A tip of the hat

Jo Myers-Walker trying on a hat at La Boutique de Maman

Finding a flattering style

Jo Myers-Walker modeling hat from Rouen millinery

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.

Hats arranged with tea set

We used a bird’s-eye view of the hats
as an exercise in drawing class

Watercolor painting of La Boutique de Maman by Jo Myers-Walker

The boutique,
celebrated in watercolor

Posted in Studio Snapshots

The Daily Palette

Logo of The Daily Palette website

(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.

Posted in Studio Snapshots

February 2015 Newsletter

Detail of watercolor painting of Rouen Cathedral interior by Jo Myers-Walker

Rouen Cathedral (detail)
(click image to download PDF newsletter)

Click the link below to view or download:
In this edition:
  • 2014 in words and pictures
  • Join me in art journaling
  • People, places and paintings of Rouen
  • “Little Gems”
Posted in Newsletters

Waiting for spring

Herky's Community statue at its winter location

Herky parking

Watercolor painting of the Englert Theater viewed through a window across the street

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.

Drawing created with pancake batter on a griddle

Pancake art

Family members cooking breakfast including pancake artwork

Drawing breakfast

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Mother Xavier

Mother Xavier Termehr, watercolor painting by Jo Myers-Walker

Mother Xavier

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.

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Capturing the essence

Page from Jo Myers-Walker's sketchbook showing Undiz store in Rouen

From my art journal/sketchbook:
the Undiz lingerie store and some hairstyles in Rouen (the notes say that I found the French women’s style of dress very tasteful and feminine, and their hair worn very natural.)

At the opening reception for my exhibit at Wheatsfield Co-op, I met up with old acquaintances and talked about art journaling, and guests could enjoy the wines of Calico Skies Vineyard and Winery from northwest Iowa. I shared my sketchbook with people, walking us through neighborhoods and the places I visited, letting them see how I developed the paintings in the exhibit from quick sketches in my art journal. I wanted to paint the culture, people, daily life in Rouen.

Like the French emphasis on fresh market food, Wheatsfield emphasizes fresh, local, and organic products. They have been known to let me bring my classes in to paint their vegetables (see the painting “Wheatsfield” on the Online Gallery page). Then we could purchase and eat the subjects, to appreciate all of their essence!

(My exhibit has ended, but there is a different artist’s work on display every month at Wheatsfield.)

Saturday Night in Rouen, watercolor painting by Jo Myers-Walker

“Saturday Night in Rouen” is part of the exhibit
(Undiz on the left; I’m at bottom left,
being serenaded by accordion)

Community art gallery at Wheatsfield Co-op in the deli seating area

Wheatsfield’s deli seating area is also a
show space with a lovely hanging system

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Walking home in Rouen

Walking home in Rouen, scene in Jo Myers-Walker's sketchbook

The scene in my sketchbook

Walking Home in Rouen, start of the painting by Jo Myers-Walker

Sketching and starting to paint

It is Saturday evening on la rue du Gros-Horloge, about three blocks from our apartment on rue St. Romain. We could always find our way home because of the Cathedral being taller than the houses and shops. Saturday night was for strolling with your family and friends. Just like in Assisi, there was a real community feel with people holding hands, stopping in the shops, having dinner after 7:30. Food vendors, musicians, people selling balloons for grownups and kids, everyone wearing a scarf. I felt very safe and a part of there.

Walking Home in Rouen, watercolor painting by Jo Myers-Walker shown in progress

Painting in progress

Walking Home in Rouen, watercolor painting by Jo Myers-Walker

The completed painting

Posted in Studio Snapshots, Travelogue


Castle gate at Caen, France

Bonnie crossing the moat
into Caen Castle

Model of Caen Castle

Scale model
of the castle

Before leaving France we took a day to visit historic sites related to the World War II Battle of Normandy, first hopping a train to Caen, a city not far from the D-Day beaches which itself suffered great losses in the war. In the morning we went way back in time touring the Château de Caen (Caen Castle), built by Viking descendant William the Conqueror in the 11th century and “one of the largest castles in Western Europe.” I felt like I was on a pilgrimage again, feeling the people that lived and worked in the castle in earlier ages. Archaeologists are still finding ruins there and the Roman influences.

In the afternoon we went on to the Mémorial de Caen war museum and memorial. It was very moving, like you were there; we went back in time again as we learned about conditions leading up to and during the war, the courageous Resistance, and the amazing engineering involved in the Allied invasion. We rode though small villages with our guide explaining what life was like in France. I could just see our soldiers peeking around the stone villages and trying to get through the thick hedgerows, a real stumbling block for our troops. This is how the farmers kept their animals and crops on their property as a sort of fence, but was impossible to go through.

At last we reached the beaches at Arromanches. This was holy ground for me; several people were weeping as you could imagine the cries of war. Many of the soldiers are buried near there, where they died, because there were so many. The ground still had bombshell craters that you could walk down into, and the original German guns can be seen on the cliff. We went to Utah, Omaha and Gold beaches and ended at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, a beautiful peaceful space overlooking Omaha Beach.

Cemetery for US soldiers who died in the Normandy Invasion, WW II

Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial
(rows of white crosses visible in the distance)

Sculpture on Omaha Beach honoring courage of soldiers in WW II

Les Braves sculpture by Anilore Banon,
an “homage to courage” on Omaha Beach

Posted in Travelogue

A brief glimpse

Palace of Versailles:

Portrait of Queen Marie Antoinette and her children, on display at Palace of Versailles

“Marie Antoinette and her Children at Versailles” by Vigée Le Brun (1788)

Chandeliers and painted ceiling in the Hall of Mirrors

Hall of Mirrors
at the Palace of Versailles

Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris:

Stained-glass rose window viewed from inside Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris

The cathedral’s rose windows
date from the 13th century

Exterior view of Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris

View from the Seine

Musée d’Orsay, Paris:

Sculpture of elephant outside Musée d'Orsay, Paris

Life-size elephant sculpture
by Emmanuel Frémiet (1878)

Viewing Paris through glass clock face at Musée d'Orsay

Looking out of the Musée d’Orsay clock tower
with a view of the Louvre

Posted in Travelogue

Rouen shops

Dame Cakes in Rouen housed in former ironworks artist’s workshop

Outside Dame Cakes building
on rue St. Romain

We enjoyed lunch at Dame Cakes tea shop, housed in the former workshop of Ferdinand Marrou (link to machine-translated page), an artist in ironworks who created the tower on the Cathedral.

Shopkeepers in Rouen are proud of their products, truly individual like a signature of who they are. We say Bonjour and so do they when we come into their shop. They are very respectful and do not hard-sell but let you absorb the amazing displays. When we leave they say Au revoir, or good-bye and have a nice journey. Much grace and you always speak quietly, especially in a cafe — no hurrying about, but enjoying the down time.

I had my first hat fitting with a delightful milliner on rue St. Nicolas (La Boutique De Maman), and had a wool hat made to cover my ears for winter. She even gave me a beret in trade for a painting!

Milliner fitting a hat on rue St. Nicolas in Rouen

The hat designer at work

Hats at lovely Rouen shop

An inviting selection
at the milliner’s shop

Posted in Travelogue