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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Garden Tour features local artists

Saturday, June 14, 2003

The artwork of Debra Bowles, Lori Lee Bowles Sampson and Sarah Bowles McCashland is a newly added feature of the Garden Tour, with their exhibit entitled "The Sisters Show," June 21 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event also includes five local gardens and a tea party and marketplace at Forest Park.

The women have been toying with the idea of a sisters' show for a few years now. After some discussion, Jan Stapp, their cousin and the coordinator of the Garden Tour, suggested that they tie the exhibit in with the tour.

The name for the show comes from the fact that the three artists involved are "sisters in spirit," according to Bowles. While she and Sampson are sisters in the truest sense of the word, McCashland is Bowles' daughter. Bowles says, "We've always been artists. We come from a family of artistic farm women."

Bowles graduated from Staunton High School in 1968 and left the Brazil area to study Fine Art at Purdue University and Ball State University. She has four children and two grandchildren. Currently, she resides on a farm in Ohio, where she and her husband raise chickens and goats and keep bees.

She uses the beeswax to make candles and soaps that can be found throughout her own bed and breakfast. The bed and breakfast also contains a showroom and gallery connected to her studio. Of course, "the whole world is a studio" for Bowles. She can often be found dipping candles in the kitchen or painting in her garden.

Her "claim to fame" is the fact that she does not use paintbrushes in her paintings. Instead, she utilizes sticks, grass, pinecones and other organic objects from her surroundings. Also, rather than watercolors, she generally employs ink and beeswax. Most of her works are block prints, cut and pulled by hand and always inspired by nature. However, she also enjoys calligraphy and occasionally sculpts corn cups out of clay.

More of Bowles' art can be viewed and some is available for purchase at her Web site, artallover.com.

Sampson graduated from Staunton High School in 1974 and studied Fine Art at Indiana State University. She left Indiana in 1981 and lived in Iowa for three years before settling in Minnesota, where she works as a professional Website designer. She and her husband have owned and operated Sampson Design Group, a graphic art business, for 15 years.

She began to get a little bored with only doing graphic art, so she experimented with stock photography, but found that it was not very lucrative because she "only wanted to do cats." She had grown up having a lot of cats as pets and she began to foster cats for a rescue group. At present, she houses seven of them. Gradually, the cats she took in became her "models." Sampson combined her graphic art experience with her knack for fine art and now most of her work is based on computer and digital prints.

In her younger years, Sampson did some traditional paintings, but now she is more interested in making usable items. Nearly all of her recent creations are based on digital photographs of cats, which she reprints. She produces clocks, pins and greeting cards, among other functional pieces that she often sells on e-bay. They can be found by entering "hairballs" in the search engine.

Sampson's own Web site, Hairballs.com, offers signed prints, limited editions, photography prints, framed art and other collectibles.

McCashland is a trained artist who makes her home in eastern Indiana. She typically recreates landscapes in acrylic paintings. Bowles describes her as having much of Sampson's style, although her compositions are originals. She also centers on the natural world as her muse.

Each of the artists will also have artwork available for sale at the 3rd Annual Garden Tour.

Tickets for the event are $5 each and include "The Sisters Show," this year's new artistic element. They will be available until June 21 at The Brazil Times, Sugar 'N' Spice and Sugar Ridge Nurseries or at any of the gardens on the day of the tour for $5 each.

The gardens that will be featured on this year's tour are at McKinley Hill Church of Christ and the homes of Dan and Kenda Dierdorf, Robert L. Knierem, Al and Loretta Pierce and John and Terri Haddon. Maps will be provided with the tickets.

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