The Virtual Left Bank StudioI've sold the "bank" building in Gilbert and am excited to go virtual with The Left Bank Studio and continue to create and make things! Please let me know what you are doing and we will update my goings-on here each week.
Contact meJo Myers-Walker
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.
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.
Followup: We had such a positive response that we had retreat days in March, May, and July. Many thanks to everyone who participated!
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.
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.
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.
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)