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.)
Foliage sets the scene and the season in watercolor
I’ve scheduled a Zoom watercolor class for Wednesday, September 30, 2020, from 1:00 –3:00 p.m. (Central Daylight Time). The cost is $10.00 for 2 hours of online instruction. This time we’ll be working with trees in watercolor and how to use them in scenery.
Send me an email (email@example.com) if you have any questions, or if you’d like to join us! If you want to sign up I’ll send a payment link (then the link to the Zoom class after I receive payment). I may offer a second session if the first one fills up.
Ackerman Winery’s 2020 Oktoberfest
in front of a sketch for the label artwork
I had the honor of painting the label artwork for this year’s Oktoberfest wine from Ackerman Winery in Amana, Iowa. The winery, in business since 1956, is known for their sweet fruit wines and adventurous varieties. They describe 2020’s Oktoberfest as, “This white wine is light and sweet with a delicate honey glazed fruit finish. It has a slight warmth to it that is reminiscent of fall.”
The label celebrates the much-anticipated opening of Hotel Millwright in Amana this fall, which was built by restoring and remodeling some unused buildings of the Amana Woolen Mill (this 2018 article on KCRG.com has a nice summary of its background). To research the painting I got to go on location to the construction site for Hotel Millwright. I had to do some explaining about what I was doing there, then the architect gave me a tour of the historic building in the photo below. It will be an events center and beautifully appointed, keeping the feel of the mill.
The smokestack says a lot about the mill, so I started there. With feedback from my clients at the winery we developed the idea through sketch and watercolor study to the final painting. They envisioned pumpkins and cornstalks with the smokestack on the label for an Oktoberfest feeling.
The hotel under construction
during my visit this past spring
Imagination provides people and
scenery for the finished label
(See my new Commissions page for more about the process of creating commissioned artwork.)
I’ve been working on the sketch, first wash, and second wash of this backyard garden scene for my Zoom watercolor class. I send the images to the students in advance so they can copy the sketch and prepare to paint along with me.
Send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like to join us for a future class! The cost is $10.00 for 2 hours of online instruction.
A sketch helps plan the painting
First wash, with masking fluid (in orange)
preserving lighter areas
I’m staying connected with students by offering watercolor classes online using Zoom! They are happening on a weekly basis; the day varies. I send out a black-and-white sketch, first and second wash before class. Then students can copy the sketch onto their 140 lb. watercolor paper and paint along with me. The cost is $10.00 for 2 hours of instruction. Students email me and I send them the link, along with where to pay.
Send me a note if you’d like to join us online (email@example.com)!
Clockwise from top left:
Sketch, value study (inset),
first wash, third wash
Clockwise from top left:
Sketch, value study (inset),
first wash, painting
Poster for the exhibit
(click image to view larger)
Art Domestique, “the gallery on the square” in Washington, Iowa, is featuring my watercolor paintings in the show Imagination Unbinds Hope (“colorful narratives to lift your spirits”!) through July 29, 2020. (Update: this exhibit has now ended. “Thank you” to Art Domestique for featuring my work!)
Art Domestique is “a fine art gallery that emphasizes artists from Southeast Iowa” — check out their website and social media to see what they have to offer:
One of the transportation
modes at my daughter’s
Last summer my family pitched in to help me get a new ride, a yellow trike with two big wheels in back and a basket with plenty of room for art supplies. This summer it’s residing at my daughter’s nearby, where my grandsons can unlock and bring it out to the curb for me while we all wear our face masks. So fun to tool around the cul-de-sac and watch people working in their gardens or the grandsons playing basketball. What a treat while self distancing!
The three wheels give me confidence that I won’t fall over into the bushes if my knees don’t cooperate. One of the cards in my “Family and Friends” collection features two more kinds of adaptive cycle. Tandem cycles make it easier for people with different strengths to ride together. With a side-by-side tandem, they can have a conversation as they ride along the bike path.
From last summer, finally
making it up the hill downtown
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.
- Update: See my Commissions page for more about the process of creating commissioned artwork.
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.
See my Commissions page for more of the story!