Thursday, December 20, 2012

Get Ready for A.R.T. in 2013!

2013 marks the 10th Anniversary for the Artisans Road Trip!  Yes its hard to believe, but so much has happened since the maiden voyage in 2004!  Many, many artists have participated, and from all over NW Iowa.

In the spirit of our 10th Anniversary, we're planning for another great year and want to be sure and get the word out to other artists out there who may be new to the region or having recently returned, that the 2013 A.R.T. artist's "Call-for-Entry" is out and available for artists wishing to participate in this great event during 2013!

The 2013 Artisans Road Trip "Call-for-Entry" is available online at the A.R.T. web site at -

Just print out the entry form sections and mail to the address indicated!

Or you may contact any of the individuals listed on the organization's web site page for more information (phone numbers and e-mail addresses) at -

If you, or someone you know, would like to be an active participant of the 2013 Artisans Road Trip, don't wait too long, the sign up period ends in mid January!

Get ready for another great year!!!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas in the Gallery!

Works like these and much more can be found at
"Christmas in the Gallery" at Arts on Grand!
(artworks © the following artists - top left, clockwise -
Anita (Katie) Baedke-Plucker, Mel Myers, Danielle Clouse,
Holly Kellog, Dennis Dykema, Bruce Morrison, Judy Hemphill,
Barb McGee, and center - Timothy J. Arand-McIlrath)

Several Artisans Road Trip Artists are being showcased in the "Christmas in the Gallery" exhibit at Arts on Grand in Spencer, Iowa!

The Exhibit Gallery will be filled with art items from area artists for holiday gift buying.  More than 20 artists are participating, with work in many mediums, including: blown glass, ceramics, handpainted silk scarves, jewelry, note cards from original paintings and photographs, painted ornaments, paintings, photography, musical CDs, collages, textiles (scarves, hats, purses), fused glass, encaustics, wood turnings and more!

The exhibit runs from December 3, 2012 - January 5, 2013.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A.R.T Exhibiting in Clear Lake!

The Artisans Road Trip is having their final exhibit of 2012 at the Clear Lake Art Center in Clear Lake, Iowa form November 20 through January 5, 2013!

As mentioned in previous blogs, the Artisans Road Trip is not just about a weekend open studio tour the first weekend of October - its also about the best artists of NW Iowa and bringing their work to the public!

Many of the A.R.T. artists are busy exhibiting in other area shows and exhibitions throughout the holiday season as well.  Small Bussiness Saturday is a really big deal for area artists...they are small business people too!  You can find the A.R.T. artists on the A.R.T. website for their studio locations and contacts -  The GALLERY link will take you right the the artist names and these link directly to each individual. Why not shop locally and support your local economy; bring home works created right here in NW Iowa!

Next year will celebrate the Artisans Road Trip's 10th year!  2012 has been a great year - 2013 promises to be even better!!!

Take in the final exhibit of the year in Clear Lake if you're able, and watch for more great things to come in 2013 - Thank you for your support of A.R.T. in Northwest Iowa!

Friday, November 9, 2012

2012 A.R.T. Mel Myers

Hand Carved Pottery © Mel Myers

Artists of the 2012 Artisans Road Trip are all gearing up for the holiday season!  This week we are highlighting Mel Meyers!

Mel is continually working on new glazes and forms of his hand thrown, hand carved pottery. His colors range from a nice, lively green (popular for the Christmas season), to warm earth tone glazes of browns and golds. He has had recent fun making flower frogs and vases that hold water for fresh cut flowers. His bowls and covered oven dishes have been popular for use at Thanksgiving meals as they keep the food nice and warm for the second helpings.

Mel has been working with pottery for over thirty years -- all in Spencer, so he is a home town, northwest Iowa artist whose work can be found in several galleries.

Mel welcomes people who stop by his studio, which
is open for business daily at 717 11th Ave. East in Spencer. Be sure and stop in and see his most recent work!

For more information you can contact Mel at - 712-580-2529.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

2012 A.R.T. Artist Tim Arand-McIlrath at the Wanda J Skogerboe Juried Exhibition

"Tributaries" and "Starryeyed"
© Tim Arand-McIlrath

Two of the two dimensional mixed media pieces that Tim Arand-McIlrath has been creating are currently being exhibited in the Wanda J  Skogerboe Juried Exhibition currently on view at the Pearson Lakes Art Center in Okoboji,IA.

Detail from "Tributaries"
© Tim Arand-McIlrath

"Tributaries" and Starryeyed" were accepted into the juried exhibition.  "Tributaries" is a diptych consisting of two panels with layered acrylic paint and crocheted yarn. "Starryeyed" has an acrylic painted background with crocheted yarn and beads.

Detail from "Starryeyed"
© Tim Arand-McIlrath 

Founded in 1993, this biannual, juried exhibition is designed to further the art center’s mission by supporting and exhibiting contemporary art from the greater Midwest. This year the Wanda K. Skogerboe Juried Exhibition was judged by Barbara Walton, Associate Professor of Integrated Studio Arts at Iowa State University.

Thirty- five artists with 96 works entered the exhibit; twenty-two artists with 40 works have been selected to participate. 

Other A.R.T. artists included in the exhibition include Judy Thompson, Orange City; Dennis Dykema, Spirit Lake; Karess Knudtson, Milford; William Lieb, Spirit Lake; Hank Hall, Spirit Lake; and Glenda Drennen, LeMars.

The exhibition will be on display through December 31st, 2012
Tim's artwork can be seen online at and is available for purchase at Art on 16th Gallery in Spirit Lake.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A.R.T. Artist in Richeson 75 Figure/Portrait 2012 International Competition

watercolor © Judy Thompson

Even though the studio tour part of the 2012 Artisans Road Trip is behind us this year, the artists of the Artisans Road Trip work through the year with A.R.T. as a group, doing exhibits and meeting to work on activities for the coming year.  Another part of being a participant in the organization is being showcased in our blog, letting everyone know what our artists are up to "throughout" the year. Here we learn about 2012 Artisans Road Trip artist Judy Thompson and her participation and acceptance in a recent competition.  

Watercolor artist, Judy Thompson, had the honor of taking part in the Richeson 75 Figure/Portrait 2012 International Competition.  Her figurative piece, Sojourners is one of 75 pieces of art which was selected from several hundred entries, including entries from four continents in a variety of mediums.

Jack Richeson& Co. is a leading manufacturer and supplier of high-quality art materials. As part of their mission to support the visual arts community, the Richeson School of Art & Gallery and the Richeson75 International Art Competitions were created. The Richeson75 Competitions are meant to offer a venue in which established and emerging artists may show their latest, best work to a wide and appreciative audience.

You can see Judy’s work and the complete exhibition online at Richeson 75 Portraits.

Be sure and check back again for more about the artists of the 2012 Artisans Road Trip - throughout the year!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thank You!!!

Its been nearly 2 weeks now since the 2012 Artisans Road Trip weekend.  It was a beautiful, albeit crisp and breezy weekend, and 2012 Artisans Road Trip participants got to meet many new "gallery goers" as well as some familiar friends - it is so neat to meet everyone, whether or not for the first time, with a handshake and a greeting :)
Thank you everyone who stopped at the studios, galleries and workspaces.  We hope you had a chance to enjoy some fun "road tripping".  And thank you to everyone who came, fell in love with some works on our walls, and gave them a good home, this is more gratifying than we can adequately express...thank you so much.
We hope to see or hear from you again through the season, as we dig out of the framing work, jobs in progress and new commissions ahead.  Have a grand autumn and watch for more ahead - for the 2013 Artisans Road Trip!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The 2012 Artisans Road Trip is Finally Here!!!

Artwork shown (left to right)
© Karess Knudtson, Anita (Katie) Baedke-Plucker and Judy Hemphill

The 2012 Artisans Road Trip is finally here this weekend!!!  This is the 9th year of this NW Iowa "Studio Tour", and as far as the autumn color is concerned here - one of the prettiest in memory!

 Artwork shown (left to right)
© Perry Polson, Joleen Dentlinger and Timothy J. Arand-McIlrath

It sounds like fall weather is actually going to be here on Saturday and Sunday, so wear your sweater and enjoy the crisp air! Take in all the studios you can and enjoy this weekend!

Artwork shown (left to right)
© Danielle Clouse, Bruce Morrison and Beth Cathcart

The Artisans Road Trip hours this Saturday October 6th and Sunday October 7th are - 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Noon to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.  There are four main routes, so the choices are great!  Find maps online for the Road Trip, and see all the artists participating, and directions to their studios - on line at

Hope to see you this weekend!!!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Event Exhibit at Arts on Grand!

 Artwork shown (left to right) 
© Mel Myers, Holly Kellogg and Glenda Drennen

The 2012 Artisans Road Trip event is nearing!  And to get ready for this year's A.R.T. is a "sneak preview" if-you-will; a traditional Artisans Road Trip exhibit at Arts on Grand in Spencer, Iowa!

Artwork shown (left to right) 
© Bill Lieb, Judy Thompson, and Wendell King

This exhibit will give you a preview of what is in store for you as you venture out to take in that crisp fall air and warm sunshine on the studio tour that has become a region tradition!  See what your favorite artists have been up to this year, and even check out some new venues!  

 Artwork shown (left to right) 
© Barb McGee, Martha Thien, and Hank Hall

The Artisans Road Trip exhibit at Arts on Grand opens Tuesday night, September 25th, with an artists reception.  This reception, from 5 - 7 p.m.,  is held in conjunction with Business After Hours. The public is invited, and refreshments will be served.  The exhibit runs from September 25 through October 27.

Artisans Road Trip will be held October 6 & 7, 2012. Maps are available at Arts on Grand. Also, find maps and more at 
 This exhibit is sponsored by: State Bank

Monday, September 17, 2012

2012 A.R.T. Dykema - Works of Giverny

"The Bridge"
22X30" - oil on paper 
© Dennis Dykema

2012 Artisans Road Trip artist Dennis Dykema has recently been working on a body of work since returning from a trip this past spring in France.  Seen here are a few examples of paintings inspired by Monet's gardens at Giverny.

"A Visit to Giverny No.3"
22X30" - oil on paper 
© Dennis Dykema

Dykema's artist statement - "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.

"A Visit to Giverny No.1"
22X30" - oil on paper 
© Dennis Dykema

Since my move to Spirit Lake I have discovered that the vast 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." 

You can see Dennis Dykema's work during the artisans 2012 Road Trip coming soon!  October 6 and 7, 2012!  Visit the web site for more information -

Thank you for visiting - check back again for more of the artists of the 2012 A.R.T.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A.R.T. Artsit Judy Hemphill and the Clay County Fair!

 photography ©Judy Hemphill

Artisans Road Trip artists continue to exhibit their work in a variety of venues.  The 2012 Clay County Fair Museum will feature a sampling of photographs made by 2012 A.R.T. member Judy Hemphill of Spencer.  She has been documenting "The World's Greatest" since a self-assignment in 1995.  A collage of images from that edition of the fair launched Hemphill's free-lance photography career. Two of her submissions to the International Association of Fairs and Expositions have earned Best Agricultural Photograph awards. Last year her images placed in three categories of the IAFE competition.

photograph ©Judy Hemphill
Hemphill says, "I love the fair. I hope my images reflect the pride all involved take in doing their best to ensure the Clay County Fair is 'The World's Greatest.' "  In keeping with this year's theme "Discover the Greatest," the public is invited to discover some of Hemphill's favorite fair photographs in the Fair Museum located under the Grandstand.  The Museum and exhibit will be open Saturday, September 8, through Sunday, Sept. 16, during regular fair exhibit hours.
Yes the Clay County Fair is fast approaching, but then so is the 2012 Artisans Road Trip!  Thank you for visiting the 2012 A.R.T. Blog and be sure and stop back for more!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

2012 A.R.T. Artist Danielle Clouse!

"Landlines" oil on canvas - 30X40" 
© Danielle Clouse

Originally from Ruthven, Iowa, Danielle Clouse received her Associate of Arts Degree from Iowa Lakes Community College in May of 2004 and her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Northwest Missouri State University with an emphasis in painting and ceramics in 2007. Clouse has exhibited her work in local and state venues, including the Lt. Governor's Office in the Iowa State Capitol in 2009; collectors of her work are from throughout the United States, in addition to Japan & Canada.  She is the Director of Visual Arts at the Pearson Lakes Art Center in Okoboji and maintains a studio in her home in Spirit Lake.

"Driving By" oil on canvas - 36X36" 
© Danielle Clouse

Clouse states about her work: “An abstract approach to the rural landscape creates a different way of seeing the area around me. Our landscape is unavoidable in this area - driving from place to place, seeing it in its change of seasons, viewing it during different times of the day. Because of these factors, the landscape provides an endless color palette and endless material to work from. Some paintings are created directly from a specific area while others are based on a combination of areas and experiences. Due to this focus, venturing from small town to small town usually lends itself more to research than travel.

"Spring Afternoon" oil on canvas - 28X24" 
© Danielle Clouse

“All works are based on landscapes viewed along highways and gravel roads in Emmet, Palo Alto, Dickinson and Clay counties.  Though I have a reference for each location a painting was inspired by, I enjoy it very much when the viewer can recognize that space as well, despite how I manipulated the original reference. But, it is just as enjoyable when someone from outside this area can connect with a piece. Their response to a landscape may take them to another roadside place, one from their own life or travels.”

Clouse’s work is regularly available for sale at Art on 16th Gallery in Spirit Lake, Iowa as well as The Wine Bar in Arnolds Park. And, sometimes there’s a piece or two in her office at the Pearson Lakes Art Center.

Thank you for stopping by to see more of the artists of the 2012 Artisans Road Trip!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

2012 A.R.T. at the Sanford!

Select artists of the 2012 Artisans Road Trip are exhibiting at the Sanford Museum through the month of August!  Take in this month's exhibit to see a sampling of works from these NW Iowa artists up close, and wet your whistle for this fall's event!

The Artisans Road Trip arranges exhibits throughout the year; its a wonderful way to spread the word about this yearly event and also expose more folks to many of the creative people of our area.

The Sanford is located in Cherokee, Iowa at 117 east Willow Street.  For more information about the exhibit you can contact the Sanford Museum at 712.225.3922.

Thanks for visiting - be sure and stop by for more exciting news from the 2012 Artisans Road Trip!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

2012 A.R.T. Artist Timothy J. Arand-McIlrath

© Timothy J. Arand-McIlrath
This entry for the 2012 Artisans Road Trip is featuring artist Timothy J. Arand-McIlrath! Tim is a retired Art Professor from Iowa State University. He spent 34 years there, teaching two and three dimensional design studios as well as studio classes in all aspects of fiber art. His artwork has been shown in local, state regional, national and international venues.

"Folk art has long been an area of interest for me. I have researched and collected folk art in all my travels.I have spent extended visits to Mexico and in particular to the Oaxaca area. The color, texture and freedom of expression have fascinated me for many years. There is an incredible excitement in the work of folk artists.

© Timothy J. Arand-McIlrath

I have been “accused” of having too much fun creating my art. Not possible in my world. Having fun is one of the prime motivators in my work. I love having viewers smile. I smile a lot while I am working on my art.

In my two dimensional pieces, the backgrounds are painted with acrylic paint and sometimes embellished with found objects. The foregrounds have crocheted web introduced onto the compositions.

"Swooped (side view)"
© Timothy J. Arand-McIlrath

The three-dimensional pieces are usually constructed out of willow branches and are many times painted or varnished. The found objects and crocheted yarn inhabit the structures.

Color, texture, repetition, and pattern have always been strong elements in my work. The compositions are based on my observations of the world around us.

Recently, in an attempt at simplification, I have chosen to title my art work with one word titles.

My work is regularly available for sale at Art on 16th Gallery in Spirit Lake, Iowa.

It is always my hope to elicit pleasure from my viewers."

Join us again for another entry for the 2012 Artisans Road Trip!

Friday, July 13, 2012

2012 A.R.T. Artist Ron Netten

Ron Netten's Stoneware is functional, decorative and sculptural
artwork  ©Ron Netten
(click on image for a larger view)

 Ron Netten is our highlighted 2012 Artisans Road Trip artist for this blog entry!  Ron has been a long time participant in A.R.T. and is located in Storm Lake, Iowa, in the "Beautiful View" section of the roadtrip. (you can click on this link for an A.R.T. map of Storm Lake)

Ron works primarily in high-fire stoneware.  He works with "food safe" material and practices, truly making his medium not just decorative and sculptural but "functional" as well!

Netten's work can be seen in his shared Storm Lake studio at the "Studio Upstairs" - 530 1/2 Erie Street, and more information can be found on the Artisans Road Trip web site on Ron's page at-

Also, if you're near or passing through the Spencer area, be sure and take in the exhibition of works at Arts on Grand which is currently showing "Art and Architecture," an exhibit featuring the work of Ron Netten and the late John Loring Perkins.through Aug. 4th!

Thank you for stopping by for a look at another artist of the 2012 Artisans Road Trip!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Prairie Painter - Painting from Studies

 "September Dawn, Little Sioux River"
oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison

"Prairie Painter" is the handle I use for my business blog - - I think it fits since I do paint the prairie out here :) My business is art, and my artwork is painting, drawing and photography. I've been a member of the Artisans Road Trip since the very first one back in 2004...I did take a year off while building our studio here in SE O'Brien County, but have been a constant supporting member and participant.

We've been introducing members and talking about exhibits for the 2012 A.R.T. and I thought I'd change things up a little and describe my painting process when working from painted "studies", in this case a small oil painting started on location, then finished in the studio. These small "studies" are often used as a platform to work from, to paint a larger finished work in the studio.

The painting shown here is actually from a plein air study I did not too terribly far from the studio about 3 years back. The piece was started outside on the site, but had to be finished that day in the studio because the conditions changed so quickly. The study can be seen and read about from that original blog from September 17, 2009 -

Plein air studies are a natural step for a painter...first you do small color studies (paintings) on location, and these serve as guides for further work in a larger "finished" painting - done later in the studio.

I sold the original plein air study of this painting just a couple months after I did it in 2009 so I had to work from an image file I scanned of the original 6X8" plein air study. That still worked just fine...I wasn't trying to laboriously duplicate the small original, but instead work off of the "impression" the original piece offered as far as lighting, color and composition. The finished piece is unmistakably done from the original, yet is more refined to reflect my interpretation of that morning...the fog or haze rising off of the river as the early morning, late summer sun, breaks through the atmosphere upstream.

You can see other work I've done at my studio's web site -

Thank you for visiting our Artisans Road Trip blog during the year - be sure and check back for more artists of the 2012 Artisans Road Trip!

Monday, June 18, 2012

New Works by Marisa Sidles-2012 A.R.T. Artist

 "Campfire" - © MarisaSidles

Marisa's new paintings are on display at The Wine Bar And Art Gallery in Arnolds Park. The show consists of acrylic paintings inspired by old Polaroid pictures, memories, and expressive techniques.
 "Moonboots 1" - © MarisaSidles
She used refurbished materials to create a charming and colorful series of paintings along with little memory boxes. This series has a nostalgic feel and she hopes it will bring joy to all who takes the time so pay a visit to see them.
 "Rocky 1" - © MarisaSidles
The Wine Bar is open Thursday – Saturday at 7:00pm.

Monday, June 11, 2012

2012 Artisans Road Trip Artist Mel Myers

This A.R.T. spotlight is on Spencer potter Mel Myers!  Mel makes one-of-a-kind, hand thrown porcelain pottery. His bowls, vases, lidded jars, and plates are hand carved with intricate designs. His glazes are also original. Safe to eat off of or put in the oven, his art work is also beautiful to place on a table or mantel. His works make nice gifts.

Besides the Artisans Road Trip, Myers is active in the summer art show circuit with shows in Des Moines, Ames, Iowa City, Okoboji, Marshalltown, Mason City and others. He has been invited to display and sell his pottery in galleries in Iowa City, West Des Moines and Ames. His pottery has been sold to people nation-wide, as well as to people in many foreign countries. He works daily, so he has new glazes and pottery coming out of the kiln frequently.

Mel enjoys visitors to his studio at 717 11th Ave East. His studio is open daily to the public. His work phone is 7125802529.  Turn east at the walgreen/hyvee corner and go 11 blocks to 717 11th Ave East to his studio. Handicap assessible.

Check back again for more artits of the 2012 Artisans Road Trip.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

2012 Artisans Road Trip - First of the Summer!

 Some examples of 2012 A.R.T. artists (from upper left clockwise)
Timothy J. Arand-McIlrath, Joleen Dentlinger, Mel Myers, Judy Thompson, 
Dennis Dykema, and Diane King

 The first summer exhibition of the 2012 Artisans Road Trip starts off with an artist's reception at the Witter Gallery in Storm Lake, Iowa this Thursday evening (June 7th) from 5:30-7:00 p.m.!  The exhibit runs from June 2nd through June 29th, and showcases examples of works from the artists participating in the 2012 A.R.T. event.

Want to meet and talk with artists of this year's event?  Come on down to Storm Lake at the Witter Gallery during the June 7th artist's reception!  If you miss the reception, be sure and stop by during the month of June and enjoy the view!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bait Night at Art on 16th

Hank demonstrating how to put hand work on his fish

2012 A.R.T. artist Hank Hall invites you to join him Friday, June 8 when he will mix the sport of fishing and the art of drawing during Bait Night at Art on 16th in Olde Town Spirit Lake. This special event with a fishing motif is the fourth in an ArtsLIVE local promotion called ArtsLIVE Night Out, highlighting creative businesses in the Iowa Great Lakes Corridor. Bait Night will run from 7-9 pm and is open to people of all ages and artistic backgrounds. The result of Hall’s guided fishing and drawing experience will be a highly decorated fish to hang on the wall.

Participants should bring an open mind and an interest in growing their imaginations to the two hour trip. As they enter Art on 16th, they will find large fish images from pre-cut matt board swimming on a blue tarp on the floor of the gallery. Participants will bait their hooks with colorful Sharpie markers attached to the ends of real fishing poles. As they stand or sit next to the blue tarps, participants will jig, troll and rest the bait on the pre-cut images, resulting in random and playful designs. Using tape and design templates, the fish artists will accentuate and define their personal fish. After pulling in the colorful catch, participants will continue to develop areas of the fish with more precise hand work. The idea is to play with color and materials and end up with a one-of-a-kind, eye-popping fish.

A special one-event fishing license of $20 is required for Bait Night, payable to Art on 16th. Deadline for registration is June 1 with a maximum of 16 good sports. Prepayment will hold a spot in the event. For more information or to register, those interested should contact Sheryl at 712-330-6006 or

Bait Night is also available for families or other groups looking for a creative activity, with a maximum of 6 participants during daytime hours and 16 during the evening. For more information about the June 6 Bait Night or other activities and classes at Art on 16th, call 712.330.6006.

Art on 16th, Hank Hall’s creative laboratory at 709 16th Street in Olde Town Spirit Lake, opened in 2007 in the restored shop of master woodworker Joe Lieb and offers quality art classes and remarkable local art.

Check back often to see what other artists of the 2012 Artisans Road Trip are up to!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

2012 A.R.T. Artist Judy Hemphill's "Second Stories" Exhibit

 "Second Stories," a photographic presentation by Judy Hemphill
photographs  © 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, the Spencer Historic Preservation Commission hired Judy to photograph interior spaces of seven second floor properties in downtown Spencer. "Second Stories," a presentation featuring these images, will be repeated Tuesday, May 8, 2012, 5:30 in Spencer City Hall Council Chambers.  This event should be a good fit for the 2012 May Historic Preservation Month theme "Discover Hidden Gems."

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 contain "hidden gems" in 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" event images of the seven interiors will be featured with commentss from Kirby Schmidt. "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," a photographic presentation by Judy Hemphill, on Tuesday, May 8, at 5:30 pm in the Spencer City Hall Council Chambers, 420 Second Avenue West, 712/580-7200.  Come discover some historic hidden gems!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

2012 A.R.T. Artist Karess Knudtson!

"Never More"
Mixed media Upcycled Art
Photography and Encaustics
17 in x17 in
© 2012 Karess Knudtson

 Meet 2012 Artisans Road Trip artist Karess Knudtson!  Karess resides with her family in the beautiful countryside along the Little Sioux River in Milford, IA. Karess studied art and worked in the art department at Minnesota State University, Mankato. She graduated from Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia, with a B.S. in Environmental Science and Virginia Tech with a Masters of Arts in Education.  Here's Karess -
"My family and I enjoy exploring our many acres of restored prairie, woodlands and the Little Sioux River as it winds through them. We spend as much time outside as we can during all of the seasons, enjoying the diversity and beauty of each one.
Examples of Textured Photographic Canvas Work
Various sizes available
© 2011 Karess Knudtson

 The creative process has been a very important part of me for as long as I can remember. The art pieces that I am currently offering are all original and hand-worked. Each begins with my photograph and evolves into a mixed media piece of art. The photo is digitally and physically manipulated. Some pieces are then created with an upcycled“canvas” which might include barn wood, metal remnants and other“historic” reused materials. Encaustic painting with beeswax adds yet another dimension of beauty and protection. As I began exploring the technique of encaustic painting…I felt like I was “home.” Loving the outdoors and having been an environmental educator and naturalist, all of my earlier experiences come together in this art form. It combines artistically the elements that I am passionate, nature, upcycling, and prairies. I use my camera, computer and tactile media as others would use paints or pencils.

Girl Statue No.1
Mixed Media Upcycled Art
Photography & Encaustics
Upcycled barn wood 
 © 2012 Karess Knudtson

There is beauty in every moment of everyday, but in our fast-paced lives it is too easy to let the beautiful moments and objects get away, and we quickly move on. The intent of my photography and subsequent art is…to capture the beauty of everyday and recapture the beauty of materials from the past by manipulating them into a work of art...reflecting beauty in
a place, a time, a life...."

Join Karess at an upcoming exhibit: Month of May in the Exhibit Cove at A Piece of Work, in Spirit Lake, IA with Artist Reception on the First Friday May 4th, 2012 from 5:30 to 7:00
Month of June at the Dickinson County Conservation Board Nature Center
with Artist Reception on June 4th, 2012 from 4:30 to 6:00
For other upcoming events and more information & pictures you can visit her website.
Karess Knudtson
Milford, Iowa 51351
"Capturing Everyday Beauty"  

Check back again for more from artists of the 2012 Artisans Road Trip!

Friday, April 13, 2012

2012 A.R.T. Artist Dennis Dykema!

"Spring's Promise"
oil painting - © Dennis Dykema
(click on image for a larger view)

Spirit Lake artist Dennis Dykema just had a solo exhibit open at Arts on Grand in Spencer, Iowa on April 10th.  Last night (April 12th) Arts on Grand held a reception for his exhibit "Recent Paintings" and I must say - please don't let this one get by you!  What a great exhibit!

Since his 2006 move from Storm Lake, Dennis has worked from his second-floor studio located at 1720 Hill Ave. in downtown Spirit Lake, Iowa.  His Spirit Lake studio is also where he exhibits from during the yearly Artisans Road Trip, the first weekend in October.

"So Much to Remember II"
oil painting - © Dennis Dykema
(click on image for a larger view)

Dykema is clearly inspired by the landscape in the region he lives and works.  His paintings are a rich experience in color, tonal value, line and composition...with remarkable brush work that leaves an emotive sense of presence!  Be sure and take in Dykema's exhibit this month and next if you get a chance - it runs through May 12th!

The Artisans Road Trip is proud to claim Dennis Dykema and all our other wonderful artists for 2012 - don't miss out!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

From the Exhibition

(click on image for a larger view)

A solo exhibition of prairie artist Bruce Morrison’s paintings, drawings and photographs will be hosted by the Witter Gallery in Storm Lake, Iowa. “From the Tallgrass” is a familiar theme for Morrison, who paints, draws and photographs the prairie remnants and locales from the region he lives and works from. Many of the more than 60 works in this exhibit have never been publicly exhibited before.

The 2012 Artisans Road Trip artist works directly from the landscape, as well as the flora and fauna of the tallgrass prairie. “I seek out and paint, draw or photograph actual locations.  I like to ‘document’ as well as ‘celebrate’ the natural and cultural heritage of our region. The prairie made this region what it is today, and I feel compelled to celebrate that heritage.” remarks the artist. You can follow the artist on his weekly blog (

In the exhibit you will see oil paintings of landscapes done in the “plein air” tradition (on location), or in a more traditional style, done in the artist’s rural studio.  Exhibit visitors will also see very rich landscapes of a smaller scale done in a laborious method in color pencil, as well as intimate and panoramic photographs, and a small, never before exhibited, collection of large format silver gelatin prints.

Morrison works as a professional artist out of his rural SE O’Brien County studio. Bruce and his wife Georgeann remodeled a former sheep barn/chicken coup on their property, to serve as Bruce’s workspace and gallery.  “A great way to re-purpose a piece of our cultural heritage!”  said the artist.

The Exhibit, “From the Tallgrass”,  runs from April 5 through April 26, 2012.  There will be an artist’s reception at the Witter Gallery on Thursday April 5th from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m. - the public is invited!

The Witter Gallery is located at 609 Cayuga Street, in Storm Lake.  You can contact the Witter for more information at 712 732-3400.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Marisa Sidles - 2012 Artisans Road Trip Artist

"Burning Landscape"
Acrylic on Canvas - ©Marisa Sidles

Another 2012 Artisans Road Trip artist to spotlight!  Welcome Marisa Sidles!

"Hi, my name is Marisa Sidles and I am an artist. I have always been a creative person and particularly enjoy painting. I like to use a variety of media to create a mood, invoke an emotion or tell a story with my work. My inspiration comes from nature and the world around me. I use the vibrant colors found in nature to create contrast and depth in my landscapes and figure studies.

My newest area of interest is in making collages. You can achieve a different sort of feeling using fabrics, paint and small objects. I am excited about exploring this medium more extensively in the future.

Although I have taken art classes in high school and college, I am primarily self-taught and have spent years reading and studying different artistic styles in order to create figure studies, landscapes and collages.

After graduating from Pocahontas High School, I attended ILCC where I received an Associates of Arts degree in graphic design. I live on a farm outside of Terril, IA with my husband, Nathan and a variety of dogs, cats, horses and other farm animals. I have a graphic design business, Rissy’s Design and Creations and a studio in Terril. I am also a member of Iowa Regional Artists.

Side Street Gallery in Arnold’s Park was the first gallery to display my artwork in November and December 2009. Mari Stewart, owner, gave me a chance to display my work with just a leap of faith and I am very grateful. In February 2010 I had my first solo show at Pearson Lakes Art Center. My work has also been displayed at A Piece of Work on Hill Avenue in Spirit Lake, IA. I received 3rd Place in the Iowa Artists Regional at Arts on Grand in Spencer, IA in 2011. A group showing at Arts On Grand in Spencer was held through early March of this year ( "Let's Hear it for the Girls").

I have been instructing intuitive acrylic painting classes since January - held in Spencer at the curial/Reynolds school of visual arts. These classes will be fun and stress free for a complete beginner or an established artist looking to exercise the creative spirit.  Look for fun intuitive acrylic classes coming this fall

I invite you all to come and take a step into my world and I hope you will be intrigued and inspired and just enjoy the journey."

Please join us again for more from the 2012 Artisans Road trip!

Monday, March 26, 2012

2012 A.R.T. Artist Hank Hall

Circus Arrival Teapot - © Hank Hall (2012)

This 2012 Artisans Road Trip artist spot light is on Hank Hall of Spirit Lake!

Hank Hall - proprietor and resident artist of Art on 16th in Olde Town Spirit Lake - continues his fascination with making one-of-a-kind teapots. Recently, his “Circus Arrival” teapot was selected for the 23rd Annual Teapot Show “On the Road Again” which opens in Chicago on April 1. For the third year in a row, Hank has entered and been selected for this prestigious exhibit of hand-crafted teapots.

“Circus Arrival” includes wheel-thrown and altered clay parts, acrylic paint, and a handle made from copper tubing, resin elephants and a wooden ball. The high-fire glazed interior also makes it a fully functional teapot. Hank says he enjoyed figuring out the handle and searching for the “right elephants” to complement the elephant-like body. “Circus Arrival” will be on display at Watertower Place on N. Michigan Avenue in Chicago between April 1 and May 15, at Chiaroscuro gallery, Suite 3050.

Hank has participated in the Artisans Road Trip at Art on 16th since he re-purposed Joe Lieb’s long-time woodworking shop into an art studio and gallery in 2007 and before that at Carnegie Hall Artworks, also in Spirit Lake. Generally viewed as a potter and mixed media artist, Hank continues to create one-of-kind teapots along with his distinctive abstract drawings and paintings. An Iowa Arts Council-sanctioned teaching artist, he also offers art classes to people of all ages to help them turn up their creativity and experience success working with materials. His extensive schedule of summer art classes is released to the public by April 1. Along with Hank’s work, Art on 16th represents the work of nearly 20 other area fine artists and has regular hours starting in May, with appointments available year round. More information about Hank and Art on 16th is available at or by calling 712.330.6007.

Join us again soon for more great artists and happenings from the 2012 Artisans Road Trip!