Winter whites: Exhibit at Greenfield Christian gallery celebrates this season


Tom Russo | Daily Reporter

GREENFIELD — Light-infused trees flanking a frozen stream. A whimsical snowman paired with lyrics from a well-known carol. Dark buildings that dot white-blanketed landscapes.

Artists showing works in the current exhibit at 23 East Gallery have each tried to capture something about this season.

“God’s Gift of Winter” is viewable through March 3 at the gallery inside Greenfield Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), 23 N. East St.

One of the artists with work on display is Tim Lewis, who won Best of Show in the 2023 Will Vawter Art Exhibition. The annual juried competition is named for Vawter, an artist who grew up in Greenfield, exhibited at the Hoosier Salon, and illustrated many of James Whitcomb Riley’s poems.

Lewis has two watercolor paintings in the exhibit: “Snowed In,” depicting a farm in northern Indiana; and “Lonely Corner,” set in the Zionsville area.

Lewis began watercolor painting 10 years ago, when his children gave him a watercolor set as a retirement gift. It’s no small feat to paint the season’s often monochromatic scenes using that medium. While an artist painting with acrylics might dab on white paint, a watercolor artist has to think through the sequence of steps carefully. What one doesn’t paint may become the bright and striking part of the finished work.

“… You’ve got to preserve all of that white while you paint everything else,” Lewis said.

The develop-your-strategy approach to capturing a winter scene suits him, for several reasons. He studied engineering at Purdue University before turning to technical illustration, such as depictions for manuals. Those experiences gave him the precision that helps him create a photograph-like crispness when he chooses to in his paintings, defying stereotypes of watercolor art as flowy, impressionist works. Plus, as a former tournament chess player, he’s used to planning his next move.

His experiences have not only influenced his technique, but also deepened his appreciation for winter. During his career managing plastics plants, he moved around and experienced the season in several northern places.

They lived in Elkhart, where his wife is from, and where lake-effect snowfalls come from Lake Michigan. At another point they lived in Wisconsin, in a small town with no dual-lane roads, no fast-food restaurants and no stop lights. Cross-country skiing was a way to stay entertained through the winter.

“You either bundle up and go out, or you sit inside and go crazy,” he said.

“You go out and learn how to live with it. There’s just kind of a quiet loneliness about winter. There’s nothing quieter than a morning after a snowfall. It’s just cool.”


See the work on Wednesdays or Thursdays by contacting the church office for an appointment, 317-462-6348, Or stop by on Sunday morning; the service starts at 10 a.m.


Mary Clouse, E L Cooney, Sandy Hall, Tim Lewis, Mary Dean Foreman, Marilyn Jo Myers,

Dian Steitz, Gale Sturm, Susan White, Shelle Wright


About 23 East Gallery: Sandy Hall, [email protected]

About Tim Lewis’ art: [email protected] or

About Watercolor Society of Indiana (Tim Lewis is president):