River City Art Association member Elise Spaid-Roberts is the featured artist in July at the Vigo County Public Library at Seventh and Poplar streets.

Spaid-Roberts earned her degree in art from Indiana State University in 2011. The Terre Haute artist works with a variety of media including charcoal, chalk pastels, graphite, acrylic paint and watercolors. Her library exhibit also will highlight her love for creating blackout poetry. It includes “Stay,” a blackout poem with acrylic on canvas.

“Blackout poetry is made by choosing specific words from a page that creates its own message,” Spaid-Roberts explains in her artist’s statement. “This requires an intense amount of focus to find what stands out to me. I have to consider the perspective others may have with what they read once the rest of the page is blacked out.

“Recently, I’ve started combining painting with certain blackout poems. Paintings are inspired by certain poems. Sometimes I focus on color and texture alone to let the words complete the image. Other times the poem evokes a specific image for me.”

Watercolors are harder to control but that is part of their appeal to Spaid-Roberts.

“Often I let the flow of the paint dictate the shapes and shades in the artwork. I enjoy the challenge of blending and layering with acrylics and I am trying to give more attention to textures and brush strokes,” she added. “I’m most drawn to mountains, oceans and clouds for my subject matter. While I take inspiration from things at a grand scale, I’ve very recently begun to scale my paintings down to miniature, even as small as pennies. Art making is my way of resetting my mind. It allows me to process events in my life. When my anxiety goes up, it is good to spend time bringing my focus into a small corner of my world.”

In May, Spaid-Roberts received honorable mentions for her acrylic, “Building Up,” and a blackout poem with acrylic on canvas, “To The Full,” in Wabash Valley Art Guild’s Spring Art Show at Clabber Girl Museum in Terre Haute.

Two other examples of her blackout poetry are on display through July 19 in the “Anything Goes” exhibition in Arts Illiana Gallery in Terre Haute.

River City Art Association meets on the second Tuesday of each month at the Vigo County Public Library. For membership details, visit RiverCityArt.org or call 812-232-0048.

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