Sunday, November 28, 2010

Late Fall/Winter A.R.T. Exhibit

Artists © in this order - Mary Thien, Wendell King, Michael Houge

The Artisans Road Trip Artists, from the past fall's event, are now showing their work in Clear Lake, Iowa, at the Clear Lake Arts Center!  This show is a "gotta see" at the new art center!  View the selected works of artists from NW Iowa in all mediums!

The exhibit has already begun and runs through January 10, 2011!

Put the Clear Lake Arts Center on your winter destination list and, being the season - why not put it on your holiday shopping list as well!  The arts center is located at 17 South 4th Street in Clear Lake, Iowa.  For more information on the art center and the exhibit, you can give the center a call at (641) 357-1998.

Happy belated Thanksgiving from the Artisans Road Trip!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Artisans Road Trip 2011!

 The first weekend in October, our traditional date in past years, will be the date for the Artiusans Road Trip 2011!  Representative artists from A.R.T. met last week to discuss this year's road trip and all the business and work involved...discussing what worked and what needs tweaking, etc.  The Artisans Road Trip actually began starting on Friday afternoon the past two seasons, and we'll be retaining that Friday afternoon as the spring board into the the 2011 A.R.T. event dates will actually be Friday September 30, Saturday October 1, and Sunday October 2.

We'll be posting information on the A.R.T. homepage (soon), reflecting this, as well as posting more information for new artists who may want to apply for the opportunity to participate in the Artisans Road Trip 2011...this "prospectus" will be updated and ready in the weeks ahead, so check back to the A.R.T. website for this information in the near future!

The A.R.T. 2011 website can be found at and you can forward any questions or concerns to the email addresses given on the web site or even through the comment section on this blog - be sure and post an email address we can reply to.

Put A.R.T.2011 on your calendars!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Thank You!

Thank you for another great autumn adventure on the Artisans Road Trip!  We hope to see you again next year!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

This Is It!

 "Motherwell Reflection"
abstract painting by Mari Stewart

A group of hard working creative people spend all year planning and working toward a goal and then it comes to!  It does take a good deal of work and time but the 2010 Artisan Road Trip is about to happen and it'll be worth the effort!

One more A.R.T. traveling exhibit is in the making at Arts On Grand in Spencer, Iowa - perfect for an 2010 A.R.T. preview! There will be a reception held in conjunction with the Spencer Business After Hours, free to the public at Arts On Grand Tuesday evening, the 28th of September at 5 - 7p.m.

 "Free Spirit"
mobile from the "Edgy Metal Series" by Mari Stewart

Seven NW Iowa counties and 35 artists - visit their studios and galleries!  See where they work, how they work...what inspires them!  Artists like Mari Stewart of the Side Street Gallery in Arnolds Park!  Artists like like Wendel and Diane king at Peony Farm Studio south of Dickens...Barb McGee at McGee Gallery and Framing in downtown Peterson...Perry Polson at Wild Wood Gallery & Turning Lab in downtown Spencer. Other artists not yet featured in this A.R.T. blog - like Mitch Eveleth of Reflections In Ink from Estherville, Nicole Ayers at The Hayloft in Webb, Wendy Hopkins exhibiting in Laurens...and many more of us! 

Fall is upon us and what better way to enjoy the emerging colors and that cool autumn air?!  35 artists, working in more mediums than imaginable!

Enjoy the weekend - Friday - October 1st, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday - October 2nd, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday - October 3rd, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.!

Hope to see you then!

We'll keep the cider and treats on for ya!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A.R.T. Artist Spotlight - Mary Ortner

Diptych: "Thunderclouds Over Fairview Bonanza"
©Mary Ortner

This week's 2010 Artisans Road Trip artist is Mary Ortner from Odebolt, Iowa.  Mary gives us  some insight into her work and background!

"Although I was born in Iowa, and raised on a square-country mile, most of my adult life was spent in DC and New York.

That trek half-way across the country was driven by the same youthful curiosity that had spurred exploring every inch of that one-square mile called home.  And it would be in those nascent experiences that a buffer would be found against the maddening city-crowds whose cold indifference seemed but to rush through her canyons of concrete and steel.

I was in my late twenties before the artist within began budding.  Inspiration -- rooted in those home-grown experiences -- was abundant.  But I was also self taught and often heard that without "proper" artistic credentials, I couldn't be taken seriously!

Encouragement from certain of the, then prominent, Washington Color School, kept me from feeling like a snow cone in the middle of the Mojave!  Within a year, I began showing my work.

In the interim since, I've come to discover that what moves my hand across the canvas is not the face of nature, but that which lies behind it.

Currently -- and between the raindrops -- I'm challenged to write a draft-text for a children's book based on a series of collage inspired by what I call -- E.T. moments!  This little character popped into my head, but thereafter, took on a life of his own -- creating his own adventures.

Those adventures inspired a following whose interest, in turn, inspired thoughts of doing a book.

And his name?  It was found in the bosom of the night sky along with the steps back in time to the youthful memories of being sprawled upon the grass, gazing into the star-filled sky, wondering who might be gazing back at me -- and now I know!"

Be sure and pay a visit to Mary's studio and the studio of other artists the coming weekend of October 1st through 3rd for the 2010 Artisans Road Trip!!!

Hope to see you then!

Friday, September 10, 2010

A.R.T. Spot Light - Judy Hemphill

"Clean Sweep" Photography © Judy Hemphill
This Artisans Road Trip installment spot lights photographer Judy Hemphill.  Here Judy introduces us to her art form and interests.

"Family, animals, nature, and travel are major interests of mine. They capture my time, and I capture them with my lens. I enjoy chronicling family, school, and community activities and celebrations. Also, beauty is all around. Each day I strive to take notice, to discover it in new forms and places. Storytelling images which engage other senses are a special goal. Photography allows me to share my observations from ground-level to aerials, close-ups to panoramas, mostly in color.

"Chuck Wagon Race" Photography © Judy Hemphill
A vast array of image possibilities are on the grounds of the Clay County Fair which this year runs Sat., Sept. 11 - Sun., the 19th.  Maybe I'll see you there!
I do hope you'll visit my new gallery space in downtown Spencer at 217 Grand Avenue, especially during the 2010 Artisans Road Trip! 

Make it a point to drop in on Judy and many of the other artists during the 2010 Artisans Road Trip coming soon!!! 

Friday, September 3, 2010


"Prairie Autumn Stream No.2"
(color pencil  © Bruce A. Morrison)
click on image to enlarge 

Wow!  It's September, summer is winding down, and the Artisans Road Trip is looming closer on the horizon!

What are we, as artists, doing in preparation for this?!  Well, in my case panicking!  Ha!  Just kidding!  Well, sorta anyway...there is still much to be done here at the Prairie Hill Farm Studio and I'm still out there chasing the light with both brush and camera.  And we've been working in the gallery to arrange new displays with new pieces and doing last minute framing work as well.

"Chasing the Green Flash"
(sculpture  © Bill Lieb)
click on image to enlarge 

But I'm no different from other A.R.T. artists, we're all working full speed ahead!  Sculptor Bill Lieb is preparing, not only for A.R.T. 2010, but also an exhibit at the Pearson Lakes Art Center in October.  The piece shown here is titled 'Chasing the Green Flash'. It refers to the pursuit of seeing a green flash the moment the sun sets on the ocean.....a favorite pastime while he and Jane sailed and lived on their sailboat for five years.

 Perry Polson at work in his lab
click on image to enlarge 

Perry Polson, at his Wild Wood Gallery & Turning Lab, has just come off a good August receiving an exhibit award of $500 for the Spencer Iowa Main Street Market.  He was also awarded the $100 people's exhibit award during the event as well!

All the other artists on the road trip are preparing their studios or sites for the autumn weekend too!  What a great time of year to get out and enjoy that fresh crisp air...a great change from the hot sticky summer weather we've all been contending with this year!

Be sure and put October 1st, 2nd and 3rd on your calendars for the Artisans Road Trip!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A.R.T. 2010 Exhibit Onto The Sanford Museum

Summer Daze by Anita Coon

The Artisans Road Trip will be exhibiting a sampling of it's 2010 artist's artwork at the Sanford Museum in Cherokee, Iowa.

Of The Earth (brownstone clay)
by Beth Cathcart

The exhibit begins August 1st and runs through the month.  Come see examples of works by artists of the Artisans Road Trip if you get a chance!

Photograph by Judy Hemphill

The Sanford Museum is located at 17 East Willow Street in Cherokee, Iowa.  To learn more about their hours and this exhibit, call 712 225-3922.

See you on the A.R.T. exhibition tour!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Potter Mel Myers

This 2010 Artisans Road Trip blog highlights Potter Mel Myers from Spencer.

Local Potter Mel Myers has been busy showing at the Iowa City Art Show and the Spencer Alumni Art Show at Arts on Grand in Spencer, Iowa.  

Mel's ceramics are hand thrown, delicately carved, with original glaze formulas - thus making truly one of a kind pieces.  The result is both a decorative and functional piece of art.  His high fire pottery can be used in the oven, safely used for food, and nicely cleans up in the dish washer.

Mel's studio is practically always open for visitors at 717 11th Avenue East in Spencer, Iowa.  His studio, Clay County Clay, can be found by turning east at the Hy Vee/Walgreen's corner on Grand Avenue, and going east as far as one can (and still be in Spencer).  Feel free to stop in and see Mel's most recent work!

Check back again and see what's new on the 2010 Artisans Road Trip!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Spotlighting Artisans Road Trip Artist Diane Noll


This 2010 Artisans Road Trip highlight is of Artist Diane Noll.  Diane writes an introduction of herself - meet Diane...


"I live on River View Ranch northeast of Linn Grove, Iowa.  The Little Sioux River and Bluebird Creek bring water to our Texas Longhorns that graze on the hills, on both sides of Bluff Street.  The best time to see the calves is late afternoon.  We are still calving (at the time she wrote this note) - the boys win with 20, while the girls are at 7.  What's up with that?!  

 I grew up 5 miles south of Estherville.  I dug blue glacial clay out of the creek bank and made various things; now I make animals out of fiber, clay, and potter's brownstone clay.  I also make beads out of clay that is fired twice.  I texture them with things I find in nature.  I like using natural stones and silver in making jewelry.  Right now I am making turquoise and silver necklaces.  

I just finished making a baby colt and a longhorn calf our of fiber clay.  I am also finishing touching up an oil painting of the river here.  I paint with oils or water colors and draw with color pencils."

Thank you Diane!  Stop by again the next time you're in the neighborhood and see the artists of the 2010 Artisans Road Trip.  And don't forget to check the 2010 A.R.T. web site as well!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A.R.T. Spotlight - Dan Ruf

This Artisans Road Trip installment spot lights photographer Dan Ruf. Dan gives his take on "continuing education" as a fine arts photographer, and illustrates select images from a recent workshop in the South Dakota Badlands.

"For those of us that have reared children, the words continuing education
have usually meant that school would be closed so that educators could take time to upgrade their knowledge or approach to the education of their charges. For artists, me in particular, continuing education takes on the same sort of meaning, but should be a more regular update of our mental file about the artistry involved in our journey in fine arts.
In my case as a fine art photographer, my daily continuing education takes many forms. This includes reading magazines concerning photography, or the digital darkroom, or making a daily effort to reconnect with websites, blogs or internet forums. I can get exposed to different sorts of photography concepts, approaches, software or equipment this way. Most days this may require an hour of time, but I am usually able to glean some tidbit of helpful or even inspirational ideas about the photographic process. One step above this daily process of continuing education is to become involved in a location workshop given by a mentor in an artists field. I recently returned from a workshop given by Tony Sweet, who I feel is an exceptional fine art photographer and, as I found out, gives an exhausting 5 day workshop which includes daily critique and class sessions as well as location shoots early in the morning and late afternoon. While the days are long the return on "investment" is huge and I find these types of events to be very productive. One thing to note, however, is that you get what you pay for and while there are many individuals that offer workshops in many fields of art, the quality of workshops are varied and in some cases disappointing. Location workshops are provided for many artistic inclinations, from pottery to glass blowing to painting and I would recommend that these types of continuing education are a must as a tool for all artists."

That's all for this spotlight on artisans from the 2010 A.R.T. Check back again for more on the artists of the Artisans Road Trip!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Artisans Wendell and Diane King

"The farm studio is fairly humming with all the spring activities. Corn is up and the beans are in the ground. On rainy days you will find Wendell in the studio creating new designs for the upcoming show season. It starts in earnest in a couple weeks, with "Summer of Arts" in Iowa City -

His latest design is so large it may never see a show. The stone is a beautiful “Blue Stone” large enough that to move it he needs a car engine wench, not my wimpy arms. So I guess we’ll see how many shows it makes it to. You can check out the 2010 show season at our website -

Crops and tables are not the only thing happening on Peony Farm. A new roof on the house was put on the first of May. We had a great group of hard working guys, removing several layers of shingles and applying the new roof. They left hardly a trace that they'd been here. My hat off to them; our plantings (which are many) survived because they took such great care. Tim Hamrick from Everly was the team leader, he comes highly recommended.

We had much company the month of May. Some staying in the Gallery, which is a new choice. Yes, you can rent it for a night or two. I may even make you breakfast. So to say it's a B&B well maybe. Not sure I can get my head around all that entails. For a stay in the "Quohouse" (Quonset House) give us a call or check us out at

The creation of new pieces of jewelry are always at hand. Using lampwork, stones, pearls, crystals and tons of seed beads. One of the new ones contains Snakeskin, Jasper, Amozonite and Lava Rock with a sterling clasp. I love the muted colors.

Seed beads dominate these two pieces. Working and learning a new stitch, is something I love doing. It has a rhythm, whether it's color or stitching. Most of my pieces are inspired by color and texture. Needing to have all supplies within eye sight is very important to the process. s a result my space is a mess, at least to other people.

We invite you to stop by and visit us anytime. A visit may include a glass of wine under the pergola!"

There you have it! Stop by again for another entry in the 2010 Artisans Road Trip Blog!

Monday, May 24, 2010

A.R.T. on the Road Again!

"Number One Child"
stone and steel
by Wendell King

The Artisan Road Trip exhibit will be moving along to the Witter Gallery in Storm Lake, Iowa this next week. You can still catch it through the rest of this week at the LeMars Iowa Art Center, but on June 2 through 30th, the Witter Gallery will be hosting the exhibition!

This is a good opportunity to catch a "glimpse" of the Artisan Road Trip before the October dates (1st - 3rd). If you're in the Storm Lake area in June, stop by the Witter and check it out!

In the next 3-4 weeks we'll also be spotlighting Wendell and Diane King, Dan Ruf and Diane Noll on this blog - check in again soon!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Artisans Road Trip Artist Hank Hall

Hank Hall

This A.R.T. highlight introduces Hank Hall!

Hank Hall is a full-time artist in Olde Town Spirit Lake where he has renovated a 1948 wood-working shop into an art studio and gallery called Art on 16th. He taught middle school and high school art in Iowa for 34 years and continues to teach clay, painting, drawing, and sculpture classes in his studio. He is very proud of the fact that many of his students have studied art in prestigious art institutions and pursued art-related caree

Celebrating Clay Cone 6 Stoneware

Hank’s creative skills were shaped early in his career by two summers of intensive training at Pond Farm Pottery in Guerneville, CA with Marguerite Wildenhain. A Bauhaus-trained master potter considered to be one of the ten most significant clay artists of the 20th Century, Wildenhain demanded high quality craftsmanship and then encouraged him to develop his own signature work.

Dotted Teapot

Today Hank creates one-of-a-kind teapots with mixed media embellishments and other functional and sculptural forms. His artistic goal is satisfying his own esthetic sense of what makes for an entertaining, inventive, and personal form. “If others experience a creative kick, then I think that’s as good as it gets.”

Hank’s artwork has been exhibited nationally, and he has earned several best of shows in recent juried art exhibits.

For more information visit

Check back again for more on events, activities and artisans of the 2010 Artisans Road Trip!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Perry Polson - Featured A.R.T. Artisan

Kristen's Ash by Perry Polson

Near the south end of Grand Avenue (north of the river) in Spencer Iowa, you'll find Perry Polson hard at it in his studio - Wild Wood Gallery & Turning Lab. Perry is an artist of wood...he takes wood and creates some amazing things with it in his turning lab!

Here is a short excerpt from Perry working on a project. Perry had run into a piece of elm that included some surprises and took some persistence...

barbed wire - who knew?!

2 fencing staple as well!

But finely finished - after the battle!

"After a bit of a head scratching its finely done and is a very dramatic piece and being Elm its hard as a dickens let alone the (STEEL REINFORCEMENT) Ha Ha ! And after all that the sale fell through due to some over sight of my own of course . But as they say live and learn so I'm not planning on letting that happen again any time soon. I only hope that someone else finds it to be a piece that they can't live without!

Looks pretty amazing to me, Perry!

Stop by again and meet the artists of the 2010 Artisans Road Trip!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A.R.T. at the LeMars Art Center in May

"Prairie River Summer"
oil painting by Bruce Morrison
-one example of many works to be exhibited during the month of May

Artists of the Artisans Road Trip will be exhibiting their works at the Le Mars Art Center through the month of May!

Get a sneak peek at what the A.R.T. artists are up to and enjoy the best of art in NW Iowa!

The art Center is at 200 Central Avenue, for those who have not visited the center before. The exhibit will be running from May 1st through 30th, and you can call the art center at 712-546-7476 to inquire as to hours the center is open.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Anita Baedke-Plucker - "A Time to Create"

"One With Nature"

This week's Artisans Road Trip featured artist is Anita (Katie) Baedke-Plucker from Terril, Iowa. Katie is speaking to a subject all artists struggle for and with - "a time to create".

Katie -
I hear so often of the frustration and disappointment of people, mostly women, who want to spend more time on/at their art. However, the reality and responsibilities of everyday life get in the way. I have and will probably continue to experience those same frustrations myself. I can only speak as to my experience: first, I remember saying to myself, “if I only had a day to paint.” I have realized that I can get a lot of watercolor painting done in 30 minutes! If that is the fragment of time you have, take it! Make the most of it. Stay connected with the piece. Last year I did not plan my annual 'Arts Adventure'; no workshops or classes, no exhibits; and no 'art-in-the-parks'. My goal was to sort through, organize, and clean 60 years of 'treasures' on the family farm, hoping that time, Mom and Dad would move to an assisted living villa. Most of my time was spent out on the farm. However, 2009 was probably one of my most productive years in producing art and releasing prints. I took advantage of those fragments of time. I knew that is all I had. Plus, I could not afford a negative attitude about all of this and making excuses. I found myself repeating over and over to myself in my mind, "I have plenty of time to get everything done." The mind is very powerful.

Second: If you have to get your art supplies out of the closet in order to paint, you probably won’t. And you will use up valuable limited time in the preparation and the putting-away. Find an area or a room where you can work and leave you supplies and
materials out, if it’s only a card table in a corner somewhere. When my sons were babies and toddlers, I was a stay-at-home mom plus took care of three other children, as well. I had a space in the corner of my kitchen (I will admit it was a very large kitchen.) and “while the macaroni was cooking” I was in the corner either analyzing work or painting a few strokes of watercolor. I had and have a terrific thirst, a need to create, and found a way, if only for a few minutes. Sooooooo get that space ready. I really believe this to be true, “If you want something bad enough, you will find a way; if not, you will find an excuse.” Become aware of the roadblocks we can throw up to prevent ourselves from getting what we desire.

"Land of Plenty"

And...if you are working ‘large’, having small fragments of time here and there to complete a large piece alone can be frustrating and overwhelming and make you feel defeated. You may lose that initial energy and excitement which led you to begin the work. Perhaps work in a smaller format??? a smaller size??? I know many artists who would argue that idea with me. Very simply, do the math. I recently read of an artist who paints one painting per day and posts it on her website each day for sale. One painting every day! They are small, I think they were 6”x6”, but 365 per year and she was working, painting every day. That alone, must be fulfilling.

"Lakeside Laboratory - Shimek Lab"

Also, I believe there is a “season” for the chapters in your life – caring and nurturing your children, employment to financially support the family, caring for an ill/disabled spouse, parent or child, etc. Often these chapters will require almost all of your time and commitment. And that is the way it is supposed to be. The season for your art will come. Knowing that and accepting that will lessen the frustration and deliver a certain amount of peace as you turn the pages of those chapters.

Another battle can be the idea that people do not take artists seriously. Our need to create is seen as a hobby, a fun way to spend time or a waste of time. If you have people around you who feel that way about your art, that can be a huge difficult obstacle. My heart goes out to you. My art is a real need. “I just gotta make me something.” And I am the happiest when I have taken any opportunity to create. I am reminded it is the process that is the most enjoyable part in creating. Robert Henri wrote, "Museums of art will not make a country an art country. But where there is the art spirit there will be precious works to fill museums. Better still, there will be the happiness that is in the making."

Remember to stop back from time to time for another glimpse at the artists from the Artisans Road Trip!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Faye Wilson - From the Road Trip!

With this new Artisans Road Trip blog we visit with Faye Wilson, Watercolor artist from rural Cherokee, Iowa. I don't know about you but I find it fun learning about all these artists in this year's Artisans Road Trip! Here's Faye -

"This is my studio/spare room. It's great to have a place to leave my art stuff out. In October last year my sister and I moved into an old square farmhouse with my cat Purl. Most of my days are spent working as a floral designer in Cherokee, but when I get a few spare minutes I come here to paint. My dad gave me a desk ,but I always seem to gravitate to the floor it just seems more comfortable and I can really spread out."

"Right now I'm working on a portrait of Purl. Her favorite activities include sleeping, eating flies and drinking my paint water if I'm not looking! In my job I get to use my creativity every day, but with my art work I only have to please me, not any particular customer."

"The last painting was painted while I was snowed in (one of the blessings of living in the country)! Just what you need on a cold winter's morning - coffee and a warm sticky cinnamon roll. Baking on a cold day (or any day) just seems like home and it brings me comfort after a long week at work."

Join us again in the near future and spend a snipit of time with an artist from A.R.T.!!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Those Dreaded Comissions

"Hot Rodder"

This Artisans Road Trip blog features Barb McGee, a painter whose studio is located in the Ridge and Tallgrass region of A.R.T. - in Peterson, Iowa. Barb's favored mediums are watercolor and oil, and her subject matter is generally western in theme, and (although not limited to) equine.

"Megan's Painting"

Barb is speaking today on her views of commissioned works:

"There are two sides to every issue and the same is true of commissions. Almost every artist
I know hates to do commissions and they growl the whole time they are doing them. Because of the type of work that I do, it seems that I am blessed with a number of them. I have devised a plan that sometimes works well for me and my client. If it is at all possible, I will go and take my own photographs of the subject. I will usually take twenty or thirty shots and then all we have to do is download to their computer and choose which one we want to use for the painting. This method gives both of us input into the painting but allows me to feel like it is my own creation.

Kathy's Folks

On the other side of the coin are the commissions that drive us all wild AUGH !!! Here are three different pictures of my dad's dead horses can you do a painting of them??? Of course all of the snapshots are from 20 ft away and none are really what you would call attractive and one of them is turned in the opposite direction, what do you do then? PUNT, IMPROVISE, then I praise God that when it is done, they will come and get it and give me a check. It won't be collecting dust in the gallery for the rest of my natural life. Yeah for commissions?????"

"Alexis Foot"

You can see more of Barb McGee's artwork on her art websites - McGee Gallery & Framing, and Horses by McGee.

Stop back
on occasion and see what the artisans of A.R.T. are up to, their thought process, or typical day in the studio or in the field!