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February 2015

Lake Michigan's Southern Riviera™

A Passion for Painting

By Barbara Voris Eastman

If you had a schedule like Beach Coast artist, Mark Polomchak, you’d probably want to find a quiet place like one of those depicted in his serene watercolor landscapes and just chill. Many of his works show scenes of Amish life and I imagine there are times when the idea of life without computers, cell phones, and airports must really have its appeal. From the first of the year until the end of this month he will have conducted 16 seminars and workshops in six states. By year-end that number will increase to 34 programs in 13 states, and there’s always the chance that he will add more. If there was an entry in the dictionary for the term “working artist” you’d half expect to find Mark’s picture in the margin.

Indiana Born and Bred
Mark was born and raised in northwest Indiana and earned a degree in Fine Art at Indiana University. He owned the Court Gallery in the historic courthouse on the square in Crown Point, but finally closed it last season after some 30 years. His schedule simply keeps him so busy that he made the decision to close the gallery (though the business that took over his space, Prime Time Clocks, carries many of Mark’s original paintings and prints). 

Mark values his educational background in art, but he became the painter he is today by painting. A lot. At the many seminars he conducts he teaches established and aspiring painters techniques he uses in his own work, but stresses that each artist must develop his or her own style. 

Practice. Practice. Practice.
Mark has created six instructional videos ranging from 90 to 120 minutes in length. In them he shares many of the things he has learned in his lifetime of painting. He favors certain brushes and shows the viewer how to use them, and employs such common items as toothbrushes (perfect for creating snow or surf spray), saran wrap for adding texture, and even old credit cards for pulling paint into shapes, like the stones you might find dotting a shoreline in Maine. Acquiring techniques is fundamental, but becoming an accomplished painter—even if only for your own enjoyment—harkens back to that old joke: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice. 

Inspiration Everywhere
The Beach Coast is rich in inspiration for the professional or amateur artist. Mark loves the bucolic scenes he sees when driving around northwest Indiana and the Midwest. He loves old barns, wagons, covered bridges, the dunes and lakeshore, split rail fences, lighthouses, and, as mentioned earlier, Amish culture. His paintings have a light and ethereal quality, a softness that is soothing, and if we could somehow magically transport ourselves to the places he depicts, we can imagine our pulses slowing down and our lives being simpler and easier somehow.

A Passion for Painting
Mark almost can’t remember a time when he wasn’t drawing or painting. His father was the renowned art director and artist, Steve Polomchak. Mark grew up watching his father paint and it was clear when Mark was very young that he’d inherited the “artist” gene from his dad. Many artists are content to do their own thing, but Mark feels compelled to share his gift through teaching. That’s what has motivated him to create his instructional videos and to take on such a rigorous schedule of seminars and workshops.

If your budget won’t allow you to buy an original painting, Mark has a wide variety of prints that you may purchase and enjoy. Go to his website (below) for a listing of galleries that carry his work or stop in to Prime Time Clocks in Crown Point. 

Better yet, next time he conducts a seminar in a Beach Coast community, sign up and learn some of Mark’s techniques. You may find you have some innate ability and every artist starts somewhere. And then it’s a matter of practice, practice, practice.

Prime Time Clocks
Courthouse Square
Crown Point, IN  46307

Mark’s printer and framer is:
Ryan Wanke
Sharpeye Framing
201 E. Harrison St.
Michigan City, IN 46360
(219) 879-

Barbara Voris Eastman grew up in Michigan City and moved back to the area after spending nearly 35 years working in Chicago. She is both the editor and a regular contributor to