To find products to benefit:
- The ALS Association Iowa Chapter: See my blog post Cards to help fight ALS for information on “Family and Friends: Cards to support The ALS Association Iowa Chapter,” a set of notecards to raise money for the Association’s services and research programs.
- Lila Mae’s House: Order notecards, scarves, and bags online at Shop to Shelter for Lila Mae’s House (external website, shoptoshelter.com), or see my Creating for a Cause page for more information on this special collection to promote awareness and to raise money for organizations working against human trafficking.
(This post is “stickied” to remain at the top of the blog; newer blog posts may appear below.)
Check out my painting demonstration on YouTube! I recorded myself working at home, and media consultant Devin Walker (my son) gave me technical advice and edited the video into its final form. As I’m painting I describe the process of creating a commissioned work of art, how I work with a client to turn their photos and memories into watercolor.
Marisa self quarantined
but happy to watch me paint
Marisa is home safely from Muscatine and sheltering in place, where she can watch me paint (and I can talk to her!).
She had been part of the “Hard Won, Not Done” exhibit at the Muscatine Art Center, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
With art centers and galleries closed for safety, many of them are coming up with fun things to do on their web pages and social media accounts, and creative ways to have events online. (Marisa may show up in some future teaching videos!)
Sewing face masks
Staying safe while painting
I like making things, something to keep my hands busy at night while watching Netflix. Living alone I miss human contact in these social-distancing days, so making face masks was a way to connect with people from a safe distance. Giving them to people in my building made me feel good, like I was saying “I care about you.” I could use up pretty colors of fabric I had on hand, but elastic is not so easy to find, with many in Iowa City making masks. I had to have another sewer smuggle in elastic to me, keeping six feet away while I wore my mask, like a contraband transaction.
I am staying in except for walking outside a bit, just the skateboarders and me on the empty streets. I’ve attended virtual Mass, watching the Sisters with their amazing voices sing, and keep in touch with family through a phone app. The people in the paintings I’m working on are becoming my imaginary friends.
On Easter Sunday my grandmother clock started chiming in to keep me company — she hadn’t chimed the hours since my move to Iowa City! The sound brought back memories of a favorite ISU study room with a wonderful clock in it.
Empty streets and sidewalks
except for skateboarders
Easter chimes and my resourceful T-square used for a TV antenna
Arranging the characters to tell the story
By the time a painting is finished, I’ve done a scene three times! I start with a sketch, moving and overlapping shapes using tracing paper to plan the composition. Here I’m experimenting with the arrangement and gestures of a family at a dock in Florida, and perspective for the boats on the water.
I’ll show more of the stages in future posts.
(click image to
visit their website)
Update: I was honored to be interviewed by Carole Horowitz for a segment of her radio show “KHOI Previews the Arts” on Thursday, April 16.
KHOI FM is a community radio station where I volunteered in my Ames/Gilbert days, which produces a variety of locally-produced programs. Some central Iowans can listen on the air at 89.1 FM (map of broadcast signal area), and everyone can listen to its shows (including Carole’s!) online from KHOI’s web streaming and podcast page.
Update: Out of concern for everyone’s health regarding COVID-19, these galleries which had exhibits including my work have been closed for the time being.
Beréskin Gallery & Art Academy (Bettendorf, IA) – gallery closed until (at least) April 1, 2020; check out their online offerings!
- Link fixed! Muscatine Art Center (Muscatine, IA) – closed for (at least) 4 weeks starting March 20, 2020 (I had also been scheduled for a panel discussion during that time)
River Arts Center (Clinton, IA) – closed until further notice (part of the Iowa Watercolor Society’s 2019–2020 Traveling Show)
Keep an eye on their websites/social media accounts (linked above) for updates as they re-assess when to re-open.
I hope you will take care and be healthy, and that everyone’s efforts will pay off!
The homestead with children playing,
ducks conspiring, and sisters taking pictures
(painting size 22″ x 30″; click image to view larger)
This has been a fun project to recreate the homestead where my client and her siblings grew up in rural Illinois. She went on a quest to get me photos of the house in sunlight, which became quite a journey for her and her sister. They contacted the current residents and got permission to come out and take pictures, after some initial skepticism about the unknown women who kept calling! (They had the residents check my website to make sure I was legit.) There had been some changes as it had been 50 years since they grew up there, and trees had grown up around the house.
I interviewed my client and heard what the story could be, what about the house was meaningful, and where her siblings played. So began the stories of jumping off the back porch to get on and ride their horses, swinging from the tree in the front yard, and the ducks under the tree that insisted on roosting on the back porch, much to the dismay of my client’s mother! For the painting I “trimmed the trees” a bit so I could see the house as they may have seen it. On the right are the two modern-day sisters wandering around the outside of the house to get pictures for me. I put some sunlight casting shadows across the front to liven things up as it was a happy place for them growing up.
Reference photos provide different views of the house
I based “Elsie” on my grandmother because of her determination and perseverance (smaller study on the right,
full-sheet painting on the left).
The strength and determination
of “Patience” are visible
in her face and demeanor.
Friend Mary helped me transport two paintings and a sculpture to Muscatine Art Center for their exhibit “Hard Won, Not Done,” works by 24 eastern Iowa women artists commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote.
Update: Out of concern for everyone’s health regarding COVID-19, the Muscatine Art Center has closed for four weeks effective March 20, which extends beyond the scheduled ending date for the exhibit (I had also been scheduled to participate in a panel discussion during that time). Keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates as they re-assess when to re-open!
“Hard Won, Not Done” was just one of three exhibits at Muscatine Art Center at the same time, inspired by the 19th Amendment milestone.
Transporting “Marisa” (handmade-paper sculpture). I imagine Marisa
at the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women’s rights convention.
Suffragists became mindful of how style influenced their public image.
Jeanette and Joan helping
to set up at Eastside Artists
Thank you to everyone who came to the Eastside Artists Show and Sale, and to everyone who donated bras to help Free the Girls!
I could feel the joy of community as guests enjoyed the show. It began my Christmas of hope and light coming into the world.
The Eastside Artists Annual Show and Sale is a December tradition in Iowa City. Mark your calendar to check the Eastside Artists Facebook page for next year’s show!
Jo and Jo: When I was not at my booth, I still was anyway!
You may recognize my alter ego from the post Art in Amana. I printed out close-up
photos of class members and myself, then we cut out our faces the best we could
and put foam core behind them to stabilize. (Photos courtesy of Patti Z)