Demonstrating the shower
curtain in action
With a shoe sculpture
I continue to meet more of the arts community in Iowa City as it is thriving here. In December I was pleased with the turnout at the Eastside Artists Annual Show and Sale (shown above). Besides my shower curtains and pillows, I had some slumped-acrylic sculptures and wrapped horses — I wanted to use up my supplies and had been meaning to do these little projects for the show. Would you believe I have saved these small plastic horses for 25 years, only to still be inspired to cover them with bright fabric and fine wire and wear them on my coat.
Colorful chicken and fancy wrapped horse
The rest of the horses are raring to go
Materials for contemplation
On Friday, February 3, I will be at Our Lady of the Prairie Retreat near Wheatland, Iowa to facilitate a workshop on Contemplative Prayer in Watercolor, as part of a five-week Winter Sabbatical for Religious Sisters. This is good stuff! “As we paint, draw or write the Inward Journey, we discover contemplative meditation and release. We enjoy beauty, freedom and surprise because watercolor is gentle and unburdened. Journals will be available for you to discover your unique gifts and talents, as we begin with awe, wonder and gratitude.”
Mini-Sabbaticals have been set up for those who wish to spend one or more weeks with the Sisters — Week One (January 30 – February 3) focuses on Contemplative Seeing through the Arts. (I’m there only on the Friday and there will be other creative workshops on the other week days.) You can find more information on the web page for Mini-Sabbatical at The Prairie. Space is limited; the registration deadline is January 15.
“Our Lady of the Prairie Retreat is a ministry of the Congregation of the Humility of Mary and is located in rural east central Iowa on a 200-acre native grass prairie woodland along the Wapsipinicon River.”
(Update: I’m also planning a one-day workshop through Emmaus House in Des Moines called “Living Like Francis Today: Journal Painting and Day of Reflection,” on Saturday, February 25 — details are on the Classes and Events page.)
Last class lunch and paint
I have wanted to replace the overhead demonstration mirror I was using for class members to watch me paint. The class had helped me move it back and forth from my apartment to the Senior Center, and we were quite a parade getting 8′ long two-by-fours on the elevators and a 4′ by 5′ mirror. Plus, it was limited in the number of people who could get a good angle to see the demonstrations.
Not wanting to purchase fancy equipment. I did what I always do — improvise using what I have on hand! I bungee corded my laptop to a chair and used the camera to show my watercolor demonstrations on the big screen. It is sorta fun with me the computer wiz, getting control of that thing for a bit. The class loved it and are signing up for next session. They learn more by watching me and repeating the technique shortly after.
My new series of Monday Watercolor Workshops starts January 9th at The Center, and runs twice a month through April. You can register online or see The Center’s Spring 2017 Program Guide (PDF) for more information.
My demonstration on the big screen
Photo courtesy of Joanne Shaffer
I participated in liturgical dance as part of this year’s Call to Action Conference, fun stuff. Albuquerque was amazing, it was a great time to be there.
St. Thomas of Canterbury Episcopal Church has some videos of the dancing posted on their website. I am usually in the back row — it was really fun and moving, but I was the only one with no experience! I could still dance at an elevation over 5000 feet, even after my surgery 10 months ago for a tumor on my IT band. It was a dance celebration of my health.
Painted quilt square, and a sample cloth showing different techniques
Groups like Achieving Maximum Potential (AMP) and the Franciscans have been working to spread awareness of the problem of human trafficking. Starting with a retreat in Dubuque, I’ve been helping others paint quilt squares with empowering phrases to be sewn into lap quilts for young people in crisis centers. The painters take the techniques back to their areas and make more quilt squares for their towns.
This seems to be really going over well — I think there are a lot of quilters out there and they just want to be part of it, showing support for victims of trafficking or domestic violence. I have been painting on fabric for years and bring all the supplies and techniques to the group. I think the energy is in the hands-on, not-machine-perfect designs and heartfelt messages on the squares. These are made with love.
(See previously: Working together against trafficking)
From a workshop in Ames — each person paints quilt squares with empowering phrases.
I’m willing to come and show techniques to a group and just charge for the
supplies and mileage. It is my service project to bring awareness to trafficking.
Many thanks to Lois for the photos!
Bolting the bars on skywalk with Riley and William installing; I unwrapped panels in the background
Speaking at the “grand reveal”
(photo courtesy of
Daughter Adele, granddaughter Olivia, me, and son Devin (photo courtesy of Lois Albrecht).
Devin did the computer work so PlexiCraft could cut the sections out of the Lexan™.
These photos are from downtown Cedar Rapids at the reveal ceremony for my sculpture “Crossroads,” created for Murals & More: the Cedar Rapids Mural Trail and installed on a section of the skywalk across 3rd Street SE. Murals & More is creating an art trail through the downtown area to make the arts central to the daily lives of Iowans. The design was to reflect the people, culture, and spirit of Cedar Rapids.
In preparing my design I walked through the skywalks and down some of the streets and saw a diverse population of all ages. The sculpture consists of eight shaped Lexan™ panels (half on each side of the skywalk), with a total of 40 painted figures representing the diversity of the city — neighbors greeting neighbors, tending to their daily lives and having fun downtown. The figures are walking along with the people in the skywalk and can also be viewed from the street. I used transparent plastic paint to give a stained glass effect when light shines through.
I’ll show and tell more about the process of creating them in an upcoming newsletter!
One of the panels seen from the street
(photo courtesy of Lois Albrecht)
From the inside of the skywalk,
transparent jewel-like colors