Artists present sketches and studio work

"On the Shore" sketch.The journal sketches and writings of artists Helen Kleczynski and Dave Middleton often inspire their creation of larger works of art. In "From Sketch to Studio," their exhibit now on display in the College of Health and Human Services second floor art gallery, their journal entries are displayed next to the larger works they inspired. Both artists look to nature and interactions with life for their subject matter, but their representations of those subjects are distinctive.

Middleton is compelled by light and dark patterns in life and uses monochromatic media such as charcoal, ink and graphite. His current works are black on white paper, with the lightest portions of a drawing being the untouched paper. He will spend up to months on studies from life and photographs, working out compositional and different value zones.

"Sleeping Bear Dune" sketchKleczynski frequently sketches outdoors in a watercolor journal and creates her larger works indoors, working primarily in pastels. Painting helps her appreciate the world around her, both natural and human made. Trained in architecture, her subjects include structures—from the Pantheon in Rome to a timber framed barn in Michigan. When she paints, she hopes to share an experience with the viewer, the physical appearance of a subject as well as its mystery and spirit.

Both artists work out of Helen’s Art House, an old farm house near Vicksburg that serves as Kleczynski’s working studio, a nurturing environment for students of all levels and ages, and a place to display works of art. “Every artist needs a place away from the chaos of life to relax and to call home, to spread out all of their paints and paper and just create art,” says Kleczynski. Helen’s Art House provides that for her and others and is open to the public on Wednesdays from 1-5 p.m. To learn more about the artists and Helen’s Art House, visit

"From Sketch to Studio" will be on display until Aug. 30 and can be viewed by the public Monday through Thursday from 7:15 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, contact Gay Walker at (269) 387-3839 or