Sitting around, waiting to be painted
“Sitters” have been taking over my apartment as I cut out fifty of the little slumped-acrylic sculptures for centerpieces for Gala 2018, the largest “FUNdraising” event for the Newman Catholic Student Center at the University of Iowa. Next I’ll be painting the figures. The students posed as models for them and will help me with the centerpieces, which will be sold at the gala to support the Newman Center’s programs.
Gala 2018 will be held on April 21 at The Celebration Farm venue. Tickets for the event are $75.00 and seats are limited to the first 250 people. See the Gala 2018 website for more information!
The finished painting with people completed
I am repeating the Linn Street scene with a different composition and more people going to school with their morning coffee. I sit and watch what is going on with my neighbors, draw them to get a story in that moment.
The in-progress photos (below) show that as I paint the background, I leave a space where they will live.
In progress, leaving space for the inhabitants
Iowa Artisans Gallery logo
(click image to visit their site)
I’m honored to be the subject of an article on Iowa Artisans Gallery’s website: In the Studio with Jo Myers-Walker. Anne from the gallery came over and took photos of the studio and interviewed me, with thoughtful questions including my work’s spiritual influence.
Iowa Artisans Gallery is in downtown Iowa City and has my watercolors for sale when available. Their blog also has interesting interviews with other artists whose work is featured in the gallery.
More close-ups of the characters from legends depicted in the Canticle sculpture:
Details from the Canticle sculpture: The cock and chicken; the wolf of Gubbio
Details from the Canticle sculpture: Rabbits; the tail flapping fish
The finished Canticle sculpture displayed on an easel
(Photo courtesy of Lisa Schmidt — click image to view larger)
Before my knee surgery in October I needed to be grounded to have a successful outcome. I had been working on the Mercer project and was worn out and having knee pain. I started reading some of the legends surrounding St. Francis of Assisi, who knew how to talk to birds and animals. Those stories are very calming for me as he would praise all things created by God. It got my mind off my knee as I started symbolizing the characters using my interpretations. I painted these on a 36″ x 63″ slumped acrylic panel for the Sisters of St. Francis in Dubuque, using the legends beginning with a joyful Francis and Clare dancing.
In the legend of the tail flapping fish (in the center) that Francis let go after catching, the fish was allowed its freedom, allowed life, a chance to heal joyfully.
The friendly falcon (on the left) would wake Francis in the mornings by flapping his strong wings. One morning he knew Francis did not sleep well so he took his time. I think our cats and dogs know when we need a little attention as they can tell when we are in danger or sad.
The cock and the chicken (on the left), the chicken is life giving whereas the cock is boastful, needs to be the center of attention, lacks humility, with good intentions however.
The wheat symbolizes the bread of life, it has to fall to the ground so more wheat can grow, we have to “die to self” to be created anew over and over.
Details from the Canticle sculpture: the Friendly Falcon; the Noisy Swallows
The noisy swallows (on the right) would not let Francis speak. so he asked them to quiet down and they did. I have to tell my monkey brain to stop talking, keeping me absorbed in my own thoughts, and out of control instead of letting go and letting God.
Brother Sun (on the left) warms me, helps grow things and gives me hope for a new day.
Sister Moon (on the right) lights my way at night, she is loving and chases away the dark, I think it is a rebirth and I make an action plan for the morning. She understands the universe and I trust her.
Sister Death (on the bottom) I drew as acorns that the squirrels plant and then new life emerges as a strong oak tree. I have to “die to self”/set aside my ego so something new can emerge, not just my ideas but God’s.
The doves (on the left) show freedom, beauty, peace and it starts by forgiving myself so I can forgive others.
Details from the Canticle sculpture: Doves; Acorns and leaves
Sister Water is useful in all things, cleansing, grounding, refreshing and sustaining me. I am a swimmer and find water very comforting and healing.
You can see butterflies as they are resurrected and transformed, sometimes I need to go into my cocoon.
The cicadas sing their songs every 7 years, this shows me patience. Let it be and there will be a way revealed.
The cricket is sometimes noisy but some say lucky, it teaches me to appreciate people for who they are, noisy and all!
May the year 2018 be one of Hope.
Eastside Artists group photo
(courtesy of Patti Zwick)
This year I became one of the tenured artists with the Iowa City Eastside Artists, pictured here at the 2017 show earlier this month. The group invites 2 or 3 juried artists each year to exhibit alongside the 20 tenured artists. The Eastside Artists Show and Sale is different than an art festival, buyers can purchase unique small gifts representing the artist’s larger works. All the artists participate in advertising, setting up and breaking down, hosting, and as clerks and baggers.
I’m letting go of my walker as my knee continues to recover after a knee replacement in October. Lucky for me I could work my shift and take my new knee home for a nap and ice, or others stepped in for me if I needed to rest. It is a very friendly group all working together.
My booth at the 2017 show and sale
Pillows were popular (digitally printed with my watercolor designs)
Detail of the new mural
Folks at the ribbon cutting
Thank you to everyone who came to the ribbon cutting for the new mural at Mercer Park Aquatic Center! The mural, a colorful cityscape, is made of Lexan™ panels with interactive moving parts inspired by STEAM topics (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math). On the upper panels I drew downtown Iowa City with the Courthouse, Old Capitol, and Clock Tower. I also painted the sun and moon, and a mosque, synagogue, church and temple as I saw people feeling safe to play.
The mural was a collaborative project — I worked with artists and engineers from the University of Iowa College of Engineering NEXUS Program, Iowa City Parks and Recreation, and more members of the Iowa City community. The ceremony program (shown at bottom left, click to view larger) gives special thanks to some of the people most involved, and this article in The Daily Iowan does a great job of describing the collaboration:
I’ll show more of the process of making the mural in future posts. As my artist’s statement says, “For me this was a gift to celebrate joy and playfulness and to be creative during these disturbing times of suffering. Creating art is meditative, reflective and helps ground me. I experienced a sense of oneness with the Mercer family and the Iowa City community that gave me a sense of grace and solace.”
Program from the ribbon cutting,
plus a few extra thanks
(click image to view larger)
Whitney and Grace
The Iowa Watercolor Society’s Traveling Show is a selection of works from a variety of Iowa artists, chosen each year from the Society’s juried exhibition. I’m honored to have one of my paintings (After the Rain, We Play, shown here) in the 2017–2018 show which will travel to: (contact galleries for exact dates/times)
After the Rain, We Play
Schedule information is from the Traveling Show page of IWS’s website, where you can find more details plus a preview of the exhibit!