The folks in my paintings travel a lot! Here the characters inspired by our life drawing models begin their adventure on Dubuque Street, like they stepped out of a story from Prairie Lights bookstore.

The painting “And the Story Begins” is part of my exhibit with friend Jan Vander Linden, going on now through November 8 during gallery hours at Iowa Artisans Gallery (207 E. Washington St., Iowa City, IA).

Watercolor painting of Iowa City street scene near Prairie Lights by Jo Myers-Walker

“And the Story Begins,” in progress and completed

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Sketching the city

Shoes on sidewalk, ready to explore

Setting out into the city

I’ve been walking around the city three miles a day and sometimes more. I’ll stop and sketch a little or take pictures for painting, still doing my research on foot.

In Monday’s workshop we were sketching on Linn Street working on one-point perspective. It is lovely outside the Senior Center to draw, lots of students, teachers, folks going to class and shopping, big energy here.

Sketch and beginning of Iowa City street scene watercolor by Jo Myers-Walker

This is how I started the Linn Street painting

Completed Iowa City street scene watercolor by Jo Myers-Walker

Completed Linn Street painting,
looking south toward the library

Posted in Studio Snapshots


Models posing for artists at a life drawing workshop at Summerset Winery, Indianola, Iowa

Models lighted to emphasize the pattern of shadows

Here are two more of our models posing for the figure drawing workshop at Summerset Winery.

Below:  I had fun taking them from the model stage in Indianola, to Linn Street in Iowa City where I pictured them having a glass of wine at a sidewalk cafe. We will have to see where else they show up later! It’s fun to have my models visit my paintings.

Watercolor sketch/value study of models at a life drawing workshop

This sketch/value study shows artist Diana painting from the models

Watercolor painting of life drawing models imagined at a sidewalk cafe, by Jo Myers-Walker

Diana is still in the foreground painting the scene, now transported to Linn Street

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Popping up all over

Pop-up brochure about AMP

Christopher’s drawing enlivens the brochure for Achieving Maximum Potential (AMP)

Pop-ups are popping up all over! For the brochure at right, AMP participant Christopher drew the young person who pops out to give a thumbs-up to the program, “a youth-driven, statewide group that seeks to unleash the full potential for personal growth among foster and adoptive children in Iowa.” The pop-up brochure has the same information that you can find in a regular brochure (like how you can help AMP), adapted to be interactive and encourage people to pick it up.

Below left, my Franciscan Way of Life class met at Mount St. Francis to learn its history and meet the Sisters. For an art project we made pop-up cards with windows, exploring the idea of transformation.

Below right, I’ve had a long-term interest in paper in three dimensions. This sculpture is one of the 3-D “towns” I used to make, in cotton handmade paper, watercolored and dyed, with a bubble cover.

(See previously:  The July 2015 Newsletter features pop-up artwork from June’s Art Iowa Workshop)

Class grouped around table at Mount Saint Francis in Dubuque, Iowa

Making pop-up cards with the
Franciscan Way of Life class

Colorful town depicted in varying levels of paper

This 3-D town is in the Dermatology Department of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Vocation with a view

My apartment building is getting new windows. All one week workers put up scaffolding, then one morning these guys were working outside my living room window. Yeah, more models! They could see as I began to draw them so I showed them what I was doing, and later taped the sketch inside the window for them to see. For the painting I added my view of the city in the background.

Sketch and watercolor painting of high-rise window installers over downtown Iowa City, by Jo Myers-Walker

These high-rise window installers are artists of their trade.
The worker shown on the left also creates custom jewelry —
I asked for his card, and he is on Facebook at 1OAK by AztkWarrior.

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Guantánamo clippers

Acrylic painting of clipper ships on Guantanamo Bay by Jo Myers-Walker

Clipper ships

This painting I did more than 40 years ago when my husband and I were stationed at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. This is where I started painting in acrylics and teaching at their small art center on the base. I was fascinated with the old sailing ships. The folklore told of many battles and pirates in the cove, and I went snorkeling with the Marines to see shipwreck sites for myself. I did more research with my neighbor who took photos under water and explained how they would sail before the battles.

I began to paint the wind in sails, often two at a time when my girls took naps. Just graduated from ISU, I was free to paint what I wanted without being graded (my teachers thought I was a bit too free with the brush strokes). It was then that I began to feel the freedom of being a painter.

Many thanks to Judy for sending me this photo, sharing memories and catching me up on her life and family. She and her husband commissioned the painting while they were also at the base. I learned that Judy has extensively studied the beautiful Japanese floral art of ikebana, has taught classes in it and now participates in her local chapter of Ikebana International.

(See previously: Ocean memories)

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Big tent

Photography by Rich Clewell displayed on mesh panels inside tent

Mesh panels provide a surface
for displaying artwork

My big tent has been good for a lot of festival displays, but not so good as a roommate — it takes up a lot of space!

In future I won’t do art fairs as much, especially ones that are far away, so I’m trading off with photographer friend Rich Clewell. He has custody of the tent and uses it at art fairs, and when I’m using it I can use his mesh display panels. He has both black and white mesh walls that provide a surface to hang artwork inside the tent. The tent gets a new life, and the mesh walls are lighter and easier to put up than my old door displays.

This photo shows the tent set up with Rich’s work on black mesh walls. You can get a better view of his nature photography at Rich Clewell’s website.

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Thank you for your support

Jo's new stockings

My new tattoos socks

A friend introduced me to the Gold Violin catalog and I ordered these support stockings.

Whenever I wear the patterned pair, people are fascinated with my “tattoos”! I like this painless method of getting ink.

Posted in Uncategorized

Drawing from life

A life drawing model with paintings from workshop at Summerset Winery, July 2015

One of our models admiring our artwork

Artist at work during life drawing workshop at Summerset Winery, July 2015

Diana painting from a model

In July’s figure drawing workshop at Summerset Winery, our models posed for about 20 minutes at a time while we sketched and painted. It’s not easy being a model — you have to be in good shape to hold a pose that long! They were positioned to show the slight S-curve of the body, for the figures to seem animated in the artwork.

We began by finding the shadows to create form. The models were well lighted so we could follow the flow of shadow. I talked about proportion using a little paper “head” as a measuring tool to find the figure’s height and the length of the arms and legs. After students figured out the proportions it was much easier to draw how the body goes together.

Life drawing sketch used to show proportions of the body

Using a paper “head”
as a measuring tool

Life drawing sketch of a sleeping pose

Watercolor sketch of a “sleeping” pose.
Even foreshortening becomes easier
by knowing the proportions.

Posted in Studio Snapshots

July 2015 Newsletter

Jo’s pink bicycle

(click image to download PDF newsletter)

Click the link below to view or download:
In this edition:
  • Summer on two wheels
  • Revisiting old friends
  • Value studies
  • Journal making in Amana
Posted in Newsletters