Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays from A.R.T.!!

The Artists from the 2011 Artisans Road Trip would like to take a moment to thank you for your support in 2011! 

There is still the 2011 A.R.T. exhibition showing at the Clear Lake Art Center in Clear Lake, IA; this show runs through January 10th, 2012.

We are now gearing up for another outstanding year for 2012,  and we'll be bringing you news and information on all our 2012 artists and exhibitions throughout the new year!

Looking forward to seeing you in 2012!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A.R.T. at Clear Lake and More!

The 2011 Artisans Road trip artists are exhibiting at the Clear Lake Art Center in Clear Lake, IA now though January 10th, 2012.  Not ones to let moss grow under their feet, the Artisans Road Trip participants keep their work out there for the public to see and enjoy all year around!  If your heading east or have friends and family in the Clear Lake area, let them know you have an area treasure there for them to enjoy too!

The Clear Lakes Art Center is a fairly new facility, one to not miss if you have the opportunity.  It is located at 17 South 4th Street, Clear Lake, IA 50428 | 641-357-1998 | and its hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10AM - 5PM.

Another great opportunity to see work by A.R.T. artists is at the Holiday Open House being held this Saturday - December 3rd!  A.R.T. artists Beth Cathcart, Linda Fries, Diane and Wendell King, Barb McGee and Bruce Morrison will be showing at this Peterson area event along with other artists!

Not doing anything Saturday?!  Come on down to Peterson and enjoy the chance to see what's new and even pick up something actually made in the good old USA! (And right here in our own backyard to boot!)  There will be goodies and a good time to be had by all!

Artists will be at the Linda Fries Studio, Barb McGee's Gallery and at the Rocking M Pottery studio.

To find these simply click on this link -

On the A.R.T. map there click on the #19, 20 and 21 spots and you'll be taken to each locale for address, phone number and driving instructions!

The Holiday Open House runs from 9:00 a.m. through 6 p.m. on Saturday December 3rd!  We hope to see you there!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Close to Home!

"All" A.R.T. Artists encourage you to stay close to home for Shopping Small on Small Business Saturday! The above are just a small sampling of Artisan Road Trip artists you can find great gift ideas from! Artwork - upper left clockwise - Mel Myers, Diane King, Perry Polson and Danielle Clouse

You've all heard of supporting local businesses, and maybe you've even been hearing about Small Business Saturday(?)!! The two go hand in hand! Forget Black Friday, or if that's a big event for you - wind down the next day (November 26th)with shopping small at an Artisans Road Trip Artist near you!

One good example would be Mel Myers - Mel has been working on new glazes and forms in his Clay County Clay studio at 717 11th Ave East, located in the building behind the Council on Aging in Spencer. Stop by to see his newest creations of hand thrown, hand carved functional and decorative pieces that are safe for food, dishwasher, and oven use. These one-of-a-kind gifts make nice Christmas, birthday, or wedding presents. Give him a call at 7125802529 or 7122623383, or just stop by the studio.

There are many other example too, but to make things simpler just go to the Artisans Road Trip web site - the gallery link - and choose an artist for more information.

Don't know many of the A.R.T. artists? Try a look at the A.R.T. map - and click on any number at any location for more information - where they are, what they do and their contact information!

Enjoy an outing on Small Business Saturday! Keep your money in your local area and buy local while supporting the arts!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Second Stories

(From Judy Hemphill's "Second Story" slide show)
images © Judy Hemphill
Artisans Road Trip member Judy Hemphill of Spencer, Iowa, is an aerial, commercial, and fine art photographer.  As changes occur in her surroundings her commercial and contract images often become historical documents.  Since last spring Judy has been part of a project focusing on historical documentation.  Through the Spencer Renaissance Initiative Grant Program, Spencer Historic Preservation Commission hired Judy to photograph interior spaces of second floor properties in downtown Spencer.  "Second Stories," an open house and presentation featuring these images, will be Tuesday, November 22, 2011, 5:30 - 7 pm in Spencer City Hall Council Chambers. 

Due to a variety of circumstances many of the former office and residential spaces on the second floors of buildings in the Grand Avenue Historic Commercial District are vacant.  Many are time capsules which have not been disturbed since last occupied 20 to 40 years ago.  Judy captured overall views of hallways, kitchens, other living areas, offices, a dance studio, and an assembly hall.  Also pictured are vintage wallpapers, light fixtures, and views from some of the windows overlooking Grand Avenue.  

During the "Second Stories" open house, images of most of the Historic Commercial District exteriors and seven of the District interior spaces will be shared in an ongoing slide show.  At 6:00 photographs of the seven interiors will be featured with comments.  “Second Stories” property interiors included are the Medlar, Moore, McAllister Block, Floete-Cornwall (Glass Block), Union Block, Citizens National Bank, and I.O.O.F. Buildings.  

Spencer Historic Preservation Commission invites everyone to “Second Stories,” an open house and photographic presentation by Judy Hemphill, on Tuesday, November 22, from 5:30-7 pm in the Spencer City Hall Council Chambers, 420 Second Avenue West, 712/580-7200. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Farewell Note

Its not just a loss for A.R.T., but one for everyone whose life and art she touched. Anita Coon taught art at the High School level for 32 years. She also did adjunct work for Buena Vista University. She received the outstanding secondary art educator award from the state Art Educators of Iowa in 1993. And she presented art workshops locally and nationally.

 Anita was an active member of the Artisans Road Trip since 2005 and operated a working art studio, "Studio Upstairs," in Storm Lake.

A person of incredible optimism, Anita passed away on November 8, 2011, at BVRMC Hospice in Storm Lake after a 4 year illness with Pancreatic Cancer. She will be missed by all.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Off Season?

(Clock-wise from the left - Mari Stewart's mobile "Luminous Tear Drops",
"Out-of-the-box" drawing class with Hank Hall and "Art on a Card" exhibit 
at Arts on Grand in Spencer.

If there were an "off season" for the Artisans Road Trip you'd be hard pressed finding it!

A.R.T. artist Mari Stewart of the Side Street Gallery and Frame Shoppe in Arnolds Park, recently exhibited in the Rock Rapids Annual Art Show. The annual show is put together by the Rock Rapids Business Women and is in its 46th year.  Mari's mobile "Luminous Tear Drops" was awarded 1st place in the three dimensional division. 

On the teaching side of art - Hank Hall is holding his "Out-of-the-box Drawing Class", an adult drawing class that started November 2nd, Wednesday afternoons at Art on 16th in Olde Town Spirit Lake.  Classes run for four weeks.

And, as mentioned in the last A.R.T. blog - "Art on a Card" continues at Arts on Grand in Spencer. This exhibit features several A.R.T. artists and their select artwork is available as Christmas/Holiday Cards for purchase at Arts on Grand.  This fund raising event supports the arts in Spencer.  The exhibit (sponsored by Woolverton) runs through December 10th.

Watch for more from artists of the Artisans Road Trip!

Friday, October 28, 2011

A.R.T. artists participate in "Art on a Card"

"Frosty Morning Bales" oil painting © Bruce A. Morrison
- example of the winter themed works exhibited 
during "Art on a Card" at Arts on Grand in Spencer.

 Artisan Road Trip artists are keeping busy all year around, not just during the road trip itself! We each have our own exhibition and workshop schedules and even participate together and with other non-road trip artists.

One such exhibit is coming up fast - the "Art on a Card" exhibit at Spencer's Arts on Grand. Of the 12 exhibiting artists, 8 are from the 2011 Artisans Road trip.

Each exhibiting artist has given Arts on Grand permission to print one of their artworks or photographs on a note card. The cards will feature winter themes, making them a great choice for use as Christmas cards this season! The cards will be sold individually or in boxes of 12 cards, one by each of the exhibiting artists. What a great fund raiser for Arts on Grand!

"Art on a Card" opens at Arts on Grand on November 1st and runs through December 10th. There will be an opening reception (sponsored by Woolverton) on Thursday November 3rd from 5 - 7 p.m. The public is invited!

Send out Christmas cards by area artists - what a great idea!

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Real Fun of It!

"Summer Evening on Waterman"
© Bruce A. Morrison - oil on canvas

Thank you to everyone who took in the 2011 Artisans Road Trip weekend on 9/30/11 through 10/2/11!  It was a win-win for everyone out there!  The "road trippers" had a very nice weekend of things to do and see, and the artists received some support for their efforts, got to meet new people and had fun showing off their wares and works!

And I'm no exception - I really enjoy showing off the studio here along the Waterman Creek valley south of B40.  It's a beautiful scenic location and so many new visitors are very surprised its here and they never knew about it!  That's the real fun of A.R.T.! 

That's the case with all facets and artists of A.R.T. - there's a pleasant surprise around every corner!  Unique studios and galleries, one of a kind works and memorable travels around our beautiful corner of the state!

Thank you for supporting the Arts in NW Iowa!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

2011 Artisans Road Trip at Arts on Grand!

Arts on Grand (Spencer, Iowa) and the Spencer Alliance for a Creative Economy (SPACE) will be co-hosting Business After Hours tonight (Tuesday, September 27) from 5-7:00 p.m. at Arts on Grand.  This event is also serving as the opening reception for the 2011 Artisans Road Trip "Northwest Iowa Treasures" exhibit there!  This A.R.T. exhibit will be up and showing through October 29th at Arts on Grand.

Passing through Spencer?  Drop in at Arts on Grand and see a sampling of the artists of NW Iowa's 2011 Artisans Road Trip!

For even more fun - travel the autumn roads and drop in on the studios of the A.R.T. artists in person!
A.R.T. runs from this Friday (September 30) at 4-8:00 p.m. through Saturday and Sunday (October 1 and 2) from 9:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. each day.

The 2011 Artisans Road Trip!  It just doesn't get any better than this!!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

2011 Artisans Road Trip Artist Hank Hall

Hank Hall working on a teapot in his studio

This 2011 Artisans Road Trip spot light is on Hank Hall!  Hank Hall, Spirit Lake native, invites you to stop during Artisans Road Trip at Art on 16thhis creative laboratory in the heart of the Iowa Great Lakes.

"Irrigating Nebraska"  
(drawing © Hank Hall)

Hall’s eclectic gallery plus studio is located on 16th Street across from the post office in Olde Town Spirit Lake! 

"Saturated Fat Friday"
(art work © Hank Hall)

Hall’s goal at Art on 16th is to present remarkable art for sale by area artists and to offer quality art classes for students of all ages and levels.

It's just around the corner!  Be sure and take in the artists of the 2011 Artisans Road Trip Friday - September 30 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday - October 1st and 2nd from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day!

See you there!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Prairie Poem Wetland Chorus"
art work © Dennis Dykema

2011 Artisans Road Trip artist Dennis Dykema has been working on panoramic landscape paintings of Iowa settings recently.  The artist describes them as being based on older Loess Hills scenes and also some very local ones as well.  For those out there who are less familiar with Dennis and his work, here is a little more background on the Spirit Lake painter.

Dennis L. Dykema was born in Worthington, Minnesota in 1940.  He studied art at Morningside College, and the University of Northern Iowa where he earned a Master's Degree in painting in 1970.  He was appointed to the art faculty at Buena Vista University in 1970 and has served there until his retirement in 2001.  In 2006 he and his wife moved to Spirit Lake.  Dykema’s  second-floor studio is located at 1720 Hill Ave. in downtown Spirit Lake, IA.

"Spring's Promise"
art work © Dennis Dykema

Dykema's paintings have been exhibited extensively, including shows at the Des Moines Art Center, Sioux City Art Center, Olson-Larsen Galleries in West Des Moines, The Brunnier Gallery in Ames, the MacNeider Museum in Mason City, and the Anderson/Obrien Gallery in Omaha.  In 1989 a group of his paintings toured Poland at the invitation of the Central Bureau of Artists Exhibitions. In 1993 his work was represented in the Fragile Giants, a touring show that focused attention on Iowa’s Loess Hills.  Dykema’s work from that show was eventually shown in such far reaching places as Washington, DC, and the US embassy residence in Swaziland, Africa.

"So Much to Remember II"
art work © Dennis Dykema

Dykema's works are included in many public, corporate, and private collections; among them, the Sioux City Art Center, MacNeider Museum of Mason City, 3M Company of Minneapolis, Norwest Banks of Sioux City and Des Moines, Principal Financial Group, Pioneer Company of Des Moines, Pella Rollscreen, and the University of Iowa Hospitals.  His paintings may be seen locally at his studio and at Art on 16th in Spirit Lake.

Meet and greet artists just like Dennis all along the 2011 Artisans Road Trip in just a couple weeks!!!  Friday - September 30 from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday - October 1 and 2 from (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.!

For more information, visit the A.R.T. web site at -

Hope to see you on the Artisans Road Trip this fall!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Artists of the 2011 Artisans Road Trip are busy making the last minute preparations for the big weekend coming up soon!

If you haven't been on one of the road trips of years past, you'll be surprised as to the diversity of artists and their works, as well as the regions they represent!

There are 4 regions represented by the 2011 A.R.T. line-up!
-Iowa Great Lakes
-Prairie Wetlands
-Ridge and Tallgrass Prairie
-Beautiful View

Some regional titles may seem less obvious than others but perfectly describe their locations. For a quick look at the regions of the 2011 A.R.T., take a look at the Artisans Road Trip web site...
the "Maps" link will take you to the regions of A.R.T. and on the maps themselves you'll see the locations of each artisan; clicking on them will bring the individual artist up and tell you more about them and their location.

Want to see a particular artist right away? Click on the "Gallery" link on the homepage and you'll get the list of artisans exhibiting this year. Click on your choice and learn more about each artist individually!

The 2011 Artisans Road Trip weekend is Friday September 30 (4-8 p.m.), Saturday October 1 and Sunday October 2 (9 a.m. - 5 p.m.)!

In the meantime, visit the A.R.T. website for more information. And if you're heading to the Clay County Fair - visit the Art Barn for some of the 2011 A.R.T. artists and pickup an A.R.T. brochure!

A lot to look forward to!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"From the Tallgrass"

"Prairie Cantabile" Painted Violin
(casein on applied canvas - © Bruce A. Morrison)

2011 Artisans Road Trip Artist Bruce Morrison has opened his "From the Tallgrass" exhibit at Arts on Grand in Spencer, Iowa!  "From the Tallgrass" is an exhibition of paintings, drawings and photography celebrating our natural "and" cultural heritage of the tallgrass prairie.

"Summer Along Angler's Bay"
(color pencil - © Bruce A. Morrison)

This heritage is a constant focus in the art work of Bruce Morrison.  Whether it depicts the landscape of the tallgrass prairie region, or its flora and fauna; “From the Tallgrass” is the road traveled the past couple decades for the artist.  And if you were to spend any time with him, it would appear this will continue indefinitely as a chosen path.  “I couldn’t think of a more suitable focus and recurrent theme for my work.”, says Morrison.

"Negus's Bales"
(oil on canvas - © Bruce A. Morrison)

The artist follows his interest and focus in his daily life as well; living on a small piece of prairie remnant; he and his wife, Georgeann, have worked to bring back the native habitat through careful stewardship of their prairie home.  You can follow Bruce through his prairie journey each week on his blog - "Prairie Hill Farm Studio", or learn more about the tallgrass prairie on his "A Tallgrass Journal" blog (which had previously run as a web subscription journal since 2002) or subscribe to his e-mail Studio Newsletter for more information as well.

"American Goldfinch - male"
(photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison)

"From the Tallgrass" will run from August 16 through September 25.  There will be an Artist's Reception on Thursday, August 25th, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. - the public is welcome!

Thank you for visiting the 2011 Artisans Road Trip Blog!  Be sure and check back again soon for more from the upcoming Artisans Road Trip and its artists!!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

2011 A.R.T. at the Sanford!

Various 2011 A.R.T. artists are exhibiting a 
sampling of their works at the Sanford Museum!

As mentioned in past blogs the Artisans Road Trip often has exhibits through the year that give a great cross section of their works.  the 2011 Artisan Road Trip Artists are currently exhibiting at the Sanford Museum in Cherokee, Iowa, from August 1 through August 31st.

"East West Bridge - Okoboji" art work ©Anita (Katie) Plucker

"Cactus" art work ©Beth Cathcart
 "Hitching to Colorado"-CNC plasma cut steel-powder coated white
art work © William Lieb

"Cobalt Splash Teapot" art work © Hank Hall

The hours at the Sanford Museum in Cherokee are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. 12:00 Noon to 5:00 p.m. Saturday and SundayFor more information, you can contact the Sanford Museum at 712/225-3922 or via e-mail at
Thank you for stopping by - be sure to visit again for more of the 2011 Artisans Road Trip!

Monday, August 1, 2011

2011 Artisans Road Trip Artist - Joleen Dentlinger

"Iowa State's Building - 1"
art work ©Joleen Dentlinger

On July 6, a one woman show, entitled "Lines of Time", opened at the Clear Lake Art Center, Clear Lake.  The exhibit will close on August 18 and features both old and new pieces by A.R.T. artist Joleen Dentlinger.  Joleen states, "It was an honor to be asked to exhibit in such a fine gallery." 

Joleen continues - "Having an opportunity such as this gives me the inspiration to do more art and be prepared to exhibit all new pieces for the next time.  With working 4 days a week, my 90 year old Mother who needs assistance at times, extra curricular activities, and not to mention the every day things that take time and effort - I just find it hard to find the time to create. All of my life, I put things off until the last minute, but have found that I generally put out a better product if I do that.  If I have all sorts of time, I just dabble and generally am unhappy with the results.  Knowing that I only have days or hours puts the pressure on, but the end results are wonderful.  BUT, along with the pressure comes anxiety, tension and stress - all of which aren't the best, but the job is done and I'm happy with it!"
 "The Sign"
art work ©Joleen Dentlinger

"For those of you unfamiliar with my art, it is very detail oriented and takes hours to create.  The larger the piece, the more hours it takes.  A judge suggested to me once that I draw larger pieces.  At the time the largest drawing was approximately 14" x 16" and the thought of going larger was rather frightening.  Since then I have numerous pieces that are 22" x 28" and the end results are quite rewarding, but with the changing economy I am reverting back to somewhat smaller pieces."

 "The Sign - 3"
art work ©Joleen Dentlinger

Artist's Statement:  "History and it's preservation rate very high in my heart, right behind home and family.  With my drawings I can document places and things that touched me, whether it's an old farm house, an old Chicago hotel or an intriguing landscape.  By working in pen and ink, I strive and accomplish depth, intensity, detail, "color" and texture - in just a subtle way - as simple as black and white."  

Visit the Clear Lake Art Center, located at 17 South 4th Street in Clear Lake.  Hours are Tuesday - Saturday - 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
Thank you for visiting the 2011 Artisans Road Trip Blog!  Stop back for more activities andd artists of the 2011 Artisans Road Trip!

Monday, July 25, 2011

2011 Artisans Road Trip Artist - Lynn Swan

"Hang up Your Wrap" Crazy Patch 2009

Lynn Hunter Swan was born in Lowell, Indiana, but came to Iowa to attend Drake University where she met and married an Iowa State senior who swept her off her feet and carried her off to a farm in Dickens (northwest), Iowa.  She eventually earned her B.A. from Buena Vista University in Music Education with a minor in Art, where she first discovered a fascination with weaving and design.  Her formal art training added new dimensions to her life-long love of textiles, fibers, needlework and sewing.

red/rust knitted wrap 2010

After semi-retiring from a 28 year career as an interior designer, for many years owner of Lynn Hunter Swan Interiors in Spencer, she is returning to playing with strands of what ever catches her fancy… primarily weavings of miscellaneous fibers and yarns, collages of paper, etc. and also Crazy Patch quilting. 

tan/copper weaving with "bovine ivory" 2009

Her work is currently shown at Arts on Grand, Spencer, From our Hands, Des Moines, the Octagon, Ames, IA and  in Oct., N.W. Iowa’s Artisan’s Road Trip.

Check back again for more news and artists of the 2011 Artisans Road Trip!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

2011 Artisans Road Trip Artist - Barb McGee

This Artisans Road Trip spot light is on artist Barb McGee!  Barb works from her studio and gallery in Peterson, Iowa.  Barb is going to give us a little insight into her selective process in working with a painting.

"For me starting a new painting means finding the perfect photograph or in some cases many photo's.  For my current painting it was a matter of reduction.  At my opening reception at A Piece Of Work in Spirit Lake I stated that I wanted to paint a white shirt.  Now I am not at all sure why a cowboy would want to wear a white shirt but some of them really do.

Last year my husband Don and I went to a ranch in South Dakota for a branding.  I took over a thousand pictures.  I knew I had at least one guy in a white shirt so I started looking to figure out which photo had the most potential.

These are the best ones I had to pick from.  They are very involved photos that are going to make very involved paintings.  My idea of an ideal painting is simple and in your face.  I like to crop and simplify so it was an easy choice for me.  The next step is to examine my choice and see if I can make it better.  I went through several croppings until I found the one I liked best.



Better, but still too much noise under the horses head

Ah Ha, now that is what I wanted :-)  I have my white shirt & ropes and saddle and even a hat, what more could I want????  It doesn't seem to bother me that my cowboy has no head, what do you think of the headless horseman?  Maybe it has something to do with living on Sleepy Hollow Road :-)"

 Watercolor Painting ©Barb McGee

And here is Barb's finished painting!

Stop by again for more interesting artists from the 2011 Artisans Road Trip!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

2011 A.R.T. Artist Perry Polson

"Filled with Emerald Green"
art work © Perry Polson

This 2011 Artisans Road Trip spotlight is on Perry Polson, wood turning artist extraordinaire!  Here Perry brings us into his thought process and musings on recent work. -

"Turning many pieces over the course of the year - every one is a bit different. However my latest project landed me in a pile of maple burls that came from Okoboji and the Emerald Hills Golf course. As I shaved away layer after layer of time from the first large pieces, as they spun on the lathe in front of me, I couldn’t help but ponder whether this tree stood and shared the area with the natives who once lived in the lakes area many many years ago (or may have seen arrows whizzing by it - now to have golf balls flying by)! The mind goes where it will as you remove layer after layer of wood as its spinning inches in front you.  With every pass of the tool,  new patterns and figuring is exposed in the wood and sometimes surprises like wire, nails, rocks, one just never knows.   An arrow head stuck in a crotch that had been engulfed by the tree would have been cool!

Things making full circle as they do - a few of the pieces of that tree have found their way back and are on display in the club house at Emerald Hills till August."

Other works of varying styles, and some newer ones can be seen at Perry's shop - Wild Wood Gallery & Turning Lab, 121 Grand Avenue, Spencer, IA 51301

Stop by and visit!

And check back here again for more artists from the 2011 Artisans Road Trip!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

2011 Artisans Road Trip Artist - Mel Myers

This 2011 A.R.T. spot light is on artist Mel Myers! Mel Myers of Clay County Clay fame has ten summer/fall art shows planned including the upcoming one in Iowa City on June 3-4. He will be showing at the Humbolt Art Show on June 18. July 10 is Reiman Gardens in Ames followed by Marshalltown's Linn Creek Art Show on July 17 and Clear Lake's Art Festival on July 23rd. Mel always enjoys Art in the Park at Okoboji on August 6th.

A new glaze experiment turned out successful — a warm, toasty light brown color shows off his carving and works in anyone's home with wood grained tables/furniture. All of Mel's work is decorative, but highly usable —- safe for food, dishwasher and daily use.

Customers are welcome at his studio on non-show dates. Clay County Clay is located at 717 11th Avenue East in Spencer, Iowa. His studio phone number is appropriately 712-580-CLAY (2529).

Check back again for more great art from the 2011 Artisans Road Trip!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

2011 Artisans Road Trip Artist - Glenda Drennen

Our Artisans Road Trip artist spot light this week is on Le Mars Watercolor artist Glenda Drennen.

The allure of watercolor captivated Glenda Drennen from the moment she first tried it nearly 30 years ago. A former public school music teacher, Glenda's love affair with this medium began when she married and left teaching. She is a seasoned artist who has earned signature memberships at both the state and national level in both the Iowa Watercolor Society and the Watercolor Honor Society, Springfield, MO and is a member of Iowa Artists.

"St. Joe's" - Watercolor
©Glenda Drennen

Earlier in her life as an artist, painting hundreds of commissions - usually house or business portraits - was a mainstay in her career. While she now accepts few orders, a recent commission painting, "Old St. Joes - Midnight Mass," was particularly successful. The painting featured a historic church that will soon be razed, and sold at auction at a Pheasants Forever fund raising event for $10,000.

"Too Many House Plants" - Watercolor
©Glenda Drennen 

Glenda uses the unpredictable nature of watercolor to advantage, and her energetic paintings often include surprises and reflect her sense of humor. She prefers to work from her vivid imagination, using little if any source material. Most paintings are started with little if any idea of a subject. Her work has evolved into a strong personal statement that is increasingly abstracted and subjective. While she honors and practices the time-honored tradition of transparent watercolor, she also embraces the use of other water soluble media and collage to broaden the creative possibilities. Her work is complex, rich with texture, and shows a maturity of creative expression.

"Tattered Veils of Fall" - Watercolor
©Glenda Drennen
"Tattered Veils of Fall" was one of two of Glenda's paintings recently published in an online  cyberbook, "Walk Into Abstracts 2 - How did they do that?" by Sue St. John. The book features images and single page descriptions of the working process for the work of 26 artists.

Ms. Drennen will be showing her work at A Piece of Work in downtown Spirit Lake during the Artisan Road Trip. Until then, some of her work and her blog (under "news") can be seen on her website

Be sure and check back again for more news from the 2011 Artisans Road Trip - thank you for visiting!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

2011 Artisans Road Trip Artist - Bill Lieb

Out Artisans Road Trip artist spot light this week is on Spirit Lake sculptor Bill Lieb. Bill discusses his latest public art project -
"I am in the process of constructing another public sculpture. This one is for installation on 4th Street in downtown Sioux City as part of the "Sculpt Siouxland" program, a juried event designed to promote sculpture and downtown Sioux City.  The finished sculpture will be installed May 14 and will be on display there for one year. This is the fourth year I have had a sculpture accepted into this exciting program.


The sculpture is an eight foot tall abstract penguin balancing a spinning beach ball on it's nose.  What is a penguin balancing a spinning beach ball on it's nose doing on 4th Street in Sioux City? Good question! It seems there is a new cloud hanging over our lives today. Do you feel it too? It is the realization that everything on our globe is interconnected to everything else and the whole mess is in a very delicate balance. Change in any one area can force changes in other areas. What happens in the Antarctic or in the Amazon or in Greenland can impact change right here in Iowa. And what we do here can effect what happens there. What is the appropriate behavior for us? How should we relate to our environment in a responsible, sustainable way? These are questions raised by the sculpture titled “Do We Care, We Do Care”.  The represents a metaphor for nature and our response to nature.

On the horizontal surface of one of the penguin's wings are the letters of three words cut through the aluminum. Because of the way the words are positioned and viewed, the message is not discernible.  But as the sunlight passes through the cut-out letters and falls on the sidewalk, the words revealed there appear as a bright sunspot message in the shadow of the sculpture. The message "Do We Care" is arranged in a confusing way and can also be read as "We Do Care". The interpretation is up to the viewer.

Short video of the finished piece!

The beach ball is constructed of curved fins that allow the breeze to spin it around its vertical axis. This movement will compel the passerby to interact with the sculpture and, hopefully, walk away with a more enlightened view of the world.

The images I have included are of a model of the sculpture. Construction of the final sculpture is mostly complete now except for final welding and painting of the beach ball, and grinding a finish on the penguin's body." 

That will be fum to see when it's complete Bill!  

Join us again for another artist spotlight on the 2011 Artisans Road Trip!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

2011 Artisans Road Trip Artist - Dennis Dykema

 "Wind Through the Grass"
oil painting © Dennis Dykema

Out Artisans Road Trip artist spot light this week is on Spirit Lake painter Dennis Dykema.  Dennis studied art at Morningside College and the University of Northern Iowa from which he earned a Master’s Degree.  He taught art in the public schools and for 31 years at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, retiring in 2001 to paint full time.  In 2006 he and his wife moved to Spirit Lake where he established a downtown second-floor studio at 1720 Hill Avenue. 

 "A Stream Runs Through It"
oil painting © Dennis Dykema

“I’ve been fascinated with the landscape for a long time and have come to recognize it as the most prevailing aspect of my environment.  In recent years I have begun to explore the landscape subject as it is affected by changing conditions of light and shadow.  At the time of day when these are most evident the subtle interplay of texture and surface, intersect with compositional structure of the subject to make, in my mind at least, a complete experience."

 "Marshland Song vs.2"
oil painting © Dennis Dykema

"Since my move to Spirit Lake I have discovered that the abundant prairie and wetland area comprising the watershed for the Iowa Great Lakes is a rich subject resource for my recent work. While inspiration for my paintings comes from the landscape I continually explore the interpretation of the subject along a continuum from representation to abstraction. I have found that the most inconsequential scene can be a springboard to several generations of paintings, and it is my objective that the works will ultimately stand independent of the subject origin.” 

 "Wetland Shore"
oil painting © Dennis Dykema

Dykema's works are included in many public, corporate, and private collections; among them, the Sioux City Art Center, MacNeider Museum of Mason City, 3M Company of Minneapolis, Norwest Banks of Sioux City and Des Moines, Principal Financial Group, Pioneer Company of Des Moines, Pella Rollscreen, and the State of Iowa.  His studio welcomes visitors but it would be wise to call 712-299-0957 to be sure.   

Check back again for more artists and activities for the 2011 Artisans Road Trip!