Sunday, April 22, 2018

Iowa Artists Regional Show - Region 3

Iowa Artists Regional Show - Region 3

Over the weekend, the Clayton County Artists hosted the Iowa Artists Regional (Region 3) Show in Elkader, IA. The event was held Saturday from 9 AM to 3 PM at the Keystone Area Education facility and judged by Alan Garfield. 

Alan Garfield
Chair and Professor of Digital Art and Design at Dubuque University; Director, Bisignano Art Gallery

MA, State University of New York-Binghamton
BA, University of Iowa

Regional Show Layout

Each year there is a brief business meeting, followed by the judge's presentation, a lunch break where the artwork is judged in private, and then a presentation of ribbons and critiques. 

As artists brought in and set up their artwork, we enjoyed delicious refreshments and our judge, Alan, prepared for his presentation on "What makes a masterpiece." It was truly invigorating to listen to Alan's interpretation of several historical "masterpieces." He discussed classics like The Last Supper, Mona Lisa, David, One, and American Gothic, to name a few. What was especially interesting was how he dove into the details of the paintings/sculptures and exposed theories and questions that many would never think of.  At the end of the presentation we learned that the classic attributes that most people think are necessary to create a masterpiece are actually irrelevant. According to Alan, the only thing it really takes is to make a piece of art a "masterpiece" is for it to be important... for it to be "followed." 

What an engaging presentation! Alan -- you really made me want to sign up for an art history class, like pronto (that means "now" in Spanish... lo siento que yo no hablo Italiano 😄)!

After lunch we were all let back into the main room to see the winners and hear critiques. Every juror/judge is different and you never really know what to expect. I was hoping for at least a complimentary word along with constructive criticism. To my surprise, two of my three entries were awarded ribbons! "Resolve" won a third place ribbon and "Outdoor Adventure" won a blue!! You can believe I was elated! 

 Presentation of Awards

One ribbon is given by the judge for every 10 entries for first, second, third, and honorable mention. During the show, everyone is invited to vote for one overall people's choice winner, too. The first-place pieces go on to be judged at the Iowa Artist State show in Des Moines. This year the State Show will be held May 12th and I'm excited to have a piece that made it to state this year! 

What a superb art show! I'm already looking forward to next year's regional show which will be held in Decorah! Congratulations to all of the winners and a HUGE thank you to all of the artists for bringing such fantastic artwork, for continuing to make and create, and for sharing your talents with the rest of us!

It was so humbling to exhibit alongside so many gorgeous works of art this weekend and I'm honored to be one of the representatives of the Clayton County Artists at the Iowa Artists State Show next month! 

Thanks to Ann McCullough and Judith Crandall for coordinating /chairing the 2018 regional show and to all of the Clayton County folks and other Region 3 artists who helped make this year's event awesome! A sincere thanks to Alan Garfield for taking the time to share his wisdom and honest critiques. 



Left to right: Jillian Webb Herrmann, Jim Updegraff, Susan E. Kuennen Massman, Judith Crandall, Rabecca Hennessey, MaryAnn Gloe


Left to right: Jim Updegraff, Becky Schoenfeld, Dolores Buchheit (not pictured), Helen Rowell, MaryAnn Gloe


Left to right: Carol A Hartmann, Helen Rowell, Marcia Kruse, Ketaki Poyekar,
Jillian Webb Herrmann, Marlene Michel


Left to right: Ken Balk, Dolores Buchheit (not pictured), Mary Ann Gloe, Ketaki Poyekar


Ken Balk won the 2018 People's Choice Ribbon, Congrats Ken!

 Can we all say:

#inspiration #motivation #KEEPcreating


Alan critiqued my abstract work by saying that I need to be painting five feet by five feet! I'm thinking I may need to write a grant for a covered trailer so I can create and then transport huge paintings. Thoughts!? :)

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Easter weekend with the little one - 2018

Easter weekend with the little one - 2018

Last Saturday, Emmajean had her BFF over to play while the dads and Grandpa went to pick up our "new" used playground. It was fairly yucky out so we decided to skip the town Easter egg hunt-- sad, I know! I had really been looking forward to taking Emmajean to her first Easter egg hunt, but we decided to dye our own eggs at home instead. 

Gima Dawn and I helped the girls dye eggs for the first time, and they turned out beautiful! It had been a while since I've dyed eggs, so this might help you, too!

For future reference, all it took to dye our eggs (per color): 
  • 1/2 cup warm water 
  • mug and spoon for each color
  • splash of vinegar
  • few drops of food coloring
  • several cold hard-boiled eggs 

I boiled and cooled the eggs while the girls napped. When they woke up (hence the crazy hair), Dawn and I prepped the mugs with water, vinegar, and food coloring to dye the eggs. The girls LOVED it!

The girls loaded up the mugs with eggs, which actually created a really cool multi-color dyed effect! 

I was impressed at how well the little ones did, and how they were able to handle most of the process themselves. They only needed a little bit of help from us. 

Didn't they turn out beautiful?

After they were done with dyeing their eggs, we cozied up for a movie and waited for the eggs to dry. They deserved a little break after all of that hard work. ;) Shortly after, the guys arrived back at the farm with a load of "new to us" toddler gear and a giant playground.  These two are sure to have a blast as soon as the weather warms up! Images of that coming soon! In the meantime, I'll skip ahead to Easter morning. 

This Easter Sunday, we managed to wake up in time for the sunrise service at Norway Lutheran Church. It was a beautiful service led by the youth. They did a great job! After the service, the youth served a breakfast to a packed church. We didn't get to stay for breakfast, but it smelled delicious! 

Instead, we headed home to clean up Emmajean's new play area (previously known as our dining room). I wanted to tidy up the house before Grandpa and Gima came over for Easter lunch. I never imagined our house would look like a daycare after having a kiddo... never say never! 

It's totally worth it. We'll get back to dinner parties and fancy things when the kiddo is bigger. For now, I'll cherish these moments racing around to clean up toys, crumbs, and markers, while the Easter Bunny stuffs the basket full of surprises. The Easter Bunny left E a chocolate bunny, Peppa Pig stamps, Peppa Pig bubbles, and a giant lollipop!

Note: The Easter Bunny has been known to leave a book or toy E already owns. For example, her favorite stuffed bunny hopped in to help fill out her basket this year. She'll never know the difference... LOL! 

I loved starting the day with the Easter sunrise service, then having time to clean up and prepare for grandparents while E napped. When she woke up from her nap, she didn't even notice that the bunny had been to visit her until after she ran to Gima and Grandpa for an excited hello hug! 

It warms my heart to see this little one run to her grandparents and to have them now living close by! After saying hello to them, we told her to take a peek at what the bunny left her....

She had a blast on her second Easter and we couldn't be more grateful to share these experiences with her and our family.

We hope you all had a wonderful holiday celebrating with your own family traditions!
He is Risen! - Something we are grateful for not only on Easter Sunday, but everyday. 


Wednesday, April 4, 2018


It's been quite the SPRING in Saint Olaf! :) 

It looks just like this today, even though I took these photos a week or two ago. It seems as though spring and winter can't make up their minds. Fortunately, this snow was finally warm enough to play in! Let me explain for my friends back in NC: it may snow multiple times throughout an Iowa winter, but when temps are in the negative degrees, we stay inside. BRRRRR, as E would say! For those of you who saw E pulling her sled around the yard with her garden decor fox a few days ago, you can bet she was excited for this snowy spring adventure. She got to ride in the sled while we pulled her around the yard. She had fun playing on her sliding board, and Dad even taught her how to make snowballs....

She didn't quite master catching the snowballs. It was a fun spring day in the snow!

Not only is it spring and already APRIL, but it's this guy's birth month! So you know, it's going to be a fun month. I'm just hopeful for some sunny warm days in the upcoming forecast! 


Monday, March 26, 2018

Hi, Just Checking In!

Just Checking In!

Hi friends! :)

I've been swamped lately... which is a GREAT thing, but it's kept me from writing. So, I thought it's probably time to check in with y'all! Hope you are doing wonderful and enjoying the warm-ish days mixed in with the colder ones. Last week was the first day of Spring, even though it didn't quite feel like it here in Saint Olaf. I know the sunny days and warm breezes are right around the corner, though. I can feel it! 

We were fairly lucky over the winter at our house. We only caught some of the crud that's gone around. For those who know me and my germaphobia, you can guess that I'll be so relieved when we're through the winter germy months and we're all lathering up with sunscreen, heading out to play in the pool, roasting marshmallows by the bonfire, counting lightning bugs, watching the flowers bloom, and complaining about allergy season. LOL!

.... ahhhhh, daydreaming....

Until then, I'll just continue to enjoy bundling up for quick trips outside to the swings and slides at the park, staying cozy in the library, and warming up at the coffee shop. :)

Anyway, enough daydreaming for now. Are you curious what's kept me so busy lately? Let's see... I've been working on my art website/store (, taking care of baby girl, working on projects around the house, chasing after Buddy (and Casey--the grandparents' miniature poodle), helping organize Art in the Park (our 4th annual fine art festival), and a plethora of other odds and ends. I've even managed to make it to the gym a couple of times a week, which hasn't happened since I was in HIGH SCHOOL! EEK! 

In other big news, we finally have an entire set of grandparents living in Iowa! We have been so fortunate to have Gima Dawn with us the past few months, and just over a couple of weeks ago, Grandpa Dave retired and moved to Iowa to join us! He hadn't been in Iowa two hours and we had already put him to "work." Well, Emmajean would call it playing! Let's just say, we can already tell having grandparents in Iowa is AWESOME! (I just wish I could convince my parents to join us, too --wink,wink!!)

Photo cred goes to Gima Dawn for this one! ♥

So it's been busy around here. Life is good, it's filled with love, and I hope yours is, too! 

What have you been up to?

Cheers ♥