Shop for Lila Mae’s House (sticky post)

Now you can order Creating for a Cause products online at Shop to Shelter for Lila Mae’s House! (external website,

See my Creating for a Cause page for background on this special collection of notecards, scarves, and bags featuring images from my artwork, developed to promote awareness and to raise money for organizations working against human trafficking. The section Help us “Create for a Cause!” tells about workshops where we make the pouches to bundle the notecards.

(This post is “stickied” to remain at the top of the blog; newer blog posts may appear below.)

Posted in Uncategorized

West Des Moines workshop

Painters work at tables in a watercolor workshop at Artisan Gallery 218 in West Des Moines, Iowa

Watercolorists at work

Various students' work from a watercolor workshop

Starting from outlines to practice fabric shading

My watercolor workshop at Artisan Gallery 218 focused on the figures that bring a painting to life. We painted flowers as a warmup, plenty of little chickens to practice with colors, and animated figures the rest of the time.

The workshop had some beginners and some more experienced painters. I brought the good paper — 140 lb. Arches — so people were very successful. Often beginners think their work is not worthy of the good paper, then get frustrated when they can’t get the results they want. You won’t get the same effect of the techniques I’m demonstrating unless you use the paper I’m using. The 100% cotton paper is soft and absorbs color, and strong enough to lift off or scrub off parts you want to change. You can even work on the back.

I’ve been putting together a 3- or 4-page workbook specific to each workshop, copied at the printers and sewn together on my sewing machine. Each participant can see the supplies we’ll be using and what we’ll be doing in a step-by-step process. They can take the workbook home and continue learning. It’s all about practice! Every time you paint, you learn more.

Pages from a workbook prepared for a watercolor workshop by Jo Myers-Walker

Pages from the workbooks are tailored to the workshop’s content

Posted in Art Tips, Studio Snapshots

Paintings at La Poste

Jo Myers-Walker in front of archway with renovated woodwork at La Poste in Perry, Iowa

La Poste’s building itself is a work of art. Built in 1914 as a post office, it has been painstakingly restored.

I’m honored to have two of my paintings in this year’s Iowa Watercolor Society (IWS) Annual Exhibition. Here I’m dropping them off at La Poste in Perry to join the work of artists from across Iowa, in a wide range of styles. A smaller set of these paintings will be chosen to join the IWS’s 2019-2020 Traveling Show which travels to art centers around the state.

IWS members are signing up to paint at La Poste on Thursdays (4 p.m. –8 p.m.) and make the exhibit available for viewing — you can see who’s scheduled on the Painting at La Poste page. Plus, there will be live music and food to complement the visual show — see La Poste’s Facebook page for each week’s musical artist and menu. (The building is open for scheduled events or by appointment.)

The artwork will be at La Poste until just after the IWS Annual Luncheon and Meeting on Sunday, September 22. You don’t have to be a member to go to the luncheon and get to know fellow artists! Details are on the Luncheon and Meeting signup page; register by September 9.

Noted watercolorist and teacher Alexis Lavine will serve as judge for this year’s Exhibition and will give an art demonstration after the luncheon on September 22.

Jo Myers-Walker poses with paintings to add to the IWS 2019  Annual Exhibition at La Poste in Perry, Iowa

Adding my artwork to the mix

Jo Myers-Walker with two of her paintings, watercolor portraits of women, accepted into the IWS 2019 Annual Exhibition

A closer view of my paintings.
I’ve been getting more into portraits.

Posted in Studio Snapshots, Travelogue, Upcoming Events

South Amana swap meet

Jo Myers-Walker and fellow artist Jeanette at South Amana Swap Meet

Enjoying summer in peaceful South Amana

Jeanette and I have been to The Great South Amana Swap Meet & Farmer’s Market on a couple of Fridays this summer, selling Creating for a Cause cards and enjoying the atmosphere. There are musicians playing, people selling all kinds of things, food to eat there and produce to take home.

As a city dweller it’s grounding for me to get out and see the fields and animals along the way. The lovely barns are well taken care of and make me want to paint the colors in the old wood. We can sit in the shade, listen to bluegrass, and talk to interesting people from all over the country. I come back home at sunset feeling like I’ve truly experienced summer.

Posted in Uncategorized

Amana workshop 2019

Group photo of educators participating in Artistic Journal Making workshop led by artist Jo Myers-Walker

Our creative group of educators

A workshop participant selects colorful paper shapes to add to a three-dimensional artwork

Assembling pieces for a 3-D scene

It’s always a pleasure to return to beautiful Amana, this time to lead a four-day Artistic Journal Making workshop at Amana Arts Guild. The workshop was part of the Art Iowa Workshops offered every year in cooperation with Grant Wood AEA to provide continuing education for educators. We explored how the components of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) can bring together “left brain” and “right brain” approaches and provide a new perspective for problem solving.

The class used a variety of artistic techniques and reflective exercises to create colorful three-dimensional popup art journals. The teachers really had to work the “left brain,” measuring and planning for the precision needed to make the popups work. One idea led to another and they truly enjoyed it. We employed Science using the cotton paper, Engineering and Architecture to make things stand up, and Art for the creative messages.

Two views of a three-dimensional paper scene

Tunnel popup by Maggie, two views to show its construction

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Remembering Charles Reid

Artist Charles Reid paints a cowboy figure at an easel during a 2015 workshop

Learning from watching Charles Reid’s painting technique (2015 workshop)

I was saddened to learn of the death of artist Charles Reid, whose painting style I admire and whose teaching has been an inspiration.

My sketchbooks tell the stories of his workshops I was fortunate to attend (one in 2010 and one in 2015), with plenty of notes alongside the artwork where I tried to write down everything he said. He quietly encouraged me and I learned so much from him.

See also (earlier blog posts):
Pages from Jo Myers-Walker's sketchbook with floral watercolor paintings and notes

Floral sketchbook pages
from the 2010 workshop

Sketchbook pages with watercolor of seated man painted from life by Jo Myers-Walker plus small instructional sketch by Charles Reid

My painting on the left; Charles sketched the
little figure at right to demonstrate proportion.

Posted in Uncategorized

Painters at the festival

A group of five artists poses at a watercolor demonstration tent during the 2019 Iowa Arts Festival

Artists and watercolor class members
Jeanette, Lois, Sally, Thia and Tracy
(Photo courtesy of Lois A.)

Three artists demonstrate watercolor techniques under a tent at the 2019 Iowa Arts Festival

Three painters demonstrate their styles
(at right is Dorothy)
(Photo courtesy of Lois A.)

Jo Myers-Walker's work displayed inside Iowa Artisans Gallery in Iowa City for the 2019 Iowa Arts Festival

My climate-controlled corner

Thank you to all the students stopping by to demonstrate or show enthusiasm for the Iowa Artisans Gallery and our amazing gang of painters!

Above:  Some of the students who took turns demonstrating painting techniques during the recent Iowa Arts Festival, under a tent outside Iowa Artisans Gallery.

At right:  The Gallery graciously hosted my artwork during the festival.

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Iowa Arts Festival 2019

A woman in a flowing dress walks along Iowa Avenue in Iowa City, watercolor painting by Jo Myers-Walker

A Writers’ Workshop
writer downtown

Update:  Iowa Arts Festival has ended for 2019. Thank you to everyone who stopped by!

(Original post:)
Thanks to Iowa Artisans Gallery, I will be inside during this year’s Iowa Arts Festival away from the wind, so my friends will not have to hold my booth on all four corners (see last year’s post)!

Iowa Artisans Gallery is hosting me in a nice space inside their front door at 207 East Washington Street (Iowa City, IA), while outside under a tent, my watercolor class members will be taking turns demonstrating painting techniques. I will be showing new work — downtown Iowa City scenes, new birds and small scenes — along with Creating for a Cause cards and scarves to benefit Lila Mae’s House.

The Iowa Arts Festival is “an award-winning, weekend-long community celebration featuring over 110 local and national visual artists,” so check out all the activities if you’re in town!

Watercolor sketchbook showing scene of Iowa Avenue in Iowa City by Jo Myers-Walker

Preparing a sketch for a painting of Iowa Avenue

Watercolor street scene of Iowa Avenue in downtown Iowa City by Jo Myers-Walker

Iowa Avenue street scene

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Spring graduates

Two watercolor paintings by Jo Myers-Walker of Iowa Avenue in Iowa City busy with pedestrians including recent college grads

University of Iowa graduates approach along Iowa Avenue in
downtown Iowa City, with the Old Capitol Building in the distance

In honor of my granddaughter’s graduation I painted these scenes of Iowa Avenue in Iowa City, with Maddie and her roommates in their graduation attire. I reminded the graduates that they may remain friends forever after living together for four years. I still see my former ISU roommate and other amazing women I lived with in those college days.

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Octagon Shop revisited

Artist Jo Myers-Walker poses in front of the Octagon Gallery Shop in Ames, Iowa with fabric print of one of her watercolor paintings

In front of the shop with “Laundry Day” fabric print

Ames still feels like my hometown and the Octagon is where I got my start. It was great to be back, bringing paintings and prints for the Octagon Gallery Shop!

The original paintings are “Backyard Chickens” (16″ x 20″) and “Waiting for Supper” (20″ x 25″), and the large polyester print is “Laundry Day” (30″ x 40″). There are also lots of my bird prints and several pillows, among the works of “over 180 area artists.”

The shop is at 413 Douglas Avenue in downtown Ames, next door to the Octagon’s Community Gallery.

Works by artist Jo Myers-Walker shown on display at the Octagon Gallery shop in downtown Ames, Iowa

Inside the Octagon Gallery Shop:
“Laundry Day” polyester print is shown above the interior doorway into the
Community Gallery, and my original paintings on the opposite wall.

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Florida revisited

Watercolor painting of people in brightly-colored clothing walking along a Florida beach by Jo Myers-Walker

An earlier impression of people on the beach

Detail of watercolor painting in progress by Jo Myers-Walker showing masking used to preserve white space

Masking to leave white space
for a new painting’s seagulls

Several years ago I visited friends in Florida to soak up the atmosphere and paint three scenes of South Beach for them. I could smell the ocean, observe the people and hear a variety of languages as they passed by. The area is known for its Art Deco buildings and museum, and looks different than any other place I’d been.

Recently a visitor noticed the watercolors in my friends’ building and commissioned two large paintings using the same style and subject matter. Although I never got to talk with him about what he wanted, he trusted I would find a way to personalize the new work. I did research and sent smaller preliminary watercolor sketches to make sure I was on the right track. Then I could feel comfortable starting on the final, larger paintings.

Preliminary watercolor painting of beach scene in South Beach, Florida by Jo Myers-Walker

Preliminary sketch of a beach scene

Preliminary watercolor painting of Ocean Drive in South Beach, Florida by Jo Myers-Walker

Preliminary sketch of scene along Ocean Drive

As I got into it, the story started flowing like a novelette. Each of the characters has their own things to do. A sunbather gestures to illustrate the story she’s telling. Skateboarders and roller skaters roll along Ocean Drive while passersby admire sports cars on the street. Between the sketches and the final paintings, a beach umbrella and pedestrian’s bag have taken on the colors of the Italian flag, and a beach chair has the Ferrari logo.

It was enjoyable to take a mental trip to Florida again as our wind chills were -60 in Iowa at the time; made me warm just thinking about it.

Watercolor painting of beach scene in South Beach, Florida by Jo Myers-Walker

Final painting of the beach scene, 30″ h x 40″ w

Watercolor painting of scene along Ocean Drive in South Beach, Florida by Jo Myers-Walker

Final painting of Ocean Drive scene, 30″ h x 40″ w.
The ocean is to the left, beyond the painting’s view.

Posted in Studio Snapshots