Storefront of Iowa Artisans Gallery in Iowa City
Iowa Artisans Gallery featuring me in their window (shower curtain, pillows, and paintings). Lately the scene on the shower curtain — “Clock Tower in the Rain” — has looked just like the weather outside!
Sketching our model in front of The Java House
Looking at our sketches on a June morning
This summer I’m teaching “Figure Drawing and Painting in Downtown Iowa City,” organized by the Artifactory, and we took to the streets for our first session on June 11. You can drop in for any or all of the remaining sessions if you’d like to “venture out into the cool summer mornings, capturing the sunlight casting over the figure to show facial form and folds on clothing.”
Update: This class has ended for Summer 2018 — thank you to everyone who joined in! See the Classes and Events page for what’s coming up.
Poster and some materials for the class
(Click image to view a larger version of just the poster)
Inside the tent at the 2018 Iowa Arts Festival in downtown Iowa City
My booth at the 2018 Iowa Arts Festival earlier this month, with a little help from my friends! I needed 11 helpers setting up and taking down the tent due to the windy weather. Thank you to all my helpers, and everyone who stopped by during the Festival.
Helpers; on the right, holding onto the tent in 30 mph wind!
Dressed up for the
I made 54 “sitters” (small acrylic sculptures) for centerpieces for the Newman Center’s Gala on April 21 (see the previous post Crowded house). The students who I used as models helped me set them up for the Gala. Here the sitters are seated on my card catalog beforehand — looks like they’re at a football game!
One of the cards opened flat
to show front and back
(click image to view larger)
Sample pouches, back and front. Pouches are hand-painted and designs vary; one pouch per set.
(click image to view larger; see note below
about new Portiuncula style pouches)
The Sisters of St. Francis have taken pictures of the Canticle sculpture (inspired by St. Francis’s well-known Canticle) and I’ve had them made into notecards. Each card highlights a symbol from the artwork with a reflection to contemplate.
The cards are sold as a set of 8 with envelopes (one of each design), bundled in a watercolor-paper pouch (pouches painted by me or by my able assistants!). Proceeds from sale of the cards will go toward awareness of human trafficking, starting with support for Lila Mae’s House (link is to a Sioux City Journal article; note the “Ways to help” and “Signs of human trafficking” in the left-hand column).
Update: We’re making a new style of pouch for the Canticle cards, representing the Portiuncula chapel restored by St. Francis. The updated design sheet (PDF) linked below has a sample. Please contact me (email firstname.lastname@example.org) if you’d like to join in painting pouches (ages 12 to adult). See the Creating for a Cause page to see all the notecard designs (including the separate Abundant Homes set), plus scarves and bags!
Update May 2019: You can order Creating for a Cause products online at (new address) Shop to Shelter for Lila Mae’s House (external website).
I so enjoyed creating the Canticle of Creation sculpture and highlighting the symbols Francis and Clare so loved in nature. From the card in the photo above: “The Canticle of Creation sculpture is an ongoing celebration of life. Francis and Clare knew that God loves us so much to create an ongoing evolution of life. It is for us to marvel and be inspired at the dignity of all creatures.”
For more informaton:
Canticle of Creation
card designs and messages
(click image to view larger;
PDF, approx. 726 KB, rev. 02 May 2019)
Painting lots of pouches
to bundle the card sets
(see note above about
new Portiuncula style pouches)
Sitting around, waiting to be painted
“Sitters” have been taking over my apartment as I cut out fifty of the little slumped-acrylic sculptures for centerpieces for Gala 2018, the largest “FUNdraising” event for the Newman Catholic Student Center at the University of Iowa. Next I’ll be painting the figures. The students posed as models for them and will help me with the centerpieces, which will be sold at the gala to support the Newman Center’s programs.
Update: Gala 2018 was held on April 21 — thank you to everyone who helped support the Newman Center! See the post Students in the stands for a photo of the finished “crowd,” complete with paint.
The finished painting with people completed
I am repeating the Linn Street scene with a different composition and more people going to school with their morning coffee. I sit and watch what is going on with my neighbors, draw them to get a story in that moment.
The in-progress photos (below) show that as I paint the background, I leave a space where they will live.
In progress, leaving space for the inhabitants
Iowa Artisans Gallery logo
(click image to visit their site)
I’m honored to be the subject of an article on Iowa Artisans Gallery’s website: In the Studio with Jo Myers-Walker. Anne from the gallery came over and took photos of the studio and interviewed me, with thoughtful questions including my work’s spiritual influence.
Iowa Artisans Gallery is in downtown Iowa City and has my watercolors for sale when available. Their blog also has interesting interviews with other artists whose work is featured in the gallery.
More close-ups of the characters from legends depicted in the Canticle sculpture:
Details from the Canticle sculpture: The cock and chicken; the wolf of Gubbio
Details from the Canticle sculpture: Rabbits; the tail flapping fish
The finished Canticle sculpture displayed on an easel
(Photo courtesy of Lisa Schmidt — click image to view larger)
Before my knee surgery in October I needed to be grounded to have a successful outcome. I had been working on the Mercer project and was worn out and having knee pain. I started reading some of the legends surrounding St. Francis of Assisi, who knew how to talk to birds and animals. Those stories are very calming for me as he would praise all things created by God. It got my mind off my knee as I started symbolizing the characters using my interpretations. I painted these on a 36″ x 63″ slumped acrylic panel for the Sisters of St. Francis in Dubuque, using the legends beginning with a joyful Francis and Clare dancing.
In the legend of the tail flapping fish (in the center) that Francis let go after catching, the fish was allowed its freedom, allowed life, a chance to heal joyfully.
The friendly falcon (on the left) would wake Francis in the mornings by flapping his strong wings. One morning he knew Francis did not sleep well so he took his time. I think our cats and dogs know when we need a little attention as they can tell when we are in danger or sad.
The cock and the chicken (on the left), the chicken is life giving whereas the cock is boastful, needs to be the center of attention, lacks humility, with good intentions however.
The wheat symbolizes the bread of life, it has to fall to the ground so more wheat can grow, we have to “die to self” to be created anew over and over.
Details from the Canticle sculpture: the Friendly Falcon; the Noisy Swallows
The noisy swallows (on the right) would not let Francis speak. so he asked them to quiet down and they did. I have to tell my monkey brain to stop talking, keeping me absorbed in my own thoughts, and out of control instead of letting go and letting God.
Brother Sun (on the left) warms me, helps grow things and gives me hope for a new day.
Sister Moon (on the right) lights my way at night, she is loving and chases away the dark, I think it is a rebirth and I make an action plan for the morning. She understands the universe and I trust her.
Sister Death (on the bottom) I drew as acorns that the squirrels plant and then new life emerges as a strong oak tree. I have to “die to self”/set aside my ego so something new can emerge, not just my ideas but God’s.
The doves (on the left) show freedom, beauty, peace and it starts by forgiving myself so I can forgive others.
Details from the Canticle sculpture: Doves; Acorns and leaves
Sister Water is useful in all things, cleansing, grounding, refreshing and sustaining me. I am a swimmer and find water very comforting and healing.
You can see butterflies as they are resurrected and transformed, sometimes I need to go into my cocoon.
The cicadas sing their songs every 7 years, this shows me patience. Let it be and there will be a way revealed.
The cricket is sometimes noisy but some say lucky, it teaches me to appreciate people for who they are, noisy and all!
May the year 2018 be one of Hope.
Update — see also: