Arrival in Rouen

Interior of Rouen cathedral

In the cathedral thanking God for the trip, it is a big world to live in!

Rouen apartment

First night in the apartment — dinner after a day of sketching

Cafe in Rouen

Local cafe

Jo painting at Rouen cafe

Painting during lunch on my street

Street in Rouen

My street, my cafe, half-timbered medieval homes. Note there is not a straight line to paint.

Palais de Justice, Rouen

The Palais de Justice looks just like a cathedral, gargoyles and all to keep the peace.

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Travel preparations

Jo's watercolor journal

New journal

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!

Jo drinking water

Drinking water in Iowa, pretending I am in Rouen drinking French wine

Jo's travel wardrobe

Travel wardrobe
(still gotta wear my Nikes for mature feet)

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Quilt show and UFOs

Jo Myers-Walker with quilted jacket

My friend Mary and I wore our quilted jackets (photo courtesy of Mary)

UFO Quilt at the Iowa Quilters Guild 2014 Garden Quilt Show

IQG’s Charleen Richtsmeier helps show off a “UFO” quilt (its creator is just visible holding up the far end)

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.

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Art show at Salt Fork Kitchen

Jo Myers-Walker, Leslie Leavenworth, and Jan Vander Linden after hanging their artwork at Salt Fork Kitchen in Solon, Iowa

Me, Leslie, and Jan at Salt Fork Kitchen

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.

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Farewell to Herky

Daughters and granddaughters posing with Herky's Community statue

Family portrait with Herky

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.

Posted in Upcoming Events

State Fair 2014 scenes

Booth in the Cultural Center at the 2014 Iowa State Fair

Our booth at the Fair
(photo courtesy of Pam McKenna)

Watercolor painting demonstration at the 2014 Iowa State Fair

Demonstrating and painting
with others at the Fair

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.

Liz with painting done at Iowa State Fair demonstration

Liz, proud of her chicken
(photo courtesy of Liz)

Jo with painting done at Iowa State Fair demonstration

Me with chicken painted during demonstration
(photo courtesy of Liz)

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!

Painting table at the 2014 Iowa State Fair booth

Marg, Joan, and Bonnie painting next to the booth

Paper airplane being folded using only feet and toes

Talented feet, folding an airplane

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Friends at the Fair

Painting on fabric by Jo Myers-Walker at Taag Studios in Iowa City

My new painting space
(note the Delaware Blue rooster on the wall has a Delaware Blue hen in his sights)

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!

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Arts in Marshalltown

Jo Myers-Walker at the 2014 Linn Creek Arts Festival

I won 2nd best of show!

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.

Jo Myers-Walker's booth at the 2014 Linn Creek Arts Festival

My booth under the shade trees
(on the grounds of the Fisher Community Center)

Sculptures at the Fisher Community Center in Marshalltown

Christian Petersen’s final sculpture, “A Dedication to the Future,” is showcased in a pond on the grounds

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Road trip

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.

Leslie, Jo and Jan pose with Herky

Herky sees us off on our journey
(Leslie, Jo, and Jan)

Rolling hills surround a road in Grand Wood Country (eastern Iowa)

Rolling hills in Grant Wood Country

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.

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Traveling garden

Planting a food garden

Irin, Carl, Rick and Jo
excited about summer salads

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.

Container garden in its original park location

Our first garden spot

Container garden relocated to patio

A blue plastic chicken guards the happy patio garden

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