2023 March Newsletter

Art Musings

Beppie Weiss | beppie.net

Dear Art Friends,

Well, here we are, changing clocks and feeling tired and miserable….must be March! Little bulbs are pushing up their leaves….through 4 more inches of new slushy snow……must be March!

I have a few things to share with you about pleasant things to do right now, and a few announcements of upcoming events. Let’s start with “Nice Things to do Now”.

The Hudson River Gallery is showing work by artist Kathy Edwards Hayslett. This runs through April 8.

 Kathy Edwards Hayslett

A new bar in town located across from the co op, The Green House is showing work by Naser and Patricia Shahrivar. This is a really lovely place to sit and enjoy light and plants and special drinks….so unlike any bar I’ve ever been in!

The Green House

Next I would like you to visit an exhibit at Press Coffee on North Dodge. Candice Broersma is showing her fantastic fantasy illustrations and will be there for an opening reception on March 23 from 6-8 pm. The exhibit will be up through April 16. She has worked with kids in an interesting “monster“ project, designed art for music albums, books, commissions and other projects. It will blow you away!

Candice Broersma

Our own gallery is in its closing weeks of a fabulous fiber/quilt show. If you missed it during Gallery Walk it will be open Mondays 12-2 pm and Saturdays 1-3 pm, and it will be our featured artist  program for Art in the Afternoon on Sunday, March 19 at 1:00 pm. Come meet artist Laura Hopkins and hear her talk about her art.

Laura Hopkins

Arts IC | ArtiFactory has just added a new class. “Figures in a Scene” is taught by Jo Myers Walker and assisted by Omer Sannan. People work in watercolor or other media and learn about many art techniques, and just have a good time. This  class meets alternate Wednesday afternoons from 2-4. It might be for you.

Mark Dotson was one of the artists from last month’s “Art from the INSIDE OUT” show in our gallery. His play “Undoing Time” will be at the James Theater March 24, 25 & 26.

The Iowa Pastel Society will be hanging a summer show at the Ankeny Art Center 5/30 to 7/25.  Are you a pastel artist? Become a member by April 10th. Send digital photos of 2 images with size, price if for sale, and title to denicepeters@ymail.com along with your contact info. More details are available at the IPS web page.

Lastly, I want to let you know that Iowa Artists Regional Show has changed its dates . . .Sigh of relief . . . No longer on April Fools Day, it will be on April 23rd, 10-2 at the North Liberty Public Library. You must preregister by 4/15. Check out the rules and instructions at Iowaartists.us. Questions? Our region 8 contact is Pamela Hiatt, 563-564-0092.

In closing my column this month I want to say that I’m sad to not have news of Art shenanigans around the world any more. I only get a few tips from the New York Times or Wall Street Journal. My main source over the last few years was Art Fix Daily, which sadly,  is no more. I miss it and miss sharing it with you.

Please send any messages you would like to share to me for our next news letter. Got this card from an Iowa City art friend, Jillian Moore. Congratulations Jillian!

Jillian Moore

Be well and make art. Beppie

Art in the Afternoon | Laura Hopkins

Laura Hopkins

Over two decades ago, Laura Hopkins left the engineering profession to become an artist. With a small grant from the state of Iowa, she established her textile arts studio called The Sable Sabot. A sabot is a wooden clog, the name being a tribute to the Dutch architect whose work she studied over the years. “I needed a place to study design (architecture) and construction (engineering)…It led to my discovery of an irrational number, a relative of the Golden Mean”. Laura’s unique journey allowed her to define new territory in mathematics through her work in quilting. Her groundbreaking work was achieved in a piece called Athena-Pallas; Her Father’s Daughter, which took her six years.

Beginning in 2007, Laura became a fixture at Venus Envy, “a celebration of women in the arts” that ran annually from 2005 to 2014 in the Quad Cities at Bucktown Center. In 2011, from her quilts and her decades of study, she wrote and published her first book. Laura’s work has been displayed at the MidCoast Center for the Arts in Davenport and Moline. Her textile artwork is an extraordinary example of creativity, initiative and a pioneering female spirit.

Art in the Afternoon March 19 at 1 pm in the ArtiFactory Gallery at 120 N. Dubuque St., Iowa City, IA.

The exhibit runs from February 21 through March 20. The gallery is open on Mondays from 12-2 pm and Saturday afternoons from 1-3 pm.

Figures in a Scene

Figures in a Scene
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The figure is captivating and expressive but is in need of a sense of place. We will be working from photos, sketches as well as still life setups. Omer Sanan and Jo Myers-Walker will demonstrate techniques in drawing, watercolor and monochromatic value studies. There will be a short demo leaving time for walk arounds while the paint is drying. In an atmosphere of fun and enjoyment we can all learn from each other.

Life Drawing at the ArtiFactory

Join us for life drawing in the lower level of 120 N. Dubuque St., Iowa City, IA. Bring your own drawing materials which can include graphite, charcoal, pastels or watercolors. Acrylics, water-based oils, and regular oils using odorless terpenoid will be allowed. We will be drawing from nude, scantily clothed or dressed models. Must be over 18 to attend.

Please register for each session.

Phil Dorothy Drawing Studio

Phil Dorothy Drawing Group
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Long Pose Studio Group

Long Pose
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Body Parts

Body Parts
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Beppie Weiss  will share her drawing experience of the human body. She has drawn and painted hundreds, maybe thousands, of portraits and people drawings, and will help you improve your own drawing skills. Our goal will be to understand how it all comes together, and be able to draw it with more accuracy.

The Foiling Studio Group

Foiling Studio Group
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Maybe you are a First-time Foiler or returning for Foiled Again! Experience fine art foiling in our studio group. The creation of foiled paperworks typically involves the use of metallic or pigmented foil to add decorative elements to your artwork. This could include adding metallic accents to drawings or paintings, or using foil to create unique textures or patterns on the surface of the art piece.

Artists in the Movies

–Phil Beck

Agony & Ecstasy

It’s fitting, I suppose, that one of the biggest artists in history had one of the biggest art films made about him. This month we celebrate the birthday of Michelangelo Buonarroti, who was born 548 years ago on March 6, 1475. Accomplished in painting, architecture, and poetry, but most renowned for his sculpture, he is, along with his equally famous contemporary Leonardo da Vinci, the epitome of the “Renaissance Man,” someone extraordinarily adept at a wide range of arts and sciences.

Of the two, Michelangelo just might be the superior artist. His early sculptures, David and the Pieta, brought him great acclaim, and the accolades kept piling up throughout his lifetime. He died at 88, the first Western artist to have his biography written while he was still alive. But he was a curious soul. Though he amassed a great fortune, he lived like a pauper in squalid conditions. His solitary and often quarrelsome nature won him few close friends. His passionate poetry praising young men has led to much speculation that he was gay, but no evidence that he ever had a physical relationship with either man or woman has ever surfaced. He seems to have lived an essentially sexless existence–alone, melancholy, obsessed with his work. The archetype of the lonely, tormented artistic genius has perhaps its greatest poster boy in him.

Despite his own belief that he was chiefly a sculptor, his most famous work is one of painting—the breathtaking frescoes with which he covered the ceiling of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel in Rome. These were commissioned by Pope Julius II, known as the “warrior pope” for his military campaigns to extend the Catholic Church’s rule over all of Italy. It took Michelangelo four years to complete the project (1508-1512), often deviating from the Pope’s original conception and substituting his own scenes and figures. The battle of wills between these two Renaissance titans is dramatized in Irving Stone’s best-selling 1961 novel, TheAgony and the Ecstasy, which was turned into a Hollywood blockbuster four years later. Who else could star but Charlton Heston, the epitome of epic cinema herodom in the late 1950s and early 60s (The Ten Commandments, Ben Hur, El Cid). The surprising choice for the pugnacious Julius was ultra-suave Rex Harrison, fresh from his triumph as Henry Higgins in the 1964 multi-Oscar winner My Fair Lady. They were an odd couple, to say the least.

The results are a bit odd as well. It’s a great subject but not a great film. Overlong and frequently ponderous, one would be justified in thinking Michelangelo took less time to paint the ceiling in real life than in the movie, which clocks in at 138 minutes, Heston is almost too virile to play the moody and cerebral artist, and Harrison too fussy as the warlike pope. The two actors despised one another and did not get along during filming. Celebrated British director Carol Reed (The Third Man) kept the production on track, but the movie impressed neither critics nor public. In an era of super-successful epics, it turned only a modest profit. But it is a major film nonetheless, handsomely mounted, and the one serious cinematic treatment of Michelangelo, which makes it worth a look despite its excessive length and dramatic flaws.


But now let’s turn to another sculptor, thankfully a much cheerier sort. In the January 2022 newsletter, I wrote about the rule-breaking, artfully playful Swedish-American sculptor Claes Oldenburg, who was born on January 28. Sadly, we lost Claes last July at the age of 93. By way of tribute, here’s a snippet from my comments on the 1975 documentary, Claes Oldenburg: The Formative Years: “Narrated by Oldenburg himself, the film follows him as he visits his old Chicago neighborhood…shopping at his favorite Chicago dime store for knickknacks and collecting bits of rusty metal with interesting shapes at the Lake Michigan shore. Throughout these wanderings, he discourses thoughtfully to the viewer on why small objects insignificant to the rest of us are a source of inspiration to him. His quiet, matter-of-fact delivery can’t hide a certain twinkle in his eye, however, [and] only partially disguises the lurking attraction to the absurd in modern life that motivates his search for grandeur in ordinariness. It’s an ironic kind of grandeur but one his work proves nevertheless to be real, and without his one-of-a-kind vision, the rest of the world would never see.” Adjo, Claes. RIP.

Michelangelo on Film: The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)
Claes Oldenburg on Film: Claes Oldenburg: The Formative Years

Seen any of these films? Tell us what you think of them, or suggest others not covered in the newsletter.