Here are our area artists we are extremely proud to represent.
Susan Hargus attended Minneapolis College of Art and Design as a media major before attending the Atelier. The Atelier is an exclusive school, twelve students are chosen to attend the four year program. The school is modeled after the nineteenth century ateliers (french for studio), which trained many great artists. This particular school’s educational lineage includes Jaques-Louis David, Paul Delaroche, Jean-Leon Gerome. American artists in the late nineteenth century European art academies brought this type of art education back to the U.S. to pass on to their own students.
Hargus relies heavily on her traditional training when she paints her portraits, landscapes, or stillife. Her represented figures are sparse. This simplicity evokes a state of solitude. It allows one to focus on the subject more closely, more intimately, She aspires to capture the true essence of the subject, and believes this is sometimes reveled in the most fleeting of expressions, but can result in the revelation of a soul’s dimensions on the facial plane.
Her intent is to elicit a meditative, peaceful state, one that brings the viewer to a place of stillness and personal reflection. One that creates a connection to the subject’s humanity and the common thread that binds all.
Amy Bishop is a mixed media collage artist. She started her creative journey over 15 years ago with a used Olympus OM-2S that made its way north from a pawn shop in Austin, Texas. Mastering only the theory of the F-Stop she took to photographing the beauty of Cedar County. In 2011 she got her feet wet in the professional art world by participating in The Lincoln Highway Art Festival. She displays her photographs against a background of surreal and abstract landscapes created with handmade papers.
”Everything and everyone around us has a story to tell. I use a camera to help me “hear” these stories. Through photography I can share what I hear through the filter of my own perspective. Often in the re-telling of these stories, some of my own story is revealed.
The hand-made papers used in my pieces start out as photographs. They are transformed to create one-of-a-kind abstracts that are surreal and subtle. I think of them as dreamscapes.
In my art I layer and weave together all these stories and their dreams. I have no preconceived outcome in mind – I defer to the wisdom of the pictures and their stories to do that. I am simply a conscientious storyteller.”
An oil painter for nearly 40 years, Nancy Lindsay is best known for her warm, buttery landscapes. She loves to paint on location and packs her easel whenever she travels.
In 2003 she was one of 10 international artists invited to participate in an artist residency in the Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria. As a result of this trip, which took her from Paris to Istanbul, she has 35 paintings chronologically representing each day of her trip. Returning to Bulgaria in 2007, she spent several weeks painting in the scenic fishing village of Sozopol located on the Black Sea.
“Printmaking gives me a change during the winter months. My etchings are made on a small intaglio press from solar plates exposed over a photo transparency. The plate is etched from the UV light and inked, wiped in traditional print-making process.”
Nancy Lindsay’s work can be found in many corporate and private collections as well as the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. She received her art instruction at Colorado State University and Art Student’s League in NY.
Her studio is located in her home near Stone City, Iowa.
Donna Jelmeland, is a watercolor artist from rural Anamosa, IA. In her senior years, she rediscovered her love for art and particularly, painting. She is a self-taught watercolor artist, continually learning and discovering new methods and techniques. She most enjoys painting portraits of people, pets, homes, businesses and special moments. She would love to have you commission her to paint what is most special to you.
My name is Alex Carls, and I have been teaching visual arts at Springville CSD since 2013. I received my BA in Art Education and Art from Wartburg College in 2012. My inspiration comes from working with my wonderfully creative students, who challenge me to view artwork in new and interesting ways with continuous collaboration and discussion.
My work lately has been focused in abstract paintings. I’m into experimenting with various textures of unconventional found materials and combinations of glitter, metallic and matt acrylics, along with dripping techniques to generate interpretive visual responses.
My goal is to create, experiment, and innovate.
Points of Departure in the Landscape
I see my work as a meditation, drawing on memories, questions, and attempts to settle my ever-shifting perceptions. My goal is to be in the studio experience and go beyond the merely scenic aspect of landscape, toward a larger goal of nuanced visual metaphor.
My process is deeply intuitive, implicitly meaningful, and somewhat difficult to explain. I spend a fair amount of time just walking in the landscape, sometimes with my dog, and often with a camera. Taking lots of pictures, especially when the weather or the sight is unsuitable for working outside. I use the camera as a note-taking device to engage my visual memory. Later I’ll sit down with pastels, or paint and brushes to work the page, building the image through a gathering of marks, lines, tones, and colors. I spend a lot of time layering the image, gradually building a rather ambiguous two-dimensional structure, reimagining, and often simply staring at the image without any recognizable result. Through the layering of multiple efforts an image forms. It can appear naturalistic, recognizable, and even pleasant, but often carrying another aspect, which is darker and less certain.
Through drawing and painting within the open-ended themes of landscape I cultivate awareness of my own inner wildness, as it echoes the wider world. The fragile and fleeting, as well as enduring qualities I find in nature are likewise within me. Not separate but interconnected, like past and present, figure and ground.
Drawing allows for multi-layered interpretations of the visual, and much re-visioning. The process engages all my senses and I feel more often than not, that I was made for this practice. When I’m working I linger with an awareness of nature as a living presence, embodying source, refuge, and great unknown. The larger theme of landscape provides many points of departure and return.
Connie Birely (Open Sky Pottery)
Connie Birely is the potter behind open sky pottery. As a lover of birds and plants, she focuses on creating bird feeders, bird houses and planters but also makes a variety of other functional pottery. Connie’s love of pottery started in high school and continued as a creative outlet from her day job. She now creates pottery full time from her home studio.
Connie’s process for creating starts by using a potter’s wheel. Then each piece is fired once to a bisque stage. At the bisque stage, she hand paints nature-inspired designs using liquid latex. This acts as a resist to allow the beauty of the natural clay to be retained during glazing. After glazing, the latex is removed and each piece is fired in an electric kiln for a final time. After this last firing, bird feeders are assembled using stainless steel parts for resilience to weathering. All pottery is created with food safe glazes and are dishwasher and microwave safe.
Connie currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa with her husband, two kids and two dogs.
Denise Murphy started Alcohol Inks Painting a few years ago at the prompting of a fellow artist. She enjoys the vibrancy of the medium and allowing the medium to flow freely. She is always experimenting with new techniques with this medium and stretching the viewer’s imagination. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Computer Graphics.
Denise is actively engaged with the Mount Vernon Area Arts Council and has served as their VP and Director of Strategic Planning for many years. Along with being focused on children’s art education, she has been the chair of the Lincoln Highway Arts Festival (LHAF) for the last few years and is chairing the next one on Sept 15th, 2018.
Denise’s Alcohol Ink paintings have been displayed most recently at the NewBo Evolve Art Festival, Lincoln Highway Arts Festival, Mount Vernon Creates Gallery, Univ of IA Pappajohn Biological Discovery Building, and The Art Cellar. One of Denise’s most recent projects was to create an Alcohol Ink Painting everyday of 2016, titled the “365 Series”.
She and her husband sponsor the ‘Portrayal of Mount Vernon’ a plein air painting/art event and in March 2017 were highlighted in the ‘Greetings from Iowa segment”, produced by IPTV. The next event is scheduled for Oct 6th, 2018 (mountvernoncreates.com)