Illinois homestead

Watercolor painting of white house in rural Illinois by artist Jo Myers-Walker

The homestead with children playing,
ducks conspiring, and sisters taking pictures
(painting size 22″ x 30″; click image to view larger)

This has been a fun project to recreate the homestead where my client and her siblings grew up in rural Illinois. She went on a quest to get me photos of the house in sunlight, which became quite a journey for her and her sister. They contacted the current residents and got permission to come out and take pictures, after some initial skepticism about the unknown women who kept calling! (They had the residents check my website to make sure I was legit.) There had been some changes as it had been 50 years since they grew up there, and trees had grown up around the house.

I interviewed my client and heard what the story could be, what about the house was meaningful, and where her siblings played. So began the stories of jumping off the back porch to get on and ride their horses, swinging from the tree in the front yard, and the ducks under the tree that insisted on roosting on the back porch, much to the dismay of my client’s mother! For the painting I “trimmed the trees” a bit so I could see the house as they may have seen it. On the right are the two modern-day sisters wandering around the outside of the house to get pictures for me. I put some sunlight casting shadows across the front to liven things up as it was a happy place for them growing up.

Photos of house used by artist Jo Myers-Walker to create a watercolor painting of it

Reference photos provide different views of the house

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Hard Won, Not Done

Watercolor painting "Elsie" based on the grandmother of artist Jo Myers-Walker

I based “Elsie” on my grandmother because of her determination and perseverance (smaller study on the right,
full-sheet painting on the left).

Patience, watercolor portrait of a woman in profile by artist Jo Myers-Walker

   
The strength and determination
of “Patience” are visible
in her face and demeanor.

Friend Mary helped me transport two paintings and a sculpture to Muscatine Art Center for their exhibit “Hard Won, Not Done,” works by 24 eastern Iowa women artists commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave women the right to vote.

Update:  Out of concern for everyone’s health regarding COVID-19, the Muscatine Art Center has closed for four weeks effective March 20, which extends beyond the scheduled ending date for the exhibit (I had also been scheduled to participate in a panel discussion during that time). Keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates as they re-assess when to re-open!

“Hard Won, Not Done” was just one of three exhibits at Muscatine Art Center at the same time, inspired by the 19th Amendment milestone.

Marisa, handmade-paper bust of a young woman in flowing hat by artist Jo Myers-Walker, shown being transported on a handcart and after installation

   
Transporting “Marisa” (handmade-paper sculpture). I imagine Marisa
at the Seneca Falls Convention, the first women’s rights convention.
Suffragists became mindful of how style influenced their public image.

Posted in Studio Snapshots, Upcoming Events

Christmas glow

Friends Jeanette and Joan help set up Jo Myers-Walker's booth at the 2019 Eastside Artists Show and Sale in Iowa City

Jeanette and Joan helping
to set up at Eastside Artists

Thank you to everyone who came to the Eastside Artists Show and Sale, and to everyone who donated bras to help Free the Girls!

I could feel the joy of community as guests enjoyed the show. It began my Christmas of hope and light coming into the world.


The Eastside Artists Annual Show and Sale is a December tradition in Iowa City. Mark your calendar to check the Eastside Artists Facebook page for next year’s show!

Artist Jo Myers-Walker poses with a cardboard likeness at her booth at Eastisde Artists Show and Sale 2019 in Iowa City

   
Jo and Jo:  When I was not at my booth, I still was anyway!
You may recognize my alter ego from the post Art in Amana. I printed out close-up
photos of class members and myself, then we cut out our faces the best we could
and put foam core behind them to stabilize. (Photos courtesy of Patti Z)

Posted in Uncategorized

Video interview

University of Iowa student Grace Wenstrom interviewed me for a project and created the professional-looking video embedded below. Grace is a Pre-Law student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. She describes how the video came to be:

    • “I originally found Ms. Myers-Walker through the artist biography page of the Iowa Artisans Gallery site because I knew I wanted to do my project on a local artist. After reaching out to her over email, we did a small interview in her apartment so I could get some footage of her painting as she normally would, then I attended one of her classes to speak with a couple of her students.”

It was a pleasure to meet Grace and interesting to see the process.

Posted in Uncategorized

Getting ready for Eastside Artists 2019

Watercolor paintings, cloth figures, notecards, and other projects by artist Jo Myers-Walker displayed on a desk

Hanging out at my place before the show

Update:
This year’s Iowa City Eastside Artists Annual Show and Sale has ended. Thank you to everyone who stopped by!

Previously:
Getting ready for the Eastside Artists show, my apartment looks like this, with projects everywhere! I enjoyed pulling out former projects like the fabric figures — my mom sewed them up 15 years ago and I got to dress them as characters in a book.

The Iowa City Eastside Artists Annual Show and Sale is Friday through Sunday, December 6, 7, and 8, 2019 at the Iowa City Masonic Building. See my Classes and Events page or the Eastside Artists Facebook event page for details.

Remember to bring a new or gently-used bra of good quality and condition to donate to Free the Girls at my booth, and get a free bird ornament, while supplies last!

Posted in Upcoming Events

Bird bra bonus

Watercolor sketches of birds by Jo Myers-Walker including several ornaments made from the paintings

“Bring in bras for
free 1 chicken ornament”

Update:
This year’s Iowa City Eastside Artists Annual Show and Sale has ended. Thank you to everyone who stopped by!

Previously:
Birds — especially chickens — are a favorite subject of mine to liven up color mixing lessons. After our fundraiser for Free the Girls at Iowa Artisans Gallery, I turned some of my bird designs into little ornaments to help keep the donations going.

Bring a new or gently-used bra to donate at my booth at the Iowa City Eastside Artists Annual Show and Sale (December 6 – 8, 2019) and get a free bird ornament, while supplies last! The ornaments are paper, about 2″ tall.

Bras should be of good quality and condition, and will be sent to Free the Girls, an international non-profit, for survivors of sex trafficking in Mozambique, El Salvador and Costa Rica to sell as entrepreneurs in the second-hand marketplace.

I look forward to meeting friends old and new at the Show and Sale in December. Keep an eye on the Iowa City Eastside Artists Facebook page for previews!

Paper ornaments with designs of watercolor sketches of chickens by artist Jo Myers-Walker

Close-up on some of the little ornaments

Posted in Studio Snapshots, Upcoming Events

Let it Show

Jo Myers-Walker demonstrate watercolor painting at the opening of a show at Bereskin Gallery & Art Academy with help from friend Jeanette and a young art student

Demonstrating at the opening

Jeanette and I demonstrated watercolor techniques with the assistance of a young art student at the opening event for the “Let it Show” exhibit at Beréskin Gallery & Art Academy in Bettendorf.

The exhibit is open now through December during gallery hours, and includes several of my paintings along with a variety of works from different artists. From Beréskin’s website:  “This is the time of year to let it all show. Our artistry, beauty and creativity are meant to inspire your curiosity, passion, and generosity for the world of art and those you hold dear.” (See Beréskin’s Facebook page for updates.)

In addition to the gallery, Beréskin offers art classes for children and adults and STEAM classes from preschool through 8th grade (Wikipedia article about STEAM), encouraging people of all ages to let their creativity show!

Several watercolor paintings by artist Jo Myers-Walker are shown on exhibit at Beréskin Gallery & Art Academy in Bettendorf, Iowa

   
Several of my paintings join the work of other artists for “Let it Show”

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Painting and donating

Class members showing bras they are donating to Free the Girls

The class with bras we brought to donate

Three dimensional cards with watercolor images by Jo Myers-Walker

Adding another dimension to artwork

I’m pleased to be offering classes at Iowa Artisans Gallery, and my first class there was also a fundraiser! Part of the proceeds went to Free the Girls, an international non-profit that collects new and gently-used bras of good quality and condition for survivors of sex trafficking to sell as entrepreneurs in the second-hand marketplace. The organization currently operates in Mozambique, El Salvador and Costa Rica.

In class we painted chickens, other birds, and flowers and cut and folded them into pop-up cards. The gallery posted a short Facebook video of a painting demonstration from the event. Class members also brought bras to donate to the cause!

Iowa Artisans Gallery will be collecting bras until November 24, 2019, or see the Free the Girls website for more ways to help.

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Tech for teaching

Jo Myers-Walker leading a watercolor workshop with video camera displaying what she paints

Painting on camera
(photo courtesy of Beth at the Octagon)

I’ve tried different setups over the years to give my students a better view during demonstrations, and I brought my favorite system yet to the Octagon watercolor workshop earlier this month.

Without some kind of apparatus for viewing, there may not be room for everyone to watch by gathering around the table, and it’s difficult for some people to stand for that length of time. Here the video camera on the tripod (at left in the photo) is focused on my work area and shows the progress on the Octagon’s display behind me while I paint.

The students can sit at their own work tables, look at the screen and follow along with me and ask questions. Then I pause and give them time to catch up. This way they can paint and watch the lesson too. I can also record my lessons if I’m unable to be present, and send to my students. I am learning new technology and it’s gratifying to see it benefit my classes.

Posted in Studio Snapshots

Cards to help fight ALS

Michaela poses with watercolor card set arranged on piano table

Friend and poet Michaela
wrote the sayings for the cards
and helped me fold them

Jo Myers-Walker at table holding photo of friend who passed away from ALS

At Principal Park with a
photo of dear friend Judy
whose memory inspired me

When the weather forecast turned blustery, this year’s Walk to Defeat ALS® turned into an Open House, inside on the concourse at Principal Park in Des Moines. I used the occasion to introduce a new set of notecards — “Family and Friends:  Cards to support The ALS Association Iowa Chapter” — to raise money for the Association’s services and research programs. The cards and the pouch they’re bundled in have images from my watercolor paintings showing scenes from the daily lives of people using wheelchairs. The Sisters of St. Francis in Dubuque covered the costs of producing the cards so that all proceeds go to support the cause.

The notecards are sold as a set of six, one of each design, with envelopes in a pouch depicting Walk to Defeat ALS® participants. The price is $25.00 per set (with proceeds going to The ALS Association Iowa Chapter), plus any shipping costs. Contact me (email jomyerswalker@gmail.com) if you’d like to buy some!

It was inspiring to be at the Walk — sometimes it looked like a reunion, with families taking pictures with their loved ones and including photos of those no longer with us. I learned more about ALS and how it affects people even in their 20s. The ALS Association Iowa Chapter works “[t]o discover treatments and a cure for ALS, and to serve, advocate for, and empower people affected by ALS to live their lives to the fullest.”

Watercolor painting by Jo Myers-Walker showing woman on porch looking over scenic backyard with deer

   
“Porch,” one of the card designs, shows a
peaceful scene of communing with nature
   

Thumbnail of page showing card designs of Family and Friends notecard collection by Jo Myers-Walker

Family and Friends
card designs and messages
(click image to view larger;
PDF, approx. 1.1 MB, rev. 17 Oct 2019)

Posted in Studio Snapshots