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.
Herky sees us off on our journey
(Leslie, Jo, and Jan)
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.
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.
Our first garden spot
A blue plastic chicken guards the happy patio garden
Linn Street painting in progress
Completed watercolor of Linn Street in the rain
This is a watercolor of Linn Street with me walking home from Newman Center after church in the light rain. There are always folks on bikes and walkers, and cars. This is my “back yard”; I get my ideas from daily walks and observing Downtown Iowa City energy. Many of the figures in my watercolors are on Herky’s Community.
Looking down Linn St. —
you can see the steeple of St. Mary’s
“Our” alley, with us in it!
I’ve been busy painting more Iowa City scenes, getting ready for the Iowa Arts Festival.
Update: the 2014 Festival is now over — “thank you” to everyone who stopped by! The Iowa City Press-Citizen has some photos from the Carnaval parade.
Unveiling “Herky’s Community” – someone took some of the plastic off the night before, probably looking for themselves in the paintings!
Monday was the great unveiling for “Herky on Parade 2,” a public art project that placed 83 uniquely-decorated statues of Herky the Hawk (University of Iowa mascot) around Iowa City, Coralville, and North Liberty. You can find the Herky that I painted, “Herky’s Community,” at Iowa Ave. and Clinton St. in downtown Iowa City, across from Old Capitol. Many thanks to the sponsors of “Herky’s Community”: the Iowa City Downtown District, and the City of Iowa City!
Herky is more than six feet tall and could not fit in my apartment, so United Action for Youth allowed me to paint the statue in their Art Space. I drew landmark businesses in the Downtown District and a variety of Iowa City folk, showing the diversity of downtown. I’ve included working people, students, elderly, children playing, homeless, musicians, bicyclists and all the people that make up the Iowa City landscape. I wanted Herky to connect not only to the University, but also to the larger community of Iowa City. After all, they’re all intertwined.
I used acrylic and latex paint and paint markers to gain some of the vibrancy of watercolor technique, but focus more on the drawn images, detail in the faces, and the actions of the people. It was a delight to have people find themselves on Herky. One gentleman told me it may be the only time he would be commemorated in his life, which was very touching and just what I wanted — to honor all in Herky’s Community.
The statues are on public display through late August 2014. You can find maps and pictures of all of them on the Herky on Parade 2 website – there are 23 Herkies just downtown!
Herky in progress –
his shoes are buses
Daughter Shelby and me,
Iowa River – first wash over masking tape resist, cool dominance, salt resist in distance (new buds).
Finished Iowa River scene in Iowa City.
Spring has arrived!
These are some scenes around Iowa City. I’m painting what I see around me on a daily basis, and planning a workshop for July 17 to get together and paint “on location” around the Senior Center. (Update: the workshop is past. Keep an eye on the Classes and Events page for future happenings!)
On my way to Orange Leaf, looking forward to coffee yogurt. I am fascinated with the alley shapes – the old with the new wiring, renovation addons.
My finished street scene from watercolor class.
I added children’s figures for composition and neighborhood feel.
Linda White and me with Peace Pole
Linda White and I painted Peace Poles Saturday afternoon before Easter Vigil at St. Thomas Aquinas Church. It was a lovely peaceful experience, except when we caught the Peace Pole in the tree. We used PVC pipe, spray paint, acrylics, stencils and Linda’s beautiful lettering.
(Now what to have coming from the top?)
These paintings are from last week’s Watercolor and Drawing class at the Senior Center. This was the sixth day for the Thursday morning class, and the class felt confident that they were on their way to a pretty good painting. Their work shows strong values and composition.
My painting of trees at the Senior Center to demonstrate layering and value
Our work “in progress” with underpainting a neighborhood scene, echoing colors, dark against light, and variety of values and greens
Fabric painting at Ecumenical Towers
Here’s the Ecumenical Towers Art Club painting on fabric to make pillows or wall hangings. Some members didn’t own a sewing machine to finish their pillows, so the others offered to sew for them.
We’ve been building community through art including painting, jewelry making, mixed media, journals, poems and music.
Making a floorcloth with a roller, stamp, printing, etc.
These photos are from the floorcloth workshop at Hen & Chicks Studio this past Saturday. The painted canvas can not only make a floorcloth but also pillows, placemats, chair covers, table runners, journal covers, etc. We apply a base coat, mark the hem and sew, begin second background or layering (by masking out, stencils, stamps, sponges, direct brush work, wet-in-wet techniques to name a few), and have fun experimenting. Finally a protective coating is applied and a rubber backing is sewn on the back to prevent slipping.
The workshop has inspired me to add a splash of color in my home! My next project is to make canvas slip covers for my small sofa and chair using this process. You can find more pictures from the workshop on Heidi’s blog:
It is always a pleasure to stop by Hen & Chicks, check on the door room dividers I painted and see what creative projects are going on, maybe even spend the night.
Dorothy showing off her floorcloth, using stamps and sealed with Polycrylic®, a clear protective water-based finish
Hen & Chicks owner Heidi showing off her floorcloth, using sketches from her Art Journal