It’s the Way They Mingle

WELCOME to the Indy Arts Studio Series, where you will find behind-the-scenes information such as raw footage from conversations with featured artists, artwork development, artist bios, the show at-a-glance, and other details of the artists’ exhibition in Gallery 924 at the Arts Council.

Meet our May Featured Artist:
Lois Main Templeton (b. 1928) grew up in Wisconsin, its rich countryside evident in many of her paintings. She studied at Williams College and the University of Wisconsin, then shifted her focus to her family (her husband Kenneth Templeton and their three children), her church, and her community. In 1973 she enrolled in Cañada Junior College on the San Francisco Peninsula and explored her talents within their Fine Arts Department. In 1979, the Templetons moved from the west coast to Indianapolis where Lois continued her studies at Herron School of Art and Design. She graduated magna cum laude in 1981 at the age of fifty-one. Within months of graduation, Lois discovered a downtown area warehouse perfect for studio spaces. It wasn’t long before other artists moved in, and it was then that “The Faris Building” was established–a building that would become the center of Indianapolis’ vibrant visual arts scene. 

Throughout the years, Lois remained involved in the community as not only a painter, but as a teacher. She taught elementary to college level instruction and was a Master Artist with VSA Arts of Indiana. Her involvement with VSA allowed her to reach children, adults with disabilities, and people in correctional facilities, daycare centers, and classrooms across the state.

Lois has artwork in the permanent collections of the Indiana State Museum, the Richmond Art Museum, and the Midwest Museum of American Art. Her work has twice been exhibited at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., and she has published two books, The Studio Book: Finding Your Way and the collaborative project Who Makes the Sun Rise?, a book for children. Lois is a 2001 Arts Council of Indianapolis Creative Renewal Arts Fellow.

New Solo Exhibition:
It’s the Way They Mingle
Gallery 924
May 1 – 29, 2015
Lois’s expressive painting style, which often incorporates text and gestural black lines, has set her apart and made her one of the most revered and beloved contemporary painters of our era. Fortunately, Lois is also one of the most prolific painters as she works daily either in her downtown Indianapolis studio or in her Maine studio, as she shares time in both states. It is not unusual for her to work on five paintings at once and complete one per day. Her new body of work, It’s the Way They Mingle, ranges in subject-matter from a dedication to the late and wonderful Indianapolis vocalist Cynthia Lane, to interpreting the distinct sound of waves crashing on the Maine shoreline, to a heartwarming piece inspired by a French lullaby she used to sing to her children.

          From the Artist on her Exhibition:
“At eighty-seven and a half, I refuse to choose between being a painter or a writer. I simply choose to be the artist I am; so I write with paint and I paint with words. And I do both with little concern for how my paintings are perceived. Some of them want to spread out and others need to be intimate. As my paintings converse with each other, some of their conversations are gentle, some are explosive, and perhaps some of the conversations are with you.” 

In the Studio: 
(Also shown below, artist Phil O’Malley)

“When visiting an artist’s studio, we hope to see both the work and a little of what lies beneath that work…”
“A studio is a place for finding one’s own voice, an identity uniquely one’s own. However differently each of us may express his or her own identity as an artist, the need to be honest to one’s own nature is common. That the questions raised in the studio are equally alive for all of us in our personal lives should come as no surprise.”
– Excerpt from The Studio Book: Finding Your Way

          Studio Gear:
                    How Lois obtained the yellow shirt she uses for painting from Bill Tudor (former Dean of Christ Church Cathedral):


The Story Behind this Reoccurring Shape:


          Excerpt from The Studio Book: Finding Your Way:
          April 1, 1992
“Hmmm. Thinking of ‘children in your belly’ and the fact that, as a woman, I’ve spent over two years walking around with a presence inside, one decidedly alive (sometimes kicking!), and yet of which I was, for the most part, unconscious. As such, it shouldn’t seem so mystifying (and a cause for griping and indignation) that my unconscious self is cooking up something that won’t come ‘through the neck.'” 

Fais Dodo:

“The words of Fais Dodo (an old French lullaby which my mother sang to me, I to my children, and they to theirs)
are hidden in the graphite writing to be seen along the upper edge of this piece.”


FRENCH                                                           ENGLISH
Fais dodo, Colas mon p’tit frère                    Go to sleep, Colas my little brother
Fais dodo, t’auras du lolo                               Go to sleep, you will have your milk
Maman est en haut                                          Mommy is upstairs
Qui fait des gâteaux                                         Making some cakes
Papa est en bas                                                 Daddy is downstairs
Qui fait du chocolat                                         Making hot cocoa
Fais dodo, Colas mon p’tit frère                     Go to sleep, Colas my little brother
Fais dodo, t’auras du lolo.                              Go to sleep, you will have your milk.


Inspired by Indianapolis Vocalist Cynthia Layne: 

“I continue to be saddened by the loss of Cynthia Layne. What a voice (I can still hear her voice alone, but that is no way the whole of her).” – Lois Main Templeton

*Please note that the painting in this video is covered in a protective plastic.

The Creation of All to the Good:

The Early Years:

The Studio, 1982
“Make it your own…a tree house, the prow of a ship.
Turn up the music, stretch out your arms, careen around the room.
Turn the tape low and become a small, insignificant presence
in a huge, white, empty, silent box.

Rip canvas into great sails–8 feet by 10 feet and stretching…
and throw one on the floor. Scramble over its expanse with charcoal,
sloshing paint, brandishing brooms. Go ahead, slide across it.
Hang it up, dripping, accosting you–an independent person,
bigger than you. SAIL HO!”

          The Faris Building:



          The Artwork:

“The responsibility of the abstract–expressionist artist is to make herself visible. Songs, stories, and events send me reaching for charcoal and graphite even as the painting table fills with color. A person once said to me, “You paint with words and you write with paint.” That’s true, I do. It was with a Creative Renewal Fellowship grant from the Arts Council of Indianapolis that I answered my question. Am I a writer or a painter? I’m both.”

In Gallery 924:

          Lois writing and helping with artwork selection (Time-lapse):

 Departing Question:

          When people speak of you and your work, either now or in one hundred years from now, what is it that you hope they say?