INDIANAPOLIS — Anna Roberts says that when she was a young girl growing up on the west side of Indianapolis, she’d be drawing pictures at recess while the other girls were playing kickball.
Well, she got pretty good at it. Starting yesterday and running through June 9, Roberts, a resident of Brownsburg for nearly three decades, will have a watercolor piece shown at the Indiana Artists Club’s 81st annual exhibition at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
The IAC is the oldest juried artists’ organization in the state. Only 57 pieces, which span a range of mediums, were chosen to be in the show. A $3,000 award for best of show will be given to one winner.
For acceptance into the club, it is necessary to apply and to have been born in Indiana or to have lived in the state for two years, as well as been accepted into three differently sponsored exhibitions with out-of-state judges with three separate works of art.
“I was excited,” says Roberts, who teaches art at Cardinal Ritter High School on the west side as well as St. Roch Catholic School, “because that’s the cream of the crop that go in there. Hundreds enter, and you send in a CD of your image to a national judge (Chicago-based artist J. Beck III) who’s not from Indiana, and he picks which paintings he wants to see closer.”
Roberts, who has a permanent piece at a museum in Lafayette and has been in several other museums across the nation, had a painted picture of a sailboat chosen as part the collection. Her most famous photo is that of an old-fashioned fire engine she was inspired by years ago at St. Roch.
“The fire truck has been my most successful and hardest one. At St. Roch, we have a 9-11 remembrance ceremony, and this fire engine pulled up because the speakers were firefighters that had actually been to Ground Zero. I just wanted to give them reverence,” she explained.
“I love (painting) things that are going to go away or rust and won’t be shiny later on,” she muses. “I like to capture that moment and that’s where I get the inspiration.”
Recently, Roberts has been showered with honors in the watercolor community, including her inclusion in the National Watercolor Society.
“You can’t get any bigger than that. When I saw my (acceptance) letter in the mailbox, I thought I was going to pass out.”
She is also a part of the Transparent Watercolor Society of America and on Friday shipped a requested piece up to Kenosha, Wis..
“It’s so complicated to get in,” Roberts said. “Everything has to be totally transparent, and that’s out of thousands of entries. To be a transparent watercolor (artist), you can’t have anything that blocks the underneath color from coming through. You can’t have anything added to your paper that adds texture. It has to be pure.”
And while her students rarely see her work because she doesn’t want to detract from the purpose of her job, Roberts hopes teaching them art will, in some way, pass her long-lasting love for creating works on to them.
“I have such a passion and appreciation for art, I just hope to pass that onto my students. Cardinal Ritter is such a good place, I love being here. Everyone that I am associated with is so supportive, and it’s nice to accomplish these things,” she said.
Roberts’ piece can be seen in the exhibit along with another artist’s who has local ties. Katie Whipple is a former Hendricks County resident now living in New York City. Museum hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday — with extended hours until 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday — and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
There will be a free public reception to meet the artists in the gallery at 4 p.m. April 21.