Quilt squares with a message

Quilt square with empowering message, and a sample square showing different painting techniques

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)

Quilt squares painted with empowering messages by workshop participants

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.

Posted in Uncategorized

September 2016 Newsletter

Detail of Cedar Rapids skywalk sculpture, small girl with teddy bear

(click image to download PDF)

Click the link below to view or download:
In this edition:
  • Crossroads (making the Cedar Rapids skywalk sculpture)
  • Cast of characters
  • Iowa City scenes
  • If this house could talk…

Revised to add:  The company that cut the Lexan™ to shape for the sculpture is PlexiCraft in Iowa City.

Posted in Newsletters

The view from inside

Detail of figures from sculpture by Jo Myers-Walker viewed from inside Cedar Rapids skywalk

Part of my sculpture seen from inside the Cedar Rapids skywalk, showing translucency of the paint and a view of the street below. The bars are holding up the sculpture and securing it from wind. The figures are installed on both sides of a section of skywalk across 3rd Street SE in downtown Cedar Rapids.

Posted in Studio Snapshots

More views of the skywalk

Panels from sculpture by Jo Myers-Walker on Cedar Rapids skywalk


View of one side of Cedar Rapids skywalk with sculpture by Jo Myers-Walker


Many thanks to Lois for the photos!

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Skywalk sculpture

Workers use a lift to install artwork outside the Cedar Rapids skywalk

Bolting the bars on skywalk with Riley and William installing; I unwrapped panels in the background

Jo Myers-Walker speaking at the reveal of artwork installed on Cedar Rapids skywalk

Speaking at the “grand reveal”
(photo courtesy of
Lois Albrecht)

Jo Myers-Walker with family members at reveal of artwork installed on Cedar Rapids skywalk

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 the reveal ceremony for my sculpture (full name: “Diversity in Motion at a Downtown Cedar Rapids 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 eight sculpture panels by Jo Myers-Walker seen from outside the Cedar Rapids skywalk

One of the panels seen from the street
(photo courtesy of Lois Albrecht)

One of the eight sculpture panels by Jo Myers-Walker seen from inside the Cedar Rapids skywalk

From the inside of the skywalk,
transparent jewel-like colors

Posted in Studio Snapshots

After the storm

Jo Myers-Walker with daughter Shelby at the 2016 Iowa Arts Festival

Shelby and me, with rainbow

When a storm came through on Saturday of the Iowa Arts Festival and blew over my tent, breaking the frame, many wonderful people helped me move the artwork from my booth to safety and take down the sides and top of the broken tent. After the rain stopped I felt the rainbow telling me to put my work in galleries, out of the weather!

On Sunday after the calamity, where my booth had been, I chalked a thank-you to the Iowa City folks who rescued my art and kept the tent from going completely over.

Jo chalks a thank-you to Iowa City residents during 2016 Iowa Arts Festival

Leaving a thank-you note to Iowa City:
“My tent blew over – I am not here – Thank you IC for saving my artwork”

Jo selling from art cart at 2016 Iowa Arts Festival

Selling from my cart with no tent — I am a diehard!
(Many thanks to festival volunteer
Yejun for this photo)

Posted in Uncategorized

New fabrics for the Festival (updated)

Curtain and pillow digitally printed with watercolor paintings by Jo Myers-Walker

Left:  Curtain with farm house scene with chickens
(you can have up to 4 chickens in Iowa City, with a permit!)
Right:  Folks enjoying sitting outside near Prairie Lights

Update:  I didn’t have a booth on Sunday, June 5, due to a storm on Saturday that blew over the tent, breaking the frame. With the help of many wonderful people we moved the artwork to safety and did not lose much to the rain. More of the story (with photos) soon!

Earlier post:
This is my fourth year with a booth at the Iowa Arts Festival, June 3–5 in downtown Iowa City. This festival really got me acquainted with the arts and writing community here. Everyone is an artist or writer it seems. Folks just value it and do it.

New for this year’s festival:  my watercolors digitally printed on pillows and curtains! The curtains are for windows, walls or showers — I’m pleased with how the colors and textures came through in these printed works of art.

Posted in Upcoming Events

Pages from the Amana workshop

Watercolor techniques demonstrated by painting chickens

Chicken techniques

Watercolor sketches of people in the sunlight

Painting each other in the sun

Sketchbook pages from my weekend workshop (“Figure Forms in the Landscape”) at Amana Arts Guild, offered through Grant Wood Area Education Agency.

Above left, watercolor techniques demonstrated with chickens! Above right, drawing each other in the sunlight, drawing with watercolors too. In the sunlight you can really see the form on the face and clothing. We then cut out the smaller figures (like the green clothed person on the right) to travel around in our landscapes. It really gives life to the painting.

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Burlington workshop

Artists in watercolor workshop at Art Center of Burlington

Practicing our techniques
(photo courtesy of Mary)

Photo of art deco style Capitol Theater in downtown Burlington, Iowa

Downtown Burlington’s historic Capitol Theater
(photo via Wikipedia, © Ian Poellet)

(Above left)  Here I am at the Art Center of Burlington teaching watercolor techniques. It is always fun to meet new artists and be inspired in their environment.

Because it was raining we could not go out and paint the beautiful historic buildings in downtown Burlington, but you can see photos of several of them in this Wikipedia article.

Posted in Studio Snapshots, Travelogue

Painting to Mozart

Dorothy plays piano while modeling for watercolor class at The Center

Painting to Mozart

Paper doll laid on top of painting in progress to experiment with placement

Cutting out paper dolls and walking them around the painting to find story

Monday was our last class of the season at The Center. One of our class members (Dorothy) is a concert pianist, and served as our model as we drew and painted her while she serenaded us with Mozart!

The class is looking forward to next Fall. They all have truly progressed in painting and drawing the figure. We then cut the figures out and moved them around in our landscapes so now they are inhabited.

(Many thanks to Mary for the photos!)

Photos of watercolor paintings in progress illustrate the use of layers

Layering the face; examples of using layers in watercolor painting

Posted in Studio Snapshots