Last weekend nearly 200 artists in a variety of media opened their studios for the fourth annual Visites d’ateliers d’artistes (“Visits to artists’ studios”; link is to a machine-translated page), a chance to talk with the artists and see their artwork and where it was created.
Bonnie and I had several adventures on the way to finding the painters we’d decided to visit. One studio near our apartment was off of a tiny street or walkway where no horseman could ride. In another area we found buildings numbered haphazardly, with the odd numbered 30’s across the street from the even numbered 40’s. The artists were gracious and enthusiastic, and though our French was more like a pidgin mix of speech, art is the universal language.
(Many thanks to Bonnie Dix for co-writing this post, and taking the photos!)
The charming Francis Caudron, an artist in many media whose work includes calligraphy-like figures
Gracious host and acrylic painter Lionel LaGrange, in his studio right on the Seine
Saturday night we went to the “Cathedral of Light” (Cathédrale de Lumière) outdoor sound and light show, with video projected onto the front of Rouen Cathedral. It was spectacular standing with Rouen families, looking 100 ft. in the air and experiencing going through time, starting with the story Joan of Arc who was martyred in Rouen. The cathedral was all in flames with the sounds of wood burning, and the wars were depicted with the clanking of swords and and cries. Later a show of Impressionist art turned the cathedral into a Monet painting.
Scenes from the “Cathedral of Light” sound and light show
(Many thanks to Bonnie Dix for these photos!)
You can see more of the “Cathedral of Light” show online:
The website Projection Mapping Central has more information about this type of show.
Lately I’ve been sketching people in the new journal I’m taking on my trip, drawing the people at an outdoor cafe in Iowa City and pretending I am in Rouen, as sort of a warmup. I’m drawing what I see so that later I can compose a painting. I have a little palette I take with me to add local color right away using the water from my water bottle.
I got my sewing machine out and angled all my 1990’s skirts, added some chic tops, and I am ready for Paris!
Drinking water in Iowa, pretending I am in Rouen drinking French wine
(still gotta wear my Nikes for mature feet)
My friend Mary and I wore our quilted jackets (photo courtesy of Mary)
IQG’s Charleen Richtsmeier helps show off a “UFO” quilt (its creator is just visible holding up the far end)
I was honored to be asked to give a talk during the Iowa Quilters Guild (IQG) annual meeting at Reiman Gardens on Saturday. Quilt design has a lot in common with painting in terms of composition and color. I talked about things to consider when designing a quilt such as line, form, texture, shape, and value. We did an exercise on color mixing so the quilt would have a dominant color.
The IQG holds a beautiful Garden Quilt Show at Reiman in conjunction with their meeting. The thing I noticed most was the amazing stitching. It becomes line in motion; the closer the stitching, the darker the value.
One of the categories in the show was UFO Quilts — UFO for “Un-Finished Objects”! Months in advance, members submit a photo of an unfinished project they had started at one time but set aside. Then the challenge is to finish the project for display at the quilt show. I have my own stack of “UFO” watercolors about 6″–8″ high that I haven’t finished; when I go back to them, I can see them with a new point of view.
Me, Leslie, and Jan at Salt Fork Kitchen
Leslie, Jan, and I went to Solon, Iowa last week to hang our work for a combined show (update: this exhibit has now ended) at the Salt Fork Kitchen restaurant (usually open only for breakfast and lunch). The food is super there, “with ingredients grown as close-by as possible to your plate, in order to ensure freshness and quality.” Their muffin-like bread is amazing. The restaurant is an outgrowth of nearby Salt Fork Farms which produces many of the Kitchen’s ingredients, along with other local sources.
Family portrait with Herky
After spending their summer as a public art project, the Herky statues have been removed from the streets. They were displayed together and some sold at silent auction at the Fry Fest on August 29. Some more were sold at live auction at the Englert Theater on September 12, after a special presentation of a documentary about the Herky on Parade 2 project.
The Herky that I painted (Herky’s Community) wasn’t up for auction — it was purchased by its sponsor, the Iowa City Downtown District! I’ll let you know if I find out more about Herky’s future travels.
Our booth at the Fair
(photo courtesy of Pam McKenna)
Demonstrating and painting
with others at the Fair
At this year’s Iowa State Fair I shared a booth in the Cultural Center with artist friends Pam McKenna, Tina Rice, and Amber Russell-Zepeda. In the evening when the bands began to play across the street at the Anderson Erickson stage, things quieted down in our building. The Fair folks let me set up a painting table next to our booth to demonstrate on during my shift, mostly in the evenings about 7 to 9.
Liz, proud of her chicken
(photo courtesy of Liz)
Me with chicken painted during demonstration
(photo courtesy of Liz)
During the slow times I met a man who could make a paper airplane out of one of my not-so-good watercolors, using just his feet and toes. Then we flew the airplane around the booth. Only at the Fair!
Marg, Joan, and Bonnie painting next to the booth
Talented feet, folding an airplane