Gallery Artists

Here are our area artists we are extremely proud to represent.

Susan Hargus

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

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.

Artist Statement:

”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.”

Nancy Lindsay

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

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.

Alex Carls

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.

Susan Coleman

“What we see is but a suggestion a possibility, a makeshift.
True reality is at first invisible.”
 ~Paul Klee, 1917

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.

Eli Ehlinger

Eli’s creativity and artistic talent was handed down from his father Glen. He enjoys painting, drawing, and sculpting. Eli also works as a construction manager for the University of Iowa.


Cris Sell

Cris was born and raised in Cedar Rapids. He spent most of my life as a mechanical engineer. When he retired he decided to try his hand at painting. Cris discovered an emotion he didn’t know he had. Cris enjoys doing landscapes and abstracts with farm and cityscapes. He is self taught with no formal art education. Cris gets his inspiration from just viewing wonderful cloud formations and the interesting patterns in nature. Abandoned farms also intrigue him and he loves their architecture.
Cris’ goal is to create a visual experience that is both interesting as well as unique.

Mark Weiser

Mark is a late comer to the visual arts. While he was involved in the performing arts in plays and musicals, it wasn’t until he met the love of his life that he was enticed to do more that woodworking. “First I fell in love with an Irish gal and then I fell in love with all things Irish.” This includes both recent Irish history, (His wife grew up amid “The Troubles” while Northern Ireland was fighting for independence.) and also early Irish development. “A lot of their songs and ballads refer to their struggles first in Ireland and then here in the US as well as their methods of courtship, travel and day to day life.” On one of their recent returns to Ireland, Mark discovered Ogham, an ancient alphabet used to write the old Irish. While most of the time it was used for inscriptions on stone pillars, Mark has taken to carving slate and natural wood with common words and phrases. “It seems each time I do a carving, I pick up a little more of the colorful Irish history. “He enjoys the primal look and feel of the grey slate but also loves the natural look of “live-edge” wood with it swirls and colorizations. He doesn’t stain but uses only oils to bring out the best aspects of the wood.”My wife is the creative one and a little of that imagination and spark has jumped over into me. I feel that reward when I finish a piece and then again when I am able to tell the history behind what I am doing to a new client.”

Denise Murphy

Denise Murphy started Alcohol Inks Painting about five 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 was 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 was the chair of the Lincoln Highway Arts Festival (LHAF) for four years thru 2018.

Denise’s Alcohol Ink paintings have been displayed most recently at the Muscatine Art Center, DKW Gallery, 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 was also accepted into Cedar Rapids Museum of Art’s “Into the Blue” Exhibit in 2019 and the Newbo Art Festival 2019 (Sept 1). The Into the Blue show was on display thru Sept 15th, 2019.

She also received 1st place in Art Array-20 at Muscatine Art Center.

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 will be Spring 2021.

Don Dixson

In 2007, my long forgotten childhood interest in art was rekindled when I started making quilts for our expanding family of grandchildren and other family members. At some point, I created my first ‘artistic quilt that captured the attention of an extremely talented local artist. As my mentor, he encouraged me to go beyond the borders of my quilts.

Using self-taught improvisational piecing techniques and hand dyed fabrics, I create pieces with structural balance and intense color that evoke the warmth and comfort of a snugly quilt. I trust that when you bring my art into your home or business, you too will experience that warmth and comfort.

Deb Weiser

Deb Weiser has a degree in commercial art, she has taught herself to do many forms of art including acrylic, oils, texture, wood, glass and even cake decorating and fruit sculpting.“My mother inspired me to pursue my love of art. I was watching her one day while she was painting.I was very young and ask her how she did it. “Katie, girl, (she whispered,) it’s magic!””I have been painting ever since. Inspiration for Deb’s art comes from nature, friends, experiences and from inside her imaginative mind. Her art experience also includes large murals and faux finishes. Deb now has murals and works of art from the Keys to Toronto and in Ireland, Holland and Italy also Iowa. Her newest passion is the creation of angels using newspaper print curled for the angel’s feathers. Each angel emerges from a deep spiritual spot within her psyche.