The "Hoosier" group of Indiana painters applied the Impressionist's techniques and palettes to capture the sights and scenery of their native Indiana landscape. Painter John Ottis Adams is one of the lead figures in the particular genre, along with his art school classmate Theodore Steele and painter William Forsyth. The Hoosier group would also be considered the Barbizon painters of Indiana as well, since they tended to capture realistic scenes of the landscape, emphasizing the effects of atmosphere, clouds or mood.
Adams was born in Indiana in 1851 and in the early 1880s he travelled to Munich where he entered the Royal Academy. He then moved to England where he studied under John Parker before heading back to Indiana and opening his own art school in Muncie in 1887.
He continued to paint his local scenery around the Muscatatuck and Whitewater Rives and the towns of Brookville and Vernon, but would also include areas of Michigan and Florida, where he frequently traveled or spent his winters. The "Hoosier" group had its first recognized exhibition in 1894 at Lorado Taft's studio in Chicago, and then In 1896 Adams and Steele held a two man exhibition at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition. Adams also helped to found the Herron Art School in Indianapolis in 1901 and served as an instructor for the next five years.
Throughout his career, Adam's works evolved from a darker Tonalist palette to a significantly brighter one, similar to those employed by the Impressionists, though Adams would tend to rely on a naturalistic palette rather than the brilliance employed by the European Impressionists.
His paintings are found in several Indiana museums, including the Indianapolis Museum of Art. There are also several examples in the Smithsonian Institution collection.