By Rick Morwick
Lesley Haflich is an accomplished oil painter who rarely creates portraits. But for the better part of a year, that’s precisely what she’s painted.
Her upcoming exhibit at Nickel Plate Arts, “The Women of Noblesville,” is a display of 30 portraits of some of the city’s most prominent women, including business owners, medical professionals, clergy, police detectives, educators, government officials and attorneys.
Haflich, a Nickel Plate Arts Campus studio artist, spent nearly a year creating the canvas paintings.
“I decided to focus primarily on the women whose roles have allowed them to contribute so much to the growing town,” said Halflich, who has lived in Noblesville for 27 years. “I invited a few women that I knew to pose at my studio for an hour so I could start a loose painting and get to know them a little bit, then I took some photos that I could work from later to ‘get it right.’
“I got more recommendations of who to ask so I could reach my goal of 30 paintings. I have tried to give the women’s faces liveliness with soft, expressive brushstrokes.”
Haflich, 62, was inspired to launch the project by Iowa artist Rose Frantzen, who painted more than 100 portraits of citizens in her small town of Maquoketa, Iowa. Haflich decided to do her own take on the concept by showcasing women in Noblesville.
The exhibit runs Oct. 3 through Oct. 31, including a special reception from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 5 in the Stephen House Gallery at Nickel Plate Arts Campus, 107 S. 8th St., Noblesville. Each portrait will be accompanied by a short bio.
“Noblesville is a town with a lot of history and I wanted to show how many of these women grew up here and decided to stay and give back to the community,” Haflich said. “Many of the women who did not grow up here have decided to make Noblesville their ‘forever home.’ More importantly, though, I want to show that there are a significant (number) of women in positions where they are really making a difference, and this is just a sampling of the women in our town.”
Haflich has been at Nickel Plate Arts for five years. A graduate of Purdue University, she was formerly an art director for an advertising agency, and later for a sign and display company, before concentrating on her art full time in 2006. A mother of three, she is a member of the Hamilton County Art Association and has been an artist member at the CCA Gallery in Carmel, where she regularly sells paintings.
In addition, Halfich has chaired the Noblesville Art Fair for three years, and her paintings can be seen on the walls of businesses, clubs and homes throughout Indiana.
Not surprisingly, she looks forward to the launch of “The Women of Noblesville.”
“There are many reasons it is special to me,” Haflich said. “I do not really consider myself a portrait painter, so this was quite a stretch to challenge myself to take this on. I learned a lot about technique and composition and how to make the faces believable as I progressed.”
For more, visit nickelplatearts.org.