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Monday, April 15, 2024

Something from Nothing

Steve Imes was 10 years old when he talked his parents into letting him take a correspondence course in cartooning through the mail.

Although Imes wouldn’t go on to have a career in cartoon illustration, it was then he developed a passion for creating art. A veteran of the printing industry with 30 years of experience (including 10 years as owner of Imes Printing Company in Evansville), Imes switched to working in medical insurance in the late 1990s.

He began pursuing art seriously upon retiring in 2013 after 15 years as the director at St. Mary’s Senior Connection, a Medicare insurance agency in Evansville. Imes moved to Effingham, Illinois, after retirement where he became active in the art community, entering several shows. He continued painting as a serious hobby after moving back to Evansville in 2016 with his wife Lynne and has been putting brush to canvas ever since.

Finetuning his skills over the past decade, Imes has been featured in shows and galleries across the Tri-State including the Jefferson 22 Art Studio, Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana, Hoosier Salon, Audubon Gallery, and Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science. He is a member of the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana, Water Color Society of Indiana, Hoosier Salon in New Harmony and Indianapolis, and the Ohio Valley Art League (OVAL).

A self-taught artist, Imes describes his artwork as contemporary. Capturing landscapes and rural areas, such as old barns and mountains, are his go-to artworks. Imes has painted scenery from all over the area as well as places in the southern part of the country like Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Louisiana Bayou.

“I was amazed at the talent and beauty out there as well here locally in the area,” says Imes. “We have a great art community here in Evansville.”

Wherever it may be, Imes enjoys creating scenic work that can be appreciated by a diverse group of people from across many regions.

What made you interested in painting?
I think it’s just the ability to create something. We made several trips to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and when we went out there I was just amazed at the talent and the beauty of the artwork that was created out there. I really got interested in it at that point. I just like creating something from nothing. Some of my paintings are just out of my own imagination. I do work a lot with photographs but a some of it is just bits and pieces out of my own mind or some of my own photos.

What types of artwork do you create?
I probably would be considered a realism artist in that I paint a lot of detail to make it almost look like a photograph. I’ve also become really fascinated with abstracts. I’ve sold quite a few of those here in Evansville. I dabble in watercolor but that’s not a strong interest of mine. I work in acrylic painting. I like doing landscapes, seascapes, and automobiles, so I do a little bit of everything, but probably lean towards traditional landscape work.

Do you sell most of your artwork or do you keep it for yourself?
I sell as much as I can. My wife would like for me to sell a lot more, our walls are full. It’s a hobby for me. I sell some, I give away a lot, I donate a lot to charities. It’s not really a business but I just enjoy doing it. I have a studio at home in the upstairs bedroom.

What is your favorite scenery to paint?
Probably my favorites are the landscapes and rural areas. I’m still really fascinated with abstract. I’ve really been trying to work with that more because I like the freedom of expression, the vibrancy, you never know what it’s going to look like when you’re done. It’s just a lot of spontaneity and I like that. It’s a good change from the details that go into a realism painting.

How long does it take you to complete a piece?
That’s hard to answer because there are so many factors that determine that — size is certainly one of them. I’ve painted small, 8-inch by 10-inch canvas all the way up to a 4-foot square, so obviously that would affect the time. Rarely is a painting completed in a single session so I might work on it over several days or even weeks depending on the complexity of the subject matter.

What is it you love most about painting?
It’s the ability to create something that someone can find joy and pleasure in, as they look at it, is really all that matters. That’s all I’m doing it for. And yet selling it is a plus, but sometimes I’ll paint over a canvas if something doesn’t go over. It’s a nice relaxation since I retired. It gives me something to do. I don’t play golf, can’t run anymore, so I’ve got to do something.

Passion for Painting

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Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen is the managing editor of Evansville Living and Evansville Business magazines.

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