Painting with the group (photos courtesy of Mike Coverdale)
These photos are from our retreat at the Coverdales’ farm home earlier this month. The “Coverdale Art Institute” all started with Mike giving Judy a Christmas present of painting with me for a day. Their home was a retreat for me out in the country, and we had such a fun time we decided to try it as a location for workshops.
Students worked from my painting “Summer,” shown at bottom right (photos courtesy of Mike Coverdale)
This workshop started by painting watercolor techniques on a pop-up card, something to remind the painter of the lessons taught. St. Francis came along with us and became a swish of paint in many colors to demonstrate value, keeping it simple. Then we were ready to paint from one of my paintings (“Summer”) and I showed them how to start with a loose and juicy background and coming forward with the farm house and more detail. By then we were laughing about the farmers and chickens, having fun.
Left: Painting from nature (photo courtesy of Mike Coverdale)
Right: We saw a dragon in the shape of this tree (photo courtesy of Bonnie Dix)
One of the artists painted some trees from looking out the window, so we all decided to get up and go outside to study subjects to paint in May when the buds will be on the trees with the far-away farm up the hill.
We had such a positive response that we added another retreat day! Two separate Saturday retreats are coming up: May 6 and July 15, 2017. Details are on the Classes and Events page — email me (email@example.com) if you’d like to join us!
Evening view from Our Lady of the
Prairie retreat house
Artwork from Our Lady of the Prairie workshop, Sister Moon and Brother Sun focusing on care of the earth
I traveled to Our Lady of the Prairie Retreat near Wheatland, Iowa to facilitate a workshop on Contemplative Prayer in Watercolor, as part of a Winter Sabbatical for Religious Sisters. It was a restful day of painting and writing in our journals using contemplative creative images. We took the risk to be vulnerable to the challenge of not knowing what to do next, just seeing what God sees. We had the humility to be an instrument of God’s design and it freed the Spirit of Creation to move through our humanity. It is called the “flow” and we discover glimpses of who God is in the freedom of the unburdened watercolors of goodness, truth and beauty. The Sisters were on Sabbatical from the United States, Canada and Australia.
“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.” Its grounds include trails and a labyrinth for walking meditation.
(Photo courtesy of Mike Coverdale)
Update: Due to positive response, we’ve added another retreat day at the Coverdales’! Two separate Saturday retreats are coming up: May 6 and July 15, 2017. Email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like to join us!
When I was in central Iowa recently, I was seeing my daughter’s family but also teaching at the farm home of Judy and Mike Coverdale. Judy and I spent two days painting and we came up with the idea to offer watercolor retreats at their home near Nevada, Iowa.
The Coverdales have a beautiful setting to paint, out in the country with a creek, trees and gardens. We can focus a bit on drawing and composition and move into painting. Bring along your ideas and photos and we will help you paint them.
Right now we are planning two separate Saturday retreats (updated): May 6 and July 15, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m on each day. The cost is $35.00 per student per day including a simple soup lunch. I will bring one sheet of 140 lb. watercolor paper for each person and a few supplies for new painters. Others can bring their own watercolor supplies. Mike suggests I inform folks that there are a couple of cats in the house, in case that is a concern.
Join us for a playful day of watercolor! There is room for a maximum of 10 people on each date. Send me an email (email@example.com) if you’d like to join in.
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
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.