Painting at The Center

Watercolor and Drawing class at The Center, Iowa City, Iowa

Class members at The Center and their artwork

Here’s my winter Watercolor and Drawing class at The Center in Iowa City, admiring their work on the 8th week. Several of them were taking a painting class for the first time, and they were amazed looking at the progress in each other’s work.

Posted in Studio Snapshots

IWS newsletter; France in the future

Cover of Iowa Watercolor Society newsletter with artwork by Ken Harskamp

Iowa Watercolor Society
Winter 2013–2014 newsletter
(cover art by Ken Harskamp;
click image to visit IWS website)

The Iowa Watercolor Society’s Winter 2013–2014 newsletter includes an item about my Assisi pilgrimage and paintings, along with other watercolorists’ artwork, ideas, and articles on technique, and news about IWS events. You can download a copy from the Newsletters page of the IWS website.

As the newsletter mentions, I’m planning a trip to Rouen, France later this year (update: mid-September to mid-October 2014), to immerse myself in the culture and to paint. I’d like to have a few people join me for about 10 days during that time, to paint en plein air at nearby sites, including the Rouen Cathedral. Send me an email ( if you’re interested!

Posted in Upcoming Events

3D journal making

Journal makers working at table filled with art supplies

Six journal makers joined in

These photos are from a recent journal-making workshop in a private home, where we used an artful meditation process to create 8-page pop-up journals on “Painting the Inward Journey.” We focused on our Treasure, Daring the dark (Sister Moon), Creativity meditation (with Brother Sun), and our Transformation into the light.

Even though I was leading the journal making, what a gift they all were to me as I learned how to celebrate our oneness. I could feel the Spirit move through these delightful people.

3D page from a journal

A page out of a meditation journal

Journal makers working with 3D elements

Getting into the 3D!

Posted in Studio Snapshots

San Rufino

Cathedral of San Rufino, watercolor painting by Jo Myers-Walker

Cathedral of San Rufino in Assisi

Another scene from the trip to Assisi — this painting shows us outside the Cathedral of San Rufino, where Francis and Clare and several other Brothers were baptized. This was the only baptismal font in Assisi until 1924. I was baptized while we were there, as were all the Pilgrims in our group; it was very meaningful for me as sort of a new beginning in my spiritual life.

Clare’s family may have lived next door to the cathedral, on the left. She worshiped there and heard Francis preach, and on Palm Sunday of 1212 she was inspired to leave home and journey to Porziuncola where she dedicated herself to a religious life.

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Packing up the Christmas tree

My Christmas tree this year was made from painted slumped acrylic, shown below left with some of the crèche figures. St. Francis is credited with starting the tradition of the Nativity scene in Europe, portraying the birth of Jesus Christ using living people and animals for the first time in western Christianity. In 1223 he had the people of Greccio, Italy come up the mountain to a cave, carrying torches to light the way, to see the manger scene illustrating Jesus’s birth while Francis preached.

Below right, the evergreen tree is going back into the Christmas bag to come out next time with more animals I hope.

Slumped-acrylic Christmas tree and Nativity scene

Christmas tree and crèche before Jesus arrived (I gave some of the animals to my grandchildren)

Acrylic figures loading tree into bag for storage

The crèche figures lend a hand in packing up the Christmas tree into the bag

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Opening in Maquoketa

Jo Myers-Walker and Louise O'Donnell

With Louise O’Donnell
at the Maquoketa Art Experience

It was a cold wintry night on December 13th for the Artist Opening of my show with Louise O’Donnell at the Maquoketa Art Experience. Thanks to David Voy for this photo — you can visit David’s blog for more photos and a video walk-through of the exhibit (update: January 11 was the last day of the exhibit).

Artist Rose Frantzen, a cousin of Louise, came to the opening and afterward we visited her studio in a high-ceilinged old building with artwork all around. She was working on a beautiful large canvas, and I was so inspired to go home and start work on a full sheet!

Posted in Studio Snapshots

December 2013 Newsletter

Mount La Verna

Mount La Verna
(click image to download PDF newsletter)

Click the link below to view or download:
In this edition:
  • Thoughts on moving to Iowa City, and my Franciscan “journey” — the spiritual one, and a pilgrimage to Assisi
  • Photos and paintings around Assisi
  • This year’s Christmas painting
Posted in Newsletters

Tau easel

Olivewood easel from Assisi

Easel with tau symbol

This is my easel I bought in Assisi, made of olive wood with a beautiful grain. Note the tau (T-shape) in the middle — the “Tau Cross,” named after the Greek letter, was adopted by St. Francis as a personal symbol. So when I paint, Francis is helping me out.

(You can find out more at the Wikipedia article for Tau Cross.)

Posted in Studio Snapshots

A narrow path

One of the narrow streets of Assisi, Italy

A street in Assisi

Earlier this month I got back from a Franciscan Pilgrimage to Assisi, Italy, and one of my hotels was around the corner from this street. We did a great deal of walking to historic sites in the area. Originally built in ancient Roman times, the streets are very narrow by today’s standards but you still had to watch for little cars! When the roads were first built the street level was 7 feet lower that it is now. In several churches they had clear floors so you could see down to the original foundation.

I’ll share more pictures of Assisi and thoughts about my Franciscan “journey” in an upcoming newsletter.

Posted in Uncategorized

Doorway to the past

Chapel attached to the Newman Center in Iowa City

Chapel door

Walking past this little chapel building, I felt an energy and started a quest to find out more about it. It’s currently attached to the Newman Center on its west side (shown in this picture), but it’s had many names, and played an important role in the history of Franciscans in Iowa. I’ll report more when I’ve completed more research!

What buildings do you walk by, that have stories in their past?

Posted in Studio Snapshots