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Meet the artist: Donna Shortt

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Donna Shortt's pastels work,
Donna Shortt's pastels work, "Holden." SUBMITTED PHOTO

Painter Donna Shortt is part of the prestigious Indiana artisans program as a pastels painter.
Painter Donna Shortt is part of the prestigious Indiana artisans program as a pastels painter. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Ideally, Donna Shortt wants viewers to see her paintings as, well, heavenly.

“My message in my work is, ‘Look what God has created,’” Shortt said. “All this didn’t happen just by accident.”

Shortt, part of the state’s prestigious artisans program, will help area artists with their creations in her workshop, “Portraits in the Pastel Medium,” from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at the T.C. Steele State Historic Site near Nashville. Vacancies remain for the classes which will include different techniques in pastel.

“I am inspired to paint, draw or design, because I want to freeze the moment and depict a time of day or the way the light plays on objects and the way color can be used to enhance the scene,” Shortt said. “I am very inspired knowing that I can share the results.”

She enjoys painting plein-air landscapes and light-filled still-life sets in her studio. Her success includes a Purchase Award from the Indiana State Museum in 2008 and a Best of Show in the fine arts professional division at the Indiana State Fair in 2007.

Besides painting on canvas, her work appears as murals in locales from churches to homes. Plus, it’s available at at prices ranging from $200 to $1,000 for originals.

When did you begin painting?

In third grade, though I’ve always been interested (my first painting was a lighthouse). I liked the idea of working with my hands.

You say your paintings are “not a destination but a journey.” What does that mean?

When I finish, I always ask myself, “What am going to do next? And how can I get better?”

When you teach, do you offer direct advice?

Yes. I believe you should share everything. I don’t think you should keep secrets, because we’re all in the same boat. You can’t really and truly copy another painter anyway, because an artist puts his or her personality into it.

How have you confronted what seemed like failures in your years of art?

I just think of them as things that didn’t work out and learn from them. So they are never failures after all.

Why do people like or buy your work?

A lot of times they buy something, because it reminds them of something — and something good, I hope.

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