Visites d’ateliers d’artistes

Jo Myers-Walker with Marie-Antoinette Girard, Agnès Dévé, and Adeline Gouarné

Marie-Antoinette Girard (left), Agnès Dévé (right), and Adeline Gouarné (front) paint in the same studio, and invited us to come back and work with them!

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!)

Artist Francis Caudron pictured in his studio with Jo Myers-Walker

The charming Francis Caudron, an artist in many media whose work includes calligraphy-like figures

Artist Lionel LaGrange pictured in his studio with Jo Myers-Walker

Gracious host and acrylic painter Lionel LaGrange, in his studio right on the Seine

Posted in Travelogue

Making friends in Rouen

Painting with friends in Rouen

Painting with Zoe and mom Delphine. Delphine helps us get around and Zoe teaches me French.

Zoe adds to the Rouen sketchbook

Zoe painting in my sketchbook. She reminds me of my grandchildren — I miss them!
(photo courtesy of Bonnie Dix)

Artisan painting a ceramic piece

Amazing artisan:  a neighbor
on our street, creating a
delicate layered design.
   

Plates and other ceramic ware painted with French roosters

Some of his beautiful work on display in the shop. The rooster is a symbol of France (and a frequent subject of my own painting!).

Bonnie, Bertrand, and Bonnie's dessert at the coffee shop

Bonnie and Bertrand approve of her dessert choice at The CHOColate Bar

Outdoor ping pong in a Rouen park

Playing ping pong in the park near the Church of St. Ouen (they let me win)

Posted in Travelogue

Seeing the sights

Joan of Arc was martyred in Rouen in 1431 AD. This cross now stands as a memorial.

Joan of Arc Memorial Cross
(photo courtesy of Bonnie Dix)

Drum corps on Rouen street

Rocking out with the drum corps
   

Un Repas de Noces à Yport by Albert Fourié

Coffee at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Rouen,
drawing in my sketchbook from this painting of a wedding meal. All the faces tell a story and their relationship to the others.

Cupid sculpture, Rouen

Sculpture at the Musée des Beaux-Arts — “love is blind” and here Cupid is applying the blindfold!

La rue du Gros-Horloge, Rouen

Our “Main Street,” la rue du Gros-Horloge, with the Gros Horloge in the background (literally “big clock,” dating from the 14th century)

Fleuriste dans la rue du Gros-Horloge, Rouen

Beautiful flowers amid centuries-old buildings on the rue du Gros-Horloge pedestrian street
(link is to a machine-translated page)
   

Posted in Travelogue

Cathedral of light

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.

Video projection on the Rouen Cathedral

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.

Posted in Travelogue

Arrival in Rouen

Interior of Rouen cathedral

In the cathedral thanking God for the trip, it is a big world to live in!

Rouen apartment

First night in the apartment — dinner after a day of sketching

Cafe in Rouen

Local cafe

Jo painting at Rouen cafe

Painting during lunch on my street

Street in Rouen

My street, my cafe, half-timbered medieval homes. Note there is not a straight line to paint.

Palais de Justice, Rouen

The Palais de Justice (courthouse) looks just like a cathedral, gargoyles and all to keep the peace.

Posted in Travelogue

Travel preparations

Jo's watercolor journal

New journal

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!

Jo drinking water

Drinking water in Iowa, pretending I am in Rouen drinking French wine

Jo's travel wardrobe

Travel wardrobe
(still gotta wear my Nikes for mature feet)

Posted in Travelogue

Quilt show and UFOs

Jo Myers-Walker with quilted jacket

My friend Mary and I wore our quilted jackets (photo courtesy of Mary)

UFO Quilt at the Iowa Quilters Guild 2014 Garden Quilt Show

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.

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Art show at Salt Fork Kitchen

Jo Myers-Walker, Leslie Leavenworth, and Jan Vander Linden after hanging their artwork at Salt Fork Kitchen in Solon, Iowa

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.

Posted in Travelogue

Farewell to Herky

Daughters and granddaughters posing with Herky's Community statue

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.

Posted in Upcoming Events

State Fair 2014 scenes

Booth in the Cultural Center at the 2014 Iowa State Fair

Our booth at the Fair
(photo courtesy of Pam McKenna)

Watercolor painting demonstration at the 2014 Iowa State Fair

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 with painting done at Iowa State Fair demonstration

Liz, proud of her chicken
(photo courtesy of Liz)

Jo with painting done at Iowa State Fair demonstration

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!

Painting table at the 2014 Iowa State Fair booth

Marg, Joan, and Bonnie painting next to the booth

Paper airplane being folded using only feet and toes

Talented feet, folding an airplane

Posted in Studio Snapshots