By Susan Eaton Mendenhall
Our Spring Art Tour artists are busy getting ready for you. Their studios are a happening place where magic and creativity are center stage. Thought you might like an inside look at how these artists make the amazing creations you see as finished items ready for purchase.
Artists have patterns of how they nudge their work into being. Nana Schowalter works with metal. Her studio needs to have order – things in their place. At the end of each day, she cleans and organizes so it is ready for the next day’s work. Same is true for charcoal artist, Emily Reuter, who says preparing a clean workspace is therapeutic. Ceramist, Mikel Kelley, finds a clean and orderly studio provides the perfect environment for his work to happen. Sarah Aslakson’s colorful painting discipline starts with light colors moving into dark colors; beginning at the front of the painting working towards the back. Wood artist, Bob Bergman listens to audible books while his bowls are turned, sanded, and oiled. Wonder what tales are being told in his beautiful works of art? For jeweler, Julie Raash, a cup of tea is essential to the opening of her studio. Jeweler, Kerri Shannon centers hers focus by looking at her collections of gemstones and metals, then opens her sketchbook, scribbles ideas as she arranges and rearrange them into pleasing designs. This is very similar to jeweler, Patty Klarer, who lays out her materials to see and hear what is calling her. Could it be color? Could it be shape? Is that the voice of the muse, you ask? Assemblage artist, Sue Schuetz honors the muse and when ‘she’ calls Sue responds. Painter, Susan Mendenhall, intentionally invites play into her studio. Don’t get too serious. Let that playful muse out of the box! Letterpress printer, Christy Nesja, knows that her best work is done in the morning. Photographer, Vicki France keeps an eye on the weather and chases the outdoor drama with her camera. We all might want to join painter, Luci Shirek in her studio. Red Twizzlers are on hand to nudge that creative spirit into action.
Our artists also have reasons why they chose their art form. Photographer, Jessica Curning Kuenzi’s was inspired by her grandparents’ National Geographic Magazines. The photographs captivated her imagination. A gift of a $10 camera at age 8 began her journey that we now see through her lens of expression. Wood artist, Chad Grob, says he was meant to work with wood as he grew up on Wood Road. When his parents bought acres of woodland, he helped his dad harvest firewood. As a teenager he watched his uncle turn wood on the lathe. It was meant to be!
Artists have hopes and dreams for the pieces they create. Painter, Rick Ross, hopes that his paintings invite the opportunity for a person to get lost in the wonder and away from the present moment. Pamela Ruschman’s paintings are to share her love of Wisconsin, the land and livestock in this beautiful state of ours. Peggy Flora Zalucha’s hope is that each painting helps the buyer to find the positive in all things. The jewelry of Ivy Klarer is not only beautiful to wear but she wants it to raise the wearer’s vibration and energy as a reminder of beauty and love. “I hope to stimulate an unleashing of childlike curiosity, bringing wonder and joy to the Beholder,” says watercolorist, Katherine Ford. Upcycling artist, David Timberlake, has his fingers crossed that his creations of discarded materials show how they are still useful, even whimsical. The acrylic paintings of Karen Watson-Newlin invite the buyer to stop, look and observe beauty in nature. In a similar vein, Peg Ginsberg’s watercolors open us to the possibilities of what the world, particularly nature, have to offer.
Each artist creates with intention, passion, skill, and joy. Hours pass in the studio. Some days the work is finished. Other days it is begun. Many a day finds a frustrated artist just plodding along – doing the work, going with the flow, being honorable to the muse who calls. With each piece the buyer receives a part of the artist’s spirit, story, and journey. That’s the beauty of it all.
By Susan Eaton Mendenhall
Deck the Halls!
by Susan Mendenhall5>
Deck the Halls wherever they may be. Lots of Dazzle, Sparkle, and Merriment on December 4-5 at the Mount Horeb Arts Association, Holidaze, happening in multiple locations. Fourteen artists and their work will be available to add joy to the holiday season. Purchase a piece of art for yourself or to brighten another’s holiday.
Let’s meet our Holidaze Artists who will be located at the Old Schoolhouse on 2nd Street, Mount Horeb.As we enter, we are treated to the music of musician, Greg Standal, who specializes in funk, blues, R&B and soul. You might know him as a bassist and vocalist for Alpha Romeos and Mikes Mud Music. Whatever he plays will delight customers and add festivity at this location. Here we will find photographer and jeweler, Jessica Curning-Kuenzi. Jessica’s nature photography helps us see our local landscapes and what is in them. She mostly focuses her lens on Dane County. When not behind her camera she is creating chainmaille stainless steel jewelry, stainless steel rings woven together with additions of stones or crystals.
Jewelers, Patty Klarer and Ivy Klarer’s, work with be available at the Old Schoolhouse. Their silver and gold custom designed jewelry includes semi and precious gemstones, opening our eyes to see the natural materials of our world as wearable art. Perhaps you have a special request to transform an old piece of jewelry, one of their specialties. Brenda Kraemer’s textiles are close to home. Wool from her barnyard friends is woven on an antique loom making one-of-a-kind scarves, rugs, wall hangings, and socks. Painter, Pamela Grabber’s, framed oil paintings, watercolors, Giclee reproductions and boxed notecards are ready to brighten a wall or delight a friend in the mail. Luci Shirek’s paintings in multiple mediums and notecards are inspired by the holiday and our winter wonderland.
One of the joys of buying art from an artist is to see the studio where the magic happens. Several Holidaze Artists can be found in the place where they create. Please note the map for these locations. Judy Robb’s paintings and 3D media works of art are inspired by nature, history, and mysticism. Photographer, Vicki France, treats us with views of the driftless region on the backroads of SW Wisconsin. The paintings of Peg Ginsberg invite us into the magical world of watercolors. Heidi Clayton’s pottery wheel spins out beautiful pieces where she adds attention to detail, form, and function. John Pahlas’ salvaged steel creations call an awareness to our partnership with the planet and ourselves as a human species. We will have the opportunity to purchase artwork from Christy Nesja’s hand type letterpress that creates beautiful linocut images full of color, each inspiring us to be kinder and joy-filled. Mikel Kelley’s use of clay is sculptural. Glass, metal, and wood are also incorporated in many of his mixed media pieces, often involving discarded construction materials.
Join us this holiday season where the magic of the artist’s eye and heart are found in the artwork of these fourteen gifted artists.
About the Artists
by Susan Mendenhall5>
Home is Where the ART Is, the theme of the upcoming exhibit of the Mount Horeb Area Arts Association and the Driftless Historium, October 8 – November 15. This exhibition invites both artists and patrons of the arts to cozy up with a piece of art that takes you to a warm, welcoming, inspiring place. Fifteen artists share a work that speaks to this theme in their specific medium of painting, photography, sculpture, mixed media, pottery, and jewelry. Each artist’s passion and intention in creating art is both seen and heard. What inspires them? Where does their inspiration take them?
Let’s meet the artists, see their work, and hear how they speak of where a sense of home is found in their art.
Pamela Ruschman, oil painter, claims “home has always been the driftless region for my artistic soul. After living and working in the Milwaukee area for more than 30 years, our family decided to leave the city lights and rediscover the solitude of country living. I’m so delighted to be close to my artistic muse of the livestock and landscape of this beautiful part of southwestern Wisconsin. It’s good to be back HOME.”
Richard Fayram’s watercolor is of a National Register Historical Site that has always been a family home in addition to other businesses that were present, including a hostelry and brewery. “As I completed the watercolor, I realized that it also had a powerful connection to our family. My great grandfather Considine (my grandmother’s family) was a riverboat captain on the Mississippi River of the same era. It was likely that he stopped here on his trips up and down the river as a part of each trip he made.”
Julie Raasch, photographer and jeweler, is influenced by where she lives. “My restored prairie is where I walk, meditate, and make photos. It influences my creativity in many ways. Home is the heart of my creativity. It is where I live, become inspired, and create.”
Oil painter, Pamela Grabber, speaks to the “validity of our emotional connections with the places where we dwell. “Turn to the Sun” was painted from life in my home studio with sunflowers from our garden. As a gardener, I’m invested in my plants as I tend their needs and await the blooms and fruits Capturing the glory of these vibrant giant sunflowers in oil feels so rewarding – their beauty and my efforts to cultivate them lives on in paint long after the flowers wilt.”
Judy Robb, oil painter, is ‘drawn to the mystique of nature and the curiosities of creatures and their surroundings which is their homeland. History and lore, fact and tradition inspire me and how I translate feelings and ideas in art.”
Chuck Bauer’s oil paintings capture the essence of an emotion and location. “Home is a relative feeling, not only a place. For example, even a park shelter can feel like home, at least for awhile, especially if you’re caught in a thunderstorm as I was while painting one afternoon.”
Susan JAZZ Mendenhall’s watercolors frequently showcase houses. “From the lines of the rooftops to the foundational structure, the design of a house fascinates me. Creating a home is much like creating art. The process is intentional, personal, and forever evolving. Just as each house tells a story of the people who live there, the same is true of a piece of art – both revealing a bit of the artist’s soul.”
Ceramic artist, Heidi Clayton feels called to create for the heart of the home, the kitchen. “When I think home, I think home cooked meals and breaking bread with those I love. I am honored to be included in these rituals through my work, in the hands of those who share important moments with their loved ones.”
John Pahlas who sculps in salvaged steel shares, “My home IS art. Without artistic expression I am literally, spiritually and figuratively homeless! My art has flourished here in the Mount Horeb area, and because this place has taken me in with such outstretched and loving arms, I can keep evolving as an artist, father, & concerned member of this growing community. I feel I’ve found my true self amid the prairies and Savannah’s of old oaks & I am beyond thrilled to see what the future holds here.”
Vicki France uses her camera to capture photographs that remind her of home. “These are the roads that take me home, these are the hills and valleys I grew up with.”
Luci Shirek’s watercolors bring light and color to the paper.
“Home means a sense of peace, a sense of belonging, a place to feel warm and secure.”
Katherine Ford’s watercolors are full of flowers. “Flowers are a gardeners reward for their persistence. It is the anticipation of their beauty that gets me up in the morning and going out to see the changes. Taking close up photographs of flowers allow me more time to interpret their beauty into watercolor paintings and admire the complexity of their design.”
Sue Schuetz, assemblage artist, selected a variety of objects to “represent how women were kept together and held down, often being denied the opportunity to work outside of the home. Their work was, for the most part, contained to home chores.”
Karen Watson-Newlin, acrylic artist, finds “I am most at home with nature and being outdoors walking, hiking, and gardening. This painting is a different look at one area I find for inspiration.”
For photographer, Jessica Curning-Kuenzi, “When I look for a good photograph, I try to find a subject or scene that conveys the peace and serenity of the nature all around us. I capture a moment in time, in hopes that it will provide the future viewer a chance to see the same beauty and feel the same peace I felt while I was there making a photograph. When a piece of my art is in someone’s home, I hope that it can provide them with happiness every time they look at it.”
Painter Jane Varda returns for the 2021 Spring Art Tour, June 4-6
Welcome Jane Varda back to the Spring Art Tour in 2021: Her 14th year!
That’s right, Varda has been with the Tour since it’s inception, in 2006. She writes: In addition to painting landscape outside, I work in my Town of Berry studio from photo-references and sketches, primarily in either oils or pastels. I also like painting still-life, choosing ordinary objects that relate to my daily world, but which transcend convention to become idiosyncratic in paint.
Jane Varda’s studio will be open for the Spring Art Tour!
She writes:I will set up a still-life, and be painting in oils and/or pastels throughout the 3-day tour. Find out more information about the artist, her work, and more at her Spring Art Tour Artist page!
Painter, Karen Watson-Newlin returns for the 2021 Spring Art Tour
Welcome back Karen Watson-Newlin to her 5th Spring Art Tour!
She writes: After a year of Covid-19 and all 2020 shows cancelled, I am excited to share new works with the public and see reactions to the ideas I have spent months developing
For the Tour, June 4-6, Watson-Newlin will be showing at Rimrock Farm Barn (3975 Moe Rd, Mount Horeb, WI 53572) with Jessica Curning-Kuenzi, Christine Echtner, Aileen Musa, and Sue Schuetz. That’s right, ONE stop, FIVE artists!
Karen Watson-Newlin’s Summer Blessings from her Prairie series, acrylic
Full-time Painter for past 10 years
Since retiring from teaching art in 2011, painting is my fulltime occupation. Currently, represented by Woodland Gallery in Stoughton, WI and Décor in Madison, WI, I have work in corporate and private collections in the United States and abroad, including American Girl, Asperius Hospital, Epic Systems Corporation, Northwestern Mutual Insurance, Sauk Prairie Healthcare Clinic and others.
See a preview of Karen Watson-Newlin’s work,…
…get information about the artist, her work, and more at her Spring Art Tour Artist page!