My daughter Shelby and I at the Iowa Arts Festival, showing my watercolors (thanks to Pam for the photo!)
This year’s Iowa Arts Festival was a spontaneous and unique event. I saw lots of things I had not seen before! My booth was next to the concert area, and I got to hear some wonderful music.
On Saturday the townspeople – adults, children, students – made a parade out of art for Carnaval, an event developed by costume designer and University of Iowa faculty member Loyce Arthur. Note the paper towel rollers painted green to make headdresses (below left), along with repurposed plastic bags. These are my kind of people!
I made some new contacts and found new places to show my work, so much to chose from. For now I hope to sit it out awhile, slow down and enjoy my new life in Iowa City, seeing lots of my grandchildren.
More costumes and walking puppet in the Carnaval parade
Recently I led a workshop on “Painting the Inward Journey” at Emmaus House in Des Moines, “an oasis of prayer and quiet in the midst of the busyness of modern life.” I went early and stayed at the Victorian-style house the night before, and found it a very special spiritual place, peaceful and full of love. In the morning I was ready for the workshop with this group of 15 faith-filled people.
You can see that we practiced watercolor techniques, but art is not just about painting a picture! Otto Rank said that “pessimism comes from the repression of creativity.” By looking inward, seeking the depths and daring to embrace our fears as well as our dreams, we can allow creativity to bring about transformation. This is Art as meditation, as prayer.
Painting at Emmaus House
Some of the Emmaus workshop group with their creations
A walk through the “bank,” from front to back, before greeting the next adventure:
Front room, looking through 50′ of new open space
Middle room – do you believe how much room is now open for others to explore?
Safe deposit vault, where the money was kept in the old days
Back room with rarely-seen floor
“On safari” in the rain
Having fun unloading the truck in the rain – my sons-in-law had lots of laughs at what I was saving for the move!
My first night in Iowa City, my daughter and granddaughter painted my toenails (Caribbean Blue) so my feet can explore their new city in style. Then we watched the movie “Enchanted” – sort of like my life these days!
KHOI Community Radio logo
(click image to visit KHOI website)
Recently I had the honor to be interviewed for the Local Talk program on KHOI Community Radio. The episode is about “Independent Artists” and also includes interviews with artists Gwen Foster and Valerie Williams. You can download the May 27, 2013 program from the Local Talk page (plus a wide range of past episodes)!
A lovely certificate, a lovely thought
One treasure going with me to my new location is this Little Flower Award I received from St. Theresa Catholic School after participating in their Social Justice Week earlier this year. It was such an honor it brought tears to my eyes. It meant a great deal to me personally during the transition to my new life — this is what I want to do, and they honored that. The children will continue to inspire me with their generosity and love for others.
The fine print is a quotation from St. Theresa, which I’ve copied below. I think it’s a beautiful reminder that you don’t have to be grand or famous to show love and make a difference to others.
“Love proves itself by deeds, so how am I to show my love? Great deeds are forbidden me. The only way I can prove my love is by scattering flowers and these flowers are every little sacrifice, every glance and word, and the doing of the least actions for love.” — St. Theresa
Almost-empty vault in the front room
Bernie’s truck made many trips to storage
The train running through the front room. Little kids have come in and "sat in the train"!
Look, you can see the walls! We cleared the way not only for Tina’s new shop, but also my new life of art, travel, and teaching. My move was made possible through the combined efforts of family and friends, just like The Left Bank Studio was created and sustained with the love and support of many people through the years.
Behind Bernie (and the orange truck he loaned to the cause) you can see people looking through the “free pile” next to the dumpster. The treasure hunters included artists and art students. It was another way to closure for me to see the delight on their faces and tell them ways to repurpose their finds.
The bank is still inhabited! On Mother’s Day we discovered a robin’s nest outside (shown below), and she stayed and tended to her family among all the activity. It was a spiritual experience for me to look in her eye and realize we are connected in the universe.
Mother robin, undeterred
My granddaughter commemorated the robin by refreshing the front-room drawing
A colorful preview from new building owner Tina Rice
The “bank” building has changed hands, and I’m thrilled to be passing on the baton (or the paintbrush) to its new owner, artist Tina Rice. You may have met Tina at the Transformation Sale. She writes about her plans for the building:
“Jo Myers-Walker has started something wonderful by bringing art to this little bank. I am honored to continue her tradition!
The Bank will be in transition until [opening now planned for June 28!] when we will open the doors again. At that time, come see our new shop! We will feature fine art from several artists, as well as a huge selection of Happytape (washi paper tape), handmade jewelry, greeting cards, soaps, baskets, scarves, and other colorful life accompaniments! Order delicious cookies, cakes, coffee, and cokes from our kitchen. Beginning this fall we will offer art classes, retreats, and parties for children and adults. We can’t wait!”
You can see some of Tina’s jewelry, and watch for news of her new shop, at clarkavenue.blogspot.com.
Exuberant faces: Larry and Bonnie Dix discover some finds while Jo Myers-Walker and Tina Rice celebrate the new “Sold” sticker
Steve and Randi Peters stopped by to get a trunkload of artwork
Thank you to everyone who stopped by for the Transformation Sale! You can see exuberant faces in the photos, including new building owner Tina Rice. Tina has some exciting plans for the little Bank building, which I’ll tell you about in an upcoming post.
Update: The Left Bank Studio is now closed (Tina’s new business will open in June). I’m excited at the prospect of more freedom to travel and paint with others, do workshops, and be with family. Stay tuned!
Molly buckles up for safety before she goes on tour (she found a good home with Lisa Cooper)
Lisa with frog chair and other treasures, including the Provence lady “coming and going” door
The girls are out! (Chickens in the foreground, cool against warm)
At my recent watercolor workshop in Maquoketa, we practiced color mixing using chickens! Each practice chicken is a small experiment in how different combinations of colors mingle with each other on the paper. Selecting three colors to use in a painting (two cools and a warm, or two warms and a cool) establishes color dominance, and helps the composition hold together and not be so “busy.” The workshop was on “the figure in the landscape,” so then the students took their chickens and put them into a scene.
The Maquoketa Art Experience is a wonderful space to teach in, and the whole place is something of a mecca. There are many talented artists in that area, and it’s truly inspiring for me to be in their midst. Rose Frantzen, a native of Maquoketa, has a gallery in town with her husband, artist Charles Morris (Rose’s “Portrait of Maquoketa” oil paintings were exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution).
Maquoketa is an old town full of historic buildings — they value it, and have preserved what they have. Some buildings have architecture similar to the “bank” in Gilbert (if not earlier), which made me feel at home! I stayed in the lovely Squiers Manor Bed and Breakfast, a restored 1882 brick house furnished with antiques. I was in the Harriet W. Squiers room, which has a pineapple motif symbolizing hospitality. The Squiers Manor was very hospitable and welcoming — they just pamper you, with dessert at night in addition to an excellent breakfast. I hope to return!
Some of the 10 workshop participants at the Maquoketa Art Experience
Squiers Manor Bed and Breakfast in Maquoketa
(I stayed upstairs)
Update: The Transformation Sale is now past, and The Left Bank Studio will be closed after May 4, 2013 — but I plan to keep painting, exhibiting my artwork, teaching classes, and leading retreats after my move. You’ll still be able to keep track of me here on my website!