Murals on the walls at Summerset Winery
celebrate the seasons of the vineyard.
Class members using the overhead mirror to watch me paint. (Photo courtesy of Dianne Liepa)
Using (and trying not to bump) my new demonstration mirror. I used my technique of painting on plastic to show color dominance and values.
(Photo courtesy of Dianne Liepa)
We had a wonderful turnout for last week’s workshop at Summerset Winery, 17 students, strong painters. “Watercolor Sketches and Beyond” emphasized drawing and composing in our journals to start with. Each student received a journal with worksheets that they could follow along. The focus was on composition and planning, finding story, mood and sense of place before starting to paint — like a road map, so people can enjoy the painting experience, not having to fix as much.
I designed my new overhead demonstration mirror just before the workshop so that this size of group could watch me paint. The mirror is Plexiglas reinforced with wood slats, held up for the time being with a fence post and tape! It’s portable and fits into my car. I just need to make it taller so I can stand under it and work.
We had a rainy day at the winery so we painted a still life with flowers and wine by the window overlooking the vineyard. You could just feel the earth ready to pop out the buds on the grape vines.
Still life for a rainy day. with a favorite white wine. We observed the cylinders on perspective from standing above and at eye level; flowers, glasses, buildings and bottles have form disclosed by light and shadow.
(Photo at left courtesy of Dianne Liepa, and that’s her watercolor “in progress” at far right)
Students’ watercolors from the workshop. We were working with perspective, balance and proportion. I talked about Mary’s good composition and depth (at left), and “following the whites” in Katharine’s work (at right).
Right: Besides the card-catalog easel for large paintings, other “easels” get into the act for rotating, editing, and refining (sofa easel, print rack easel…).
Below: The color of the Florida ocean, dipping my toes in pretend water. It was a motivation, I could just hear the gentle waves.
Below right: Painting the people on the beach and street, I had to imagine the muscles, clothing and movement in the figures. I hope to help my students put figures in their scenes with confidence. (Life drawing class begins on April 16, 6 p.m. at Taag Studios!)
Thinking of blue water
On the beach
Living room with card-catalog easel
Closer view of the card catalog
For large watercolors, like 32″ x 40″, I needed to create an easel large enough to accommodate large papers and still movable so as to be able to rotate and lay flat. Voilà — the ISU library card catalog I purchased at the salvage barn in Ames over 35 years ago that I have moved four times (to the chagrin of my son Devin). I still have good lighting and can work at the drafting table (with bust of David watching) on smaller paintings.
The large watercolors I’ve been working on are of Florida, so have been a relief to paint during the winter weather! There will be three of them total to cover a 12-foot space when framed.
On the dock in South Beach
My brother Bob Clymer in Arizona carved this for me, and I’ll hang it in my booth at art shows! He is an artist in woodcarving and has always had a good eye designing things.
I think this type of plaque would be a super office or retirement gift. I’ll add a link here to his website when he gets it set up.
My portrait in woodcarving
Detail of rooster
Three of the featured artists
at the exhibit opening
Friday evening was the opening event for Watercolor Painting Underground, an exhibit of my students’ artwork showcasing their expressive and beautiful watercolor stories. The artists have been painting and drawing with me beginning in September 2013, and now their “underground” activities (in our basement classroom) are brought to light! It has been a real pleasure for me to have been part of their journey and growth. The show runs through April 10 during business hours in the Top Floor Gallery at the Senior Center (update: this exhibit has now ended).
(Registration is open now for a new Watercolor Painting class starting April 16. I’ll continue to demonstrate watercolor techniques, and hope to do some sketching outdoors as the warmer weather draws us into the life downtown. Class details are on the Classes & Events page if you’d like to join us!)
Finding a flattering style
My new everyday cold-weather hat
This winter I’ve been thankful that my wool hats are warm and not just ornamental! During my travels I noticed women wearing scarves and the cutest hats, with a lot of bows, very feminine. The milliner at La Boutique de Maman used her great artistry to make two of them especially for me.
We used a bird’s-eye view of the hats
as an exercise in drawing class
celebrated in watercolor
(click image to visit The Daily Palette website)
I was honored to have two of my paintings featured on The Daily Palette website recently:
The Daily Palette posts a different work of art each day, with the goal “to heighten interest, awareness and appreciation of the arts and literature by highlighting the efforts of Iowa-identified artists and writers.” From the Advanced Search & Archive page, you can search their archive or go to a list of all the past featured artworks.
A warm view of the Englert
Above left: Herky’s currently at the Iowa City Parking Division waiting for the weather to warm up, then he goes out on Iowa Street.
Above right: It’s too cold to paint outside now! This is the Englert Theater viewed through a window across the street, with brushes and a program of what is coming (under the mug).
Below: Drawing with pancake batter, fun to do on a snowy day.
This is Mother Xavier who founded the Sisters of St. Francis congregation which is now centered in Dubuqe, Iowa. Her religious community left Herford, Germany in 1875 and first came to Iowa City where they started a school and opened an orphanage. Later the bishop from the Dubuque area asked that they move there and establish an orphanage. I saw these flowers or black-eyed Susans in Dubuque at Mount St. Francis and they reminded me of nuns with yellow habits. Mother Xavier is shown gathering in all her sisters over the years like flowers. I painted her face very loving as she was taking care of the sick and orphans.
I’m honored to have my painting used for the cover of the Winter 2014 Footprints magazine, which is posted on the Sisters of St. Francis website where you can also read more about the life of Mother Xavier Termehr.
When Mother Xavier (in 1875) and I (in 2013) came to Iowa City to begin a new life, it was God’s grace and love that gave us all we needed. May you feel that warmth and love this Christmas.