Sunday, April 28, 2013

2013 Artisans Road Trip Artist Bruce Morrison

The artist working on his latest painting - © Bruce A. Morrison

2013 Artisans Road Trip artist Bruce Morrison works from his rural Hartley studio, a former brooding house/sheep barn which they completely renovated in 2007.  Morrison is an artist of our regional natural heritage; the majority of his work depicts the landscape, and flora and fauna of our region.  "I like to work on the landscape in my 'neighborhood' - where I live and work.  Its great when people see a place they recognize; sometimes a place with a personal meaning or memories."

Morrison is a painter and photographer.  Many of his paintings rely on photographs Bruce has taken for refreferences to work from - such as with his painting "Murder Along Little Waterman" (seen working on above).  This particular painting depicts a small flock of Crows (called a "murder") gathering along a small stream-side pasture - an actual site just 2-3 miles north of his studio.  Bruce also paints on location, generally for studies to use for larger studio works at a later time.

But photography is important as a medium to its own for Morrison as well; landscapes, flora and fauna photography are all taken seriously as both artforms and for publication in books, magazines and calendars.

"Murder Along Little Waterman" - oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view

You can learn more about Bruce's work on his website at -, and weekly to bi-weekly happenings from his studio blog at  Or even more often on Face Book at
"Murder Along Little Waterman" and other works of Morrison's and other select artists of the 2013 Artisans Road Trip, will be showing at Arts on Grand in May for their upcoming exhibit "Iowa's Natural Heritage".  More on that in our next A.R.T. Blog - please check back!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

2013 Artisan Road trip Artists Participate in Nobles County Art Center's April Annual Area Show

Artwork examples © (top left clockwise) David Strom, 
Timothy Arand-McIlrath, Hank Hall and Bill Lieb
(Click on image for a larger view)

Four Artisan Road Trip artists currently have artwork in the April Annual Area Art Show at the Nobles County Art Center in Worthington MN. Timothy Arand-McIlrath, Hank Hall, William Lieb, and David Strom are exhibiting work in the exhibition.

Bob Tieger was the juror and selected the awards. He is from Aberdeen SD, a former art instructor at Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon. The exhibition opened April 7 and continues through the month of April.

Arand-McIlrath is exhibiting "Doilied",discharged screen printed fabic with crocheted yarn as well as two other mixed media pieces.  

Bill Lieb is exhibiting two sculptures. Space Maneuvers #4 was selected for the Honorable Mention award. The piece was cut from a single piece of steel, ground and polished, bent, patinated black, painted in spots with acrylic paint, and then waxed.

Hank Hall is represented with "Black on Black Teapot Triptych", which was selected for a Merit Award.

David Strom's "Winds and Bins", black acrylic paint, white craypas , corrugated paper and hi tec silver floral spray on a heavy 300 lb arches paper., was also selected for a Merit Award. 

(Examples illustrated above are examples of each artist's work - not necessarily what is currently on exhibit in this show)

Nobles County Art Center is located at 407 12th Street, Worthington, MN.b Contact the art center for more information at 507-372-8245 or by email at .  The gallery is open weekdays 2:00-4:30.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Meet 2013 Artisans Road Trip Artist Roberta Williams

 "Evening Road"
© Roberta Williams

Roberta Williams moved to Spirit Lake from Iowa City in July 2012. After her sons left for college, she and her husband, Greg, felt this area seemed like a great place to settle as “empty-nesters.”

From Roberta’s education in art at the University of Iowa, to a painting/muraling class in Italy, to owning a decorative painting business, her extensive experience and skill level lend itself to a wide range of subject matter and painting styles, including “old-world“ religious paintings, realistic Iowa landscapes in pastel, and playful watercolor batiks.

"A Mother's Love"
© Roberta Williams

As a decorative painter, Roberta worked through interior designers and architects, adorning the walls of many private homes and commercial businesses in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and Des Moines. She worked with the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art and the University of Iowa Museum of Art on several exhibits, including Grant Wood’s Studio in Cedar Rapids. During a large renovation project in Schaeffer Hall on the University of Iowa campus, she painted columns in a marble finish to match what had been done over 100 years ago by Italian craftsmen.

"French Flower market"
© Roberta Williams

Her work has been seen in several publications including Better Homes and Gardens Home Ideas (Jul/Aug 2001) and Better Homes and Gardens Walls and Windows Ideas (spring 1999). In 2000, she was accepted by jury to the Iowa Arts Council Roster as an approved artist for public work. Most recently, her Iowa landscape painting in pastel “Northwest Iowa Beans” won Best in Show at the October 2012 Pearson Lakes Art Center Wanda J. Skogerboe Juried Exhibition.

Stop by again to learn more about the artists of the 2013 Artisans Road Trip!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Meet 2013 Artisans Road Trip Artist Karen Ruddy

Artist Karen Ruddy
 100 foot Mosaic Wall teaching project (5th Grade)
I graduated from Doane College, Crete NB with a Fine Arts Degree in Art and Education in 1973 and due to my husband being relocated, I had to take advantage of what was available to me at the time and place - and that led to a Masters and Ph.D. in Library Science. Thus I secured positions as Library Director for library Consortiums, College Libraries, and taught Library Science online for my Alma Mater, Texas Woman’s University in Denton, TX.  For thirty six years I toiled in these positions and only occasional Christmas Cards allowed me to do what I loved best, create art. 

Bead Paintings - the artist like to combine media
© Karen Ruddy
In 2004, my husband, Victor, and I retired back home to Emmetsburg, Iowa and I relished producing Art in all it’s forms since that time. 
Mural - "Eleven Birds and a Butterfly (6X8')
 © Karen Ruddy
I try to decide what I love doing best, and I love doing ALL of it. Drawing, sculpting, pottery, ceramics, jewelry-making, printing, mosaics, murals, painting, teaching art, statuary reconstruction, all are my passion. 
Stop by again to visit more about the artists of the 2013 Artisans Road Trip!

Monday, April 1, 2013

2013 Artisans Road Trip Artist Judy Thompson

"Tallgrass Trek"
Watercolor Painting © Judy Thompson
Open prairies, wide skies and rugged vistas await local artist Judy Thompson.  Selected as an Artist-in-Residence with the National Park Service, Thompson will be setting up her studio on site at Badlands National Park, South Dakota, for four weeks this April. 

The Artist-in-Residence Program is a well established part of The National Park Service through the U.S. Department of Interior. Throughout our country’s history, artists have been asked to document and interpret our national parks, monuments and sites. The Artist-in-Residence program at Badlands National Park, was founded in 1966 and is open to all professional artists—writers, composers and all visual and performing artists.  The program’s goal is “to provide an avenue for artists to translate preservation of this place into images that evoke responses in those who may never visit Badlands National Park.” 

Thompson will be living for four weeks within the remote park setting.  Part of her residency will include the presentation of an interpretive art education program to students (K-8) at Interior Elementary School.  Most of her time, however, will be self directed in which Thompson will explore the relationships between man and his landscape in the context of the Western plains – specifically the Badlands ecosystem.  “By immersing myself in this unique, rugged landscape, I would like to create a body of work which captures the beauty and history of these rugged plains,” claims Thompson.

"Wide Open"
Watercolor Painting © Judy Thompson

Selection for the Badland’s Artist-in-Residence Program is based on artistic integrity, ability to reside in a remote rural area, willingness to donate a finished piece of work inspired during the stay, and the artist’s ability to relate to school age children.  A single residency is offered both in the spring and in the fall of each year.

Thompson was previously selected as Artist-in-Residence at the Homestead National Monument in Beatrice, Nebraska.  During her two week stay, she explored the stories of the first homesteaders who claimed land under the Homestead Act of 1862.  Her resulting Homestead Series is currently on tour in Nebraska to celebrate the 150th anniversary of this monumental legislation. 

To learn more and to view her art, visit: