The Virtual Left Bank StudioI've sold the "bank" building in Gilbert and am excited to go virtual with The Left Bank Studio and continue to create and make things! Please let me know what you are doing and we will update my goings-on here each week.
Contact meJo Myers-Walker
Lately I’ve been sketching people in the new journal I’m taking on my trip, drawing the people at an outdoor cafe in Iowa City and pretending I am in Rouen, as sort of a warmup. I’m drawing what I see so that later I can compose a painting. I have a little palette I take with me to add local color right away using the water from my water bottle.
I got my sewing machine out and angled all my 1990’s skirts, added some chic tops, and I am ready for Paris!
I was honored to be asked to give a talk during the Iowa Quilters Guild (IQG) annual meeting at Reiman Gardens on Saturday. Quilt design has a lot in common with painting in terms of composition and color. I talked about things to consider when designing a quilt such as line, form, texture, shape, and value. We did an exercise on color mixing so the quilt would have a dominant color.
The IQG holds a beautiful Garden Quilt Show at Reiman in conjunction with their meeting. The thing I noticed most was the amazing stitching. It becomes line in motion; the closer the stitching, the darker the value.
One of the categories in the show was UFO Quilts — UFO for “Un-Finished Objects”! Months in advance, members submit a photo of an unfinished project they had started at one time but set aside. Then the challenge is to finish the project for display at the quilt show. I have my own stack of “UFO” watercolors about 6″–8″ high that I haven’t finished; when I go back to them, I can see them with a new point of view.
Leslie, Jan, and I went to Solon, Iowa last week to hang our work for a combined show at the Salt Fork Kitchen restaurant (usually open only for breakfast and lunch). The food is super there, “with ingredients grown as close-by as possible to your plate, in order to ensure freshness and quality.” Their muffin-like bread is amazing. The restaurant is an outgrowth of nearby Salt Fork Farms which produces many of the Kitchen’s ingredients, along with other local sources.
After spending their summer as a public art project, the Herky statues have been removed from the streets. They were displayed together and some sold at silent auction at the Fry Fest on August 29. Some more were sold at live auction at the Englert Theater on September 12, after a special presentation of a documentary about the Herky on Parade 2 project.
The Herky that I painted (Herky’s Community) wasn’t up for auction — it was purchased by its sponsor, the Iowa City Downtown District! I’ll let you know if I find out more about Herky’s future travels.
At this year’s Iowa State Fair I shared a booth in the Cultural Center with artist friends Pam McKenna, Tina Rice, and Amber Russell-Zepeda. In the evening when the bands began to play across the street at the Anderson Erickson stage, things quieted down in our building. The Fair folks let me set up a painting table next to our booth to demonstrate on during my shift, mostly in the evenings about 7 to 9.
During the slow times I met a man who could make a paper airplane out of one of my not-so-good watercolors, using just his feet and toes. Then we flew the airplane around the booth. Only at the Fair!
I’m getting ready for the Iowa State Fair, painting my State Fair friends the sheep, cows and pigs, in my new painting space at Taag Studios in Iowa City. This photo shows painting on some cotton fabric from my studio storage (one more item to repurpose).
Update: the 2014 Fair has ended, and I’ll post some photos soon. Mark your calendar for next year’s Fair!
We had beautiful weather to go with good food and bands at the Linn Creek Arts Festival in Marshalltown on July 19. I hadn’t done an away-from-home outdoor show since I had to give up my big red van that would fit anything into it. Now I’m back on the road again in my red Honda. I had a much simpler white door display that fit into the car, all from recycled parts from my storage unit. I guess it is really all about the artwork and not so much the display.
From my booth you could see the beautiful Christian Petersen sculpture that is part of the Central Iowa Art Association’s collections at the Fisher Community Center. Their amazing Impressionist Collection in the Fisher Art Gallery really got me excited about painting in France.
Leslie, Jan and I went road tripping to Maquoketa and Stone City, in search of the perfect hillside, taking lots of photos of the landscape to paint from. We were on the Grant Wood Scenic Byway and a few dirt roads dodging tractors, cars and semis which gave an edge to our work.
We were kindred spirits on an Inward and Outward Journey, composing with the same eye. The patterns and interlocking shapes of the rolling hills excited us the most, with lush greens and lighting that changed as the clouds moved across the fields. We saw folks riding bikes and walking on the dirt roads, enjoying the day with us. We chatted about how fulfilling our lives have been painting and I sure was given some new insights. This type of journey is what I did in Assisi and would like to do with my trip to Rouen this fall.
This spring the Senior Center graciously gave us dirt and plants to create the “Write Garden.” Tomatoes, green peppers, red peppers, kale, brocoli, dill, mint and basil grew in a nearby park — until someone started using our peppers to play catch, when I wanted to make sauce!
The plants were growing in containers, so it was easy to move them on rollers to a more protected spot. We have master gardeners guiding us and will have a homemade pizza party with our vegetables. All this is building community as we are sharing food.