At my recent watercolor workshop in Maquoketa, we practiced color mixing using chickens! Each practice chicken is a small experiment in how different combinations of colors mingle with each other on the paper. Selecting three colors to use in a painting (two cools and a warm, or two warms and a cool) establishes color dominance, and helps the composition hold together and not be so “busy.” The workshop was on “the figure in the landscape,” so then the students took their chickens and put them into a scene.
The Maquoketa Art Experience is a wonderful space to teach in, and the whole place is something of a mecca. There are many talented artists in that area, and it’s truly inspiring for me to be in their midst. Rose Frantzen, a native of Maquoketa, has a gallery in town with her husband, artist Charles Morris (Rose’s “Portrait of Maquoketa” oil paintings were exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution).
Maquoketa is an old town full of historic buildings — they value it, and have preserved what they have. Some buildings have architecture similar to the “bank” in Gilbert (if not earlier), which made me feel at home! I stayed in the lovely Squiers Manor Bed and Breakfast, a restored 1882 brick house furnished with antiques. I was in the Harriet W. Squiers room, which has a pineapple motif symbolizing hospitality. The Squiers Manor was very hospitable and welcoming — they just pamper you, with dessert at night in addition to an excellent breakfast. I hope to return!