with Sue Payne



Briefly tell us about yourself.

I am Hamilton County/Noblesville born and bred, grew up on White River in a log cabin in a deep woods. The woods, ravines, river and streams were my playground. I attended Fishers elementary and Jr High in the original Fishers 2-story, old brick building which nearly collapsed before I made it to the newly consolidated HSE high school. I graduated 2nd in my class, by the way.


Ball State University was my institution of higher education where I studied art and elementary education as a back up, which was a smart thing to do. My father passed away my senior year at BSU and I needed a job fast. I ended up at Sheridan elementary teaching upper elementary and oh brother, could I write a book about that experience.


As a youth, I volunteered at Conner Prairie and then was hired on and haven’t left since. During the mid 70’s to 90’s my mother and I owned a small custom furniture and accessory store that started in Zionsville and we moved it to Carmel. We both designed furniture and I did the custom finishing and painting. That took a good eye for color matching and mixing.

At the same time my interest in textiles expanded and I began attending Regional, local and International conferences both taking classes and teaching. By the mid 90’s I was declared a Textile Specialist for Conner Prairie and helped reproduce 200 original pieces and taught many classes.

Aside from art, what other kinds of things do you enjoy doing?

I love reading, photography and traveling. I’ll go anywhere.

Who are some of your favorite artists you go to for inspiration (past or living)?

My personal favorite artists are Turner, John Singer Sargent, and Edward Hopper as well as Western artist, Don Weller.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

I’ve been fortunate to have had many opportunities to travel around the country and the world. Japan was the once-in-a lifetime experience and I had some amazing adventures.


Do you have any secret talents you’d like to share?

Well, I have scraped pig intestines to make sausage, boiled a hog’s head in a pot over the fire and picked the meat to make scrapple. I saved my son’s urine when he was 6 to make a historic indigo vat. He is now 33 and I’ve never felt the inclination to do it again. I also enjoy sharing my various and sundry skills with the public doing 1812 reenacting with friends and family, including participating at the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans. That was January 8th, 2015.


What are some of your biggest accomplishments (art or life)?

I have countless ribbons and awards collected over a lifetime for spinning, weaving, knitting and natural dyeing. I only wish I had more time to really experiment outside the box with those skills; designing and creating, but…..I have shared my skills for 17 years with the youth volunteers at Conner Prairie and that program has grown wings and flown. The youth generate the enthusiasm, share and mentor each other and want as much as I can challenge them with.

Anything else you'd like to share?

It has been my pleasure and privilege to be the President of the HCAA and hopefully we will come through this global experience and continue to build the community of the arts in Hamilton County together.



with LESLIE OBER



Briefly tell us about yourself: your family, education, work background, etc.

My husband and I have been married for almost 18 years and have six beautiful children (currently 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12) - one boy, followed by five girls. I have a degree in health education from Indiana University, and worked in classroom settings before having our first child. I now have the honor and joy of homeschooling all of our kids. I have always loved to draw, but it wasn’t until my 22nd birthday, when my mom noticed that I was dealing with depression and sent me a set of oil paints, brushes, and canvas, that I began painting. Prior to having children, I got to travel to Italy and Slovenia to study under another artist for a week long workshop.



Aside from art, what other kinds of things do you enjoy doing?

My most favorite thing to do is worship God. I also love singing, dancing, and playing the piano. And I love being outside unless it’s too hot or too cold. As a family, we love to travel and experience new places together. I also love playing board games.


Who are some of your favorite artists you go to for inspiration (past or living)?

Classics: Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Wassily Kandinsky, Henry Matisse

Current: Scott Naismith, Jane Davies, Jodi Ohl, Peter Wileman, Wyatt Legrand


Do you have any secret talents you’d like to share?

I am wicked good at Boggle (the original game of Words with Friends). The words just jump off the cubes at me. Most people will not play with me because they don't want to lose. :)


Anything about you that not many people know about? I genuinely love people and am fascinated by all of creation. I gasp at beautiful sunsets and marvel at the beauty within every human I meet. Also, I am so sensitive that I can't watch intense or scary movies or TV shows, as they will give me nightmares for weeks.


Do you have a favorite quote? If so, what is it?

I have a few. But one of my favorites is: “You don’t stop playing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop playing.” May I never stop playing!


What are some of your biggest accomplishments (art or life)?

Hands down, my six amazing children! We suffered several losses (miscarriages) throughout our parenting journey. So we truly view these kiddos as gifts from the Lord! And they are seriously some of THE MOST amazing humans on this planet – deeply caring, wildly creative, and tremendously gifted individuals.


Do you have any favorite pieces of artwork of your own?

Gosh. Picking a favorite piece is like picking a favorite child. Haha. I don’t think I can do it! But I will share some recent ones that I have enjoyed.



What mediums to you create in?

Basically, I just love to play and experiment with EVERYTHING...especially color. I began drawing at a young age, and have explored and created artwork in oils, acrylics, watercolors, pen and ink, oil pastels, and soft pastels. I am also a photographer (specializing in newborn portraiture). I have enjoyed playing with fabrics and sewing and also playing with wood carving and burning. I am also a writer and have written over 6 children’s books, with even more books partially completed. I recently invested in a drawing tablet and have been delving into the world of digital art and illustration, and have been busy designing greeting cards.


I created all of these this past week...

“I can’t help but create. And so I will.”


For more information about Leslie and her work, please visit her website at www.leslieober.com



with MARK ROUSE



“Sight is a function of the eyes, but vision is a function of the heart.”


Aside from art, what other kinds of things do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy music of all types. I play the guitar and keyboard at church. I’m a history buff, which impacts the content of my art. Of course I love doing things with my family.


Who are some of your favorite artists you go to for inspiration (past or living)?

Georgia O’Keeffe, Paul Cezanne, Chinese Ink Wash paintings


If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Too many to list, but I would start with the South Pacific.


Do you have any favorite places in Hamilton County?

Barring the possibility of time travel, I’d think floating down White River in a canoe would be my current favorite place.


Do you have an interesting fact about you that not many people know about?

I was too shy in high school to ask Diana to go on a date, so I made a bet that I could make a better pizza than she could. Diana’s been my wife now for almost 43 years!


What is one of your biggest accomplishments (art or life)?

Well my wife’s still with me after 43 years. That may say more about her than me though....


Do you have any favorite pieces of artwork of your own? If so, would you mind sharing which ones and why they are your favorite?


“Napa 1” - This is a favorite because it’s the first artwork I completed after my eyesight was restored.

“Strong Heart” - Although not my best work, it’s my favorite. It’s based on the bedside monitor after my middle daughter had open heart surgery. These are very good numbers for just three days after surgery. She was released the next day.



”Disappearing Railroad Blues” - I am just really happy with the way this turned out. It reflects my love of history, tells a story, and evokes emotion.

Is there anything else you’d like to share that we haven’t asked about?

I once was blind but now I see!

Copyright Hamilton County Artists' Association 2020