Thursday, March 31, 2016

2016 A.R.T. Artists Cherie Courter and Ron Netten!

Acrylic Paintings © Cherie Courter

Paintings by Cherie Courter are on exhibit at the Clear Lake Arts Center from April 3 through May 14.  Featured works depict a variety of landscape compositions inspired by different landforms observed across the state of Iowa.  Cherie’s works are done in acrylic paint on canvas and emphasize such elements as color, texture, pattern, and light.  They range in size from 11”x14” to 24”x30”; are framed in oak; with most pieces available for sale.

 Stoneware © Ron Netten

Ron Netten and Cherie have also recently installed an  exhibition in the windows of what is known to Storm Lake residents as the “Old Montgomery Ward Building” in downtown Storm Lake.  This building did, in fact, once house a Montgomery Ward Store, but is now used for storage.  When asked by the owner about the possibility of displaying their work in the front window areas the two artists jumped at the opportunity to make their art more visible in the community.  The exhibit consists of ceramic pieces by Ron and paintings by Cherie and is located east of Vista Theatre on Lake Avenue.  Pieces are available for sale by contacting artists directly and contact information is provided at the site.  The works in the space will rotate due to the demands of other exhibitions and art fairs, but Ron and Cherie will keep pieces on display as consistently as possible.

The artists have received many favorable comments about how the exhibit “dresses up main street”.  Be sure to stop by for a look if you are in the area!

Monday, March 21, 2016

2016 A.R.T. Artist Judy Thompson's Badlands Watercolor Workshop!

Artwork - © - Judy Thompson

Throughout the year many artists participating in the Artisans Road Trip, offer classes or workshops in their areas of expertise.  We're going to try and advertise these opportunities for the public and other artists as best we can this season, and one we just recently learned of looks like a great deal of fun - out in the Badlands of South Dakota with Judy Thompson!

Judy was invited to Badlands National Park in 2013 as an artist in residence to paint the landscape and she has returned every year since.  She is inviting everyone to share this beautiful Dakota country with her and practice and learn watercolor techniques at her watercolor workshop based at the Circle View Guest Ranch, just outside Interior, SD and minutes away from Badlands National Park!

The Badlands Workshop isn't until May (May 13-16, 2016) but the registration deadline is April 20th - and if you register before March 31st you'll get a $50 discount!

For more information on Judy Thompson's Badlands Workshop - contact Judy at 

or visit her web site at

Get in on great instruction and a great time!

Be sure and check back again for more from the 2016 Artisans Road Trip!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Artist As Judge and Jury!

"220th and 12th AVE - High Amana"
watercolor painting - © Anita (Katie) Baedke-Plucker

Often times we wonder about a process or method of approach used by artists in their craft - well how about turning that around "as an artist" to judge or jury the work of other artists?  It can be a daunting task!

Here 2016 Artisans Road Trip artist Anita Plucker explains her philosophy of that very difficult job!

"I have been asked to judge a couple of upcoming art shows/exhibits.  I look forward to any opportunity to get together with other artists and to discuss ART.  However, when asked to 'judge' work, I do balk just a bit before my reply, my reason being, I have been on the other side many, many, many times, myself, listening to a judge's decision.  I remember myself disagreeing with the judge.  I remember not knowing 'what the heck they were talking about!!, where art they coming from!!!!'  I have evolved, grown in my art and understanding of art.  The more I paint, I learn.  The more I gather with other artists, I learn.  The more I read, I learn.  
I do take 'judging' artwork very seriously.  First and foremost, creating art is a personal endeavor.  As the viewer of your art, I, in no way, can know, understand or have the same emotions about the work you have. Only the creator can have that intimate relationship with the piece. However, when the artist enters a competition, you open yourself up to the subjectivity of the juror, judge and audience.  What one judge loves, another may hate.  I recently entered a national watercolor exhibition and was rejected, entered the same piece in another show, was accepted and placed with an award.
My process:  First, I take time to look at the work. I describe it in my head in detail using facts, not opinions. In this step I play "detective", gathering visual evidence or clues. I use these clues to interpret the artwork. I avoid using words as pretty, gross, weird, sloppy and so on.  What is this piece about? What is the artist trying to say?  Is there a center of interest/focal point?  Has the artist been successful in convincing me of the subject matter? And what I mean by this is 'Does the water look wet? Do the clouds look fluffy, soft?'  
I have become automatic in reviewing work regarding the 'elements of art' and the 'principles of design'- lines, shapes, color, value, textures, space..........has the artist been successful in arranging these elements (design)?  Does the design guide the viewer through the art?  How well has the artist used the medium............the tools.........the materials?
Mastering the use of oils or watercolors or pastels cannot make up for bad perspective or incorrect proportions. Good art should appeal to you and be skillfully made.  The best art has meaning beyond just an image; it creates a feeling, an emotion, perhaps it puts a smile on your face or brings you to tears or reminds you of some place or time. It stands out in a crowd and dares to be different."
Thank you for your insight Katie!  And thank you out there for visiting the 2016 A.R.T. Blog.  Be sure and check back for what's going on with the artists of the 2016 Artisans Road Trip!