the Venue Fine Arts and Gifts, brought the idea to us for the 2016 event.  It was an exciting opportunity and we jumped at the chance. Last year’s exhibit, “We Paint…Chocolate!” featured 30 paintings in all mediums, including an outstanding one where the artist actually combined Hershey’s cocoa with acrylic medium.  

At the "Art of Chocolate" last year, I saw some of your members selling some of their art work but this year you've teamed up with "The Vault at Gallery Mortgage" for a program called "We Paint…Mardi Gras!" How will chocolate be incorporated with this event?

This year, our exhibit at the Vault?  Well, who knows what lurks in the creative minds of 90 artists?!  It will be fun to see, that’s for sure!

Please remind us where and when "We Paint…Mardi Gras! is happening during "The Week of Chocolate?"

As last year, the Vault at Gallery Mortgage will host the exhibit, and many thanks to them for such a lovely venue!  They are located at 121 E 6th Street, kitty corner from the History Center.  The opening reception is during Gallery Walk, Friday, February 3, from 5-8 pm.  The show will hang through March 29, and can be viewed during business hours, M-F, 9 am – 5 pm.

Fleur de Lis -- Dutton, 2017
How many artists will have work at the event?

We anticipate 25-30 artists will present their work at the Vault.

At the keynote event on February 10, two watercolor artists will provide painting demonstrations.  As part of the BWS sponsorship of The Art of Chocolate, hand painted greeting cards using a chocolate and/or Valentine theme are sold at the event for $5 each.  The cards will also be available at the opening reception.  100% of card sales goes to LIFEDesigns.

I see that art work will be for sale at the event and that the proceeds will go to the artist and LIFEDesigns both. That might seem a bit crass, but I know readers will want to know as they are thinking about attending, what is the price range for the art?

That’s a fair question.  All paintings are expected to be under $500.  

Is it acceptable for people to just come and enjoy looking at the art even if they can't buy?

Yes!  The exhibit is open to the public during regular business hours at the Vault, 9-5, M-F.

Let's get back to chocolate, our favorite topic here. Do you like chocolate? If so, what is your favorite kind of chocolate?

Do I like chocolate?  What kind of a question is that?!?  Ha ha! 

My love of chocolate is so well known, friends bring me chocolate from their vacations.  (Loved the dark chocolate bar from Paris.)  A secret Santa sent me two big boxes of Godiva hot chocolate mix for Christmas.  And my neighbor makes a decadent layer cake each year for my birthday using the recipe on the Hershey’s cocoa box.  Yep, I do love chocolate! 

A little sidenote.  If you are at the Olive Leaf, check out the painting from last year’s Art of Chocolate – it’s hanging right beside the truffles case.

Thank you for talking with us today, Jeanne.

Thank you for supporting the Art of Chocolate!

Sisters and Brothers, will you be checking out "We Paint…Mardi Gras! on February 3rd?


Emilie Johnson said...

Wow, a painting made of chocolate! How creative!

TammyJo Eckhart said...

We saw that every year when the "Art of Chocolate" was held in the university museum.

Do you think you'll be up to any of the events over the next two weeks?

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