Friday, May 18, 2018

2018 Iowa Artists State Show | Des Moines, IA

Iowa Artists State Show | 2018

"Early Morning Light" by Hans Olson

Last weekend, I packed my bags and drove down to Des Moines for my first experience participating in the Iowa Artists State Show. For the unfamiliar, the Iowa Artists group is open to all Iowa artists who want to join and share their art and experiences in the Iowa art world. The group's mission is "to promote and educate artists throughout the state." The group has been going strong since it was established in 1970 and is comprised of artists from across the state and from all different art backgrounds. 

Watercolors, oils, acrylics, pencil, and more lined the room.

When I moved to Iowa nearly five years ago, I wanted to get involved and meet other artists in my area. I was so lucky to find such an awesome group of artists who welcomed me with open arms! Joining the Clayton County Artists is how I found out about the Iowa Artists, the state wide art shows, and so much more! 

On the right is Judith Crandall's vibrant painting "Do I Stay or Leave," which was done with Cattle Markers.

If you're an artist in Iowa, you should definitely check it out and join us! You can find out if there is an artist group near you and more about Iowa Artists over on The Iowa Artists website. 

Clayton County Artist and owner/artist of Bent Willow Studio in Guttenberg, Rabecca Hennessy, showed her oil painting of two cozy boxers "Making Room."
I particularly enjoyed this whimsical watercolor titled "Chickens in the Yard" by artist Deborah Madsen Burrow! Her use of color, the size and shape of the piece, and the whimsical surreal layout pulled me right in and held my attention. Beautiful job, Deborah!
Art from all over Iowa lined the walls for an enchanted show!

How the shows work: 
In order to participate in the Regional Show, you must first sign up to be a member of the Iowa Artists (an annual membership is just $25 and then you do not need to pay any entry fees to participate in the art shows). Artists at Regional Shows are awarded 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and honorable mention ribbons depending on the number of entries. Then all of the artists who win blue ribbons at Regionals advance to the State Show. At both Regionals and States, there is a brief business meeting, refreshments, a presentation by the judge, and the artwork is judged while all of the artists go out on their own for lunch. The show then opens to the public in the afternoon. The artists return from lunch to find out if their artwork has won a ribbon... and man, is that an adrenaline rush! The show is then typically open to the public from 1 to 3 PM and the artwork that has won ribbons is brought to the front for a critique from the judge. 

"Outdoor Adventure" | 24" x 18" | acrylic on canvas
I was super thrilled to earn my first blue ribbon at Regionals with "Outdoor Adventure" and advance to participate in the State Show. You can see images from our Region 3 Show here!
Nash Cox talks with another artist about his watercolor painting, "St. Scene I."

When I arrived at the State Show, I was instantly humbled by the talent surrounding me and I was immediately drawn to several pieces. I even recognized a few artists right away. Of course I knew my fellow Clayton County Artists and I also recognized a few artists who I had shown with at Art in the Park Elkader in recent years, including watercolor artist Nash Cox. Nash was the Art in the Park 2017 Committee Choice Award Recipient and I'll be excited to show alongside him again at Art in the Park 2018! Obviously it was no surprise to me that he would take a blue ribbon at the state show... way to go, Nash! 

The shows have different judges each year, and at this year's State Show we were excited to hear from an artist and instructor with the Des Moines Art Center, Caryn J. Kepford. She presented on composition. Her main focus was on the use of the Golden Rectangle and Dynamic Rectangles in creating an interesting composition that feels good to the eye.These special rectangles have been used throughout art history and architecture. It was a really interesting presentation and I look forward to experimenting with these rectangles and paying attention to the points of interest in my future work. 

When we came back from lunch, everyone was excited to walk around the room and see which pieces won ribbons.

Red - "Busy, Busy, Busy" pencil by Dave Young
 Blue- "Reed's Creek" pastel by Carol Gunn

Yellow- "Come and Dance" watercolor by Mary Johnson,
White- "Katie" pastel by Delayne Segar

I think it's important to say that every judge in any art competition has their own idea and criteria that they choose to judge a show, and even then, I'm certain it wasn't easy as there was so much fantastic artwork! Caryn was also very engaging as she critiqued different aspects of the artwork she chose to award. 

Blue- "Ribbon Road in Autumn" watercolor by Mary Ann Gloe,
Red- "Conception" watercolor by Susan Baer
Blue- "Val d'Orcia" oil by Jim Updegraff,
Red- "Peace Like a River" pastel by Ranae Quandt
Blue- "St. Scene I" watercolor by Nash Cox
Blue- "Monarch Butterfly" basketry by Susan E. Kuennen Massman ---
You can find Susan, Nash, Judith, Rabecca, and me (Jillian) at Art in the Park Elkader 2018!

Of course I had to sneak a few group shots of the winners!

First Place Winners
Left to Right: James Updegraff, Mary Ann Gloe, Nash Cox,
Susan E. Kuennen Massman, Margaret Askelsen, and Carol Gunn
 Second Place Winners (photo courtesy of Lori Lau)
Left to Right: Pat Johnson, Dave Young, Renae Quandt, Robin Hamer,
Susan Baer, Bonnie Erickson

Third Place Winners
Margaret Ertz, Delayne Segar, Ron Deen,
Jessica Kirby, Ann Porter, Marvella Blome

While it must have been very hard to determine all of the awards, there was one piece that jumped out to everyone.... 

BEST IN SHOW & PEOPLE'S CHOICE - "Early Morning Light" by Hans Olson 

Congratulations to Hans Olson! Hans won Best in Show and The People's Choice Award for his oil painting titled "Early Morning Light." The colors radiated and made this painting come alive. 

Congrats to two other top prizes awarded:

The Richard Heggen Award
"Sitten by the Dock" oil by Leslie Fox 

The Doris Frandsen Award
"Rainy Commute" oil by Elizabeth McKern

Again, congrats to all of you who advanced to the State Show and an extra congrats to those of you who won ribbons! It was truly a fun and inspiring day in Des Moines.

Whew! We made it through a fun long day of ART, critiques, and excitement!

Region 2 took home quite a few awards! Way to go!

Judith Crandall, a Clayton County Artist, receives a critique from the judge.

It was really interesting to hear what the judge had to say about all of the winning pieces.Here are a few images from some of the critiques:

Susan's basket won a blue ribbon. The judge thought the shape was very interesting and not typical. She liked the use of the antler and how it mimicked the weave.

Caryn discussed the phenomenal quality and perspective of Dave Young's "Busy Busy Busy" piece. I really couldn't believe it was done in pencil!

The treatment of the foreground and the combination of the reflective surfaces mixed in with nature intrigued her about Nash Cox's highly detailed watercolor painting. 

"Brooke's Tea Party" pastel by Margaret Askelsen earned a blue ribbon. One of the things that was really nice about this piece was how the curved line created by Brooke's hair extended into the curve of her hat... such a subtle sweet artwork.

Marvella Blome's watercolor titled "Beautiful Light" earned a third place ribbon at the 2018 Iowa Artists State Show. I believe it was the contrast in value that Caryn said caught her eye in this piece and the beautiful textures captured.

Ron Deen used metal to create a 3-D artwork titled "Blue Mountain."

Mary Johnson's "Come and Dance" earned an honorable mention and the judge commented that she really liked the way Mary didn't paint all the way to the edge on this and how she created separation and interest by using hard lines in some of the figures while leaving others soft.

Dan Harry earned an honorable mention for his "Eagles 3" done in pencil. Caryn enjoyed his classical technique.  

The judge discusses "Casssidy-Just Beets" an oil painting by Lauretta Kelly.

The judge thought Renae's treatment of the colors in her pastel piece titled "Peace like a River" was done very well. She stated it's hard painting Iowa with so much green and blue, but Renae did a beautiful job.


I hope you've enjoyed these images from a fun and inspiring day in Des Moines at the Iowa Artists State Show! Please feel free to share this blog post on your social media and with family and friends. 

Click HERE to see my complete gallery of images from the 2018 Iowa Artists.

Best wishes for a wonderful Iowa summer art scene! ...AND a huge thank you to Caryn for her attention to detail, her time, sharing her knowledge, and even sharing a few last minute words of encouragement and critique to me at the very end of the show! 

I'd also like to thank the artists and volunteers who helped organize the show. You were so kind with check-in and refreshments, and made sure everything ran so smoothly.

AND.. one more thanks to my friend Kate, for a comfy place to stay and awesome lunch at Trellis while I visited Des Moines! What a fun way to spend my first weekend away from my little cherub. ♥

I hope to see you all again soon!



Art events coming soon to northeast Iowa....
  1.  Art in the Park 2018, Elkader, IA - AUGUST 18 (10am to 5pm) & 19 (10am to 4pm) in Founders' Park. This juried 50-artist fine art festival is in its 4th year and held annually the 3rd weekend in August. The artist selection has been made for 2018, but we hope you'll come check it out and apply for 2019!
  2. Art by the River, Guttenberg, IA - JUNE 9th from 9am-4pm 
  3. The Left Bank Shop and Gallery, McGregor, IA - Special Exhibit opening night is JUNE 1st from 6 to 8pm. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

Happy day to our little one!

Happy Birthday, baby girl!! 
We love you!!!

A simple sweet 2nd birthday celebration with family was perfect!
Now off to play outside with my 2 year old! 


Mother's Day Weekend 2018

My reason for being...

This Mother's Day weekend has been filled with art, travel, friends, family, fun and so many emotions! Between heading to Des Moines for my first night away from my cherub, to having a fancy lunch and a day of shopping adventures with my friend Kate, to participating in my first ever Iowa Artist State Show (more on that coming soon), to heading north to Decorah for the ArtHaus 10-year celebration and watching my artwork be selected, to listening to Zach play guitar with the band Naomi, to an amazing brunch with our family for Mother’s Day followed by an awesome nap, to a spontaneous early birthday celebration with the grandparents, and to finally winding down before bed for our last night with a one-year-old… I almost can’t handle all of the emotions!

The weekend started with my first overnight trip away from my baby girl and ended with ice cream cake and snuggles. Surprisingly, I wasn’t super emotional as I drove away on Friday. I knew our little one was in wonderful hands with her dad and grandparents, and I was so excited for all of the adventures ahead. The trip went great! I made it through the two days without getting emotional away from the little one. I took a nice long hot shower, I shopped til I dropped, I learned new art techniques, I met other artists and visited with old friends. It was awesome. 

It wasn't until today that the emotions began to hit. I'll admit even though my mom warned me, I had a slight pang in my chest when I woke up this morning and E didn’t seem concerned that I had been gone! Then, I went to change her diaper and noticed she must have grown two inches in the 48 hours since I had last seen her...pang #2. Then bedtime rolled around and along came pang #3!  As I sang my precious cherub to sleep, her head nestled into my neck, her arms rested on mine, and her legs hung longer than I remembered. She's growing literally before my eyes. I gently tucked in my one-year-old knowing that I will wake up tomorrow to my bright-eyed, spunky two-year-old and the tears began to flow. 

Life is precious and so short. I know everyone says enjoy every day, because they go by in a blink and babies don't keep. I genuinely treasure each day with my little one and she's always going to be my baby girl. I’m just so grateful for the chance to raise this tiny human and for the support system I have in my husband, family, and friends. Being a mom is by far the hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. It's a privilege and I'm so grateful. 

I’m grateful for all of those who mother, for my own mother and E’s grandmothers, for this chance to be her mom. 

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms out there! I hope you’ll share your stories, the good, the bad, the emotional, and the beautiful! 

I want to say an extra special Happy Mother’s Day to my mom who’s taught me that the meaning of life is to learn to love, to my super amazing mom-in-law who raised an incredible man and who takes such wonderful care of our cherub, to all of my friend moms and mom figures who are guiding little human beings in this world... Happy Mother's Day! 

I’d also like to ask a prayer of peace, joy, and remembrance for all of those who’ve lost their moms; and a prayer of health, hope, and fulfillment for those who are yearning to be moms.

I’m so grateful for the constant surprises both scary and spectacular that mom-hood continues to throw my way… Emmajean, I love you with all that I am!


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!? :)