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Thoughts about art, announcements, new pieces, and other topics.

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Fine Art Instruction for Spring & Summer 2014!

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Spring is here and how better to celebrate than going out for fun and creative activities? Join me for youth and adult fine art instruction at the creative space called Corridor Arts at 128 E. Main in Solon, Iowa. Youth, adults, beginner and up, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and by appointment.

Announcing: Summer Art Session for elementary students will be July 8-10, Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday 8:30 to 11 am. Teens & Pre-Teens can do individualized instruction in the afternoons that week, or call me to fit your busy schedule. To sign up, simply This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for a registration form.

Fine Art Instruction at Corridor Arts in Solon Iowa

 

Open House & Reception at Mercy Iowa City

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Please join me from 4 to 6 pm on Friday, April 6th at the Mercy Iowa City Atrium Gallery. More information here!

Local Landscapes art exhibit at Atrium Gallery, Mercy Iowa City

 

Lenon Mill: Labor of Love

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Among other projects this winter, I am working on a painting of Lenon Mill. My mother, who passed away many years ago, took some art classes in the 70s. I found an oil that she started of the Lenon Mill, a former flour mill that was torn down one year before we moved to my childhood home. It's always a challenge to paint a place that I have never seen, using lower quality photographs from various angles, in different seasons. However, it is a wonderful connection to my mom and my roots just as I hoped it would be. We used to spend a lot of time at the quiet little Lenon Mill Park with friends and family, picnicking, camping, and wading in the Racoon River. I will keep you posted!

Outset of a painting of Lenon Mill by Lianne Westcot

 

Art & Fashion: at the Movies

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Since it's a long winter, again, I have been searching for art movies on Netflix. I expanded my search to include the fashion industry which also interests me. (Some of these I saw a while back, so I apologize if they're no longer available on Netflix.)

Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child This haunting documentary focuses on the life of a young Haitian-American street kid who was a rising star artist in the 80s. His story is told through interviews with people who hung out with him, along with footage and photos of his life. Basquiat's gift was extraordinary but seemed also to be a burden to him. He was both lauded and kept at arm's length by the art establishment. He was eventually mentored by Andy Warhol and managed by a Swiss art dealer named Bruno Bischofberger. By the time he became an established artist, he was addicted to heroin. He died in 1988 from an overdose at age 27.

Bill Cunningham New York You HAVE to meet this man. He is nice, humble, smart, and a relentless professional. I'm not kidding, once you finish this show, not only will you feel like you know Mr. Cunningham, but you will want to take a nap after watching him work so hard. He also has one of the most interesting careers in fashion that I am aware of.

Diana Vreeland: The Eye has to Travel We all know the fashion world is packed with creative, colorful, and fascinating personalities. Although not too many rival Diana Vreeland for flair and charisma! When it comes to Diana one has to ask, Is it real or Memorex? She loved to tell a story and I loved believing them. What I like best about her is that she started out life the ugly duckling to her sister's classic beauty and still became a pivotal one-of-a-kind contributor to the fashion world.

Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's This last movie is about a place and a time. It tells the story of the last independently-owned high-end American department store. Bergdorf's is portrayed as a sacred space not only for fashion, but for the best and most exclusive designer labels. One of the fun aspects of the documentary is a little cat-and-mouse game of hinting at how much the sales associates were able to earn during the peak years of fashion.

Cold outside? Pop some corn and enjoy!

 

Mercy Iowa City Exhibit & Winter Classes

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Local Landscapes is an exhibit of my work at Mercy Hospital, just a short walk from downtown Iowa City. The exhibit is hanging in their Atrium Gallery, which is located between the Cafeteria and the Atrium on the southeast corner of the main hospital building.

If you are looking for art classes, check out the winter art class schedule at Corridor Arts in Solon, Iowa!

 

Ready for a New Year

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I want to wish everyone the best in 2014. It's a fresh start and I enjoy taking this time of year to reflect, especially on what brings the most meaning. By now, I go with the thoughts that float into my head or heart first. If there is an area of art, or my life in general that could use a stronger focus or a breath of fresh air, then I pay attention. I like to commit to a few thoughts that float to the top as far as importance. I want to continue to spend time, energy, and focus where it is going to create the most meaning. The best to you as we begin this new year!

Blessings in the new year! 

- Lianne Westcot

 

Art Classes

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I teach art classes at Corridor Arts, a studio on Main Street in Solon, Iowa. I love to work with all ages from early elementary to adult and, YES, I do teach beginners. Instruction is individualized and includes:

  • Drawing
  • Painting: acrylic and other watermedia, such as watercolor and gouache
  • Calligraphy & hand lettering
  • Other projects as interested

My goal is for students to branch out and try things with the main point to enjoy art for a lifetime!

FOR YOUTH

The best way to get started is to schedule a time for your student to come in. They can jump in at any time and the class begins when the student can get there after school, and goes 90 minutes after arrival. Classes are available at Corridor Arts Monday - Thursday after school, or by appointment. Feel free to contact me with questions, to purchase a gift certificate, or schedule a class.

FOR ADULTS

It is all too easy to let procrastination, a busy schedule, or even fear push aside your creative time. Art opens up a different side of life and is very rewarding and relaxing. For most adults, art is about enjoyment and I like to help people do exactly that, enjoy art. If you are yearning for creative time, put it in your schedule! Contact me today.

We also host private parties and other events at Corridor Arts! See the blog for news and announcements.

 

New Work! Jubilant Prairie

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I was inspired by my Iowa prairie trip over the summer. Enjoy this new work called "Jubilant Prairie", 16" x 20" deep panel canvas with painted edges or solid oak float frame. (Update, this piece has beeen sold.)

 

Two art pieces find a home at Mercy Hospital Iowa City

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The next time you stop in at the front desk of Mercy, Iowa City, peek behind the helpful person working there and you can see two of my small paintings flanking a larger center piece by Iowa City artist Beppie Weiss. On the left is Clearing and on the right is Tulip Tree, both 8" x 8" acrylic paintings on clayboard.

In a few months I will be hanging an exhibit in the Atrium Gallery which is a long hallway between the Atrium and cafeteria on the hospital's lower level.

Credits: The beautiful framing was done by Hudson River Gallery in Iowa City as selected by Nancy Purington, art consultant for Mercy who took the time to seek out local artists.

paintings by Lianne Westcot at Mercy Hospital Iowa City

 

Destination Art: Davenport

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photo of davenport iowa

A carload of good friends and I took a lovely fall drive over to Davenport to tour the Figge Art Museum and see the Diana exhibit at the Putnam.

The Figge is just right when it comes to balancing variety and space. Going somewhere like the Art Institute in Chicago requires advance planning and running shoes to take in everything you want to see. The Figge features several small galleries on four floors with some well-placed sofas in which to contemplate some larger pieces. In a few hours you can take in most of the offerings and even rest a while.

The Figge houses some of the University of Iowa collection due to the flooding in Iowa City. Current exhibits show work by three former U of I art professors who were also accomplished artists, adjacent to other 20th century contemporary art, some Frank Lloyd Wright furnishings, and paintings from previous centuries including religious-funded art.

The top floors featured artwork of the WPA, (Works Progress Administration) a Depression era back-to-work program that funded art and other types of work. One was a regional art collection for Western Illinois University. The other included a broad range portraying work, life, landscape, and portraits of the average man, woman, and child. Our group enjoyed viewing and visiting about what moved us or piqued our interests. Just a few WPA standouts were Los Angeles Tenement Flats, 1933-34 by Millard Sheets, and Festival, 1934 by Daniel R. Celentano.

A word about the Diana exhibit: the real art there was a nutshell-version of the life of someone who was both barely known as a person and widely known as a public figure. Her childhood room dispelled any notion of her being a commoner, yet the artifacts were not much different than any of us might have kept. Just past the wedding dress display, there is a room highlighting Diana's humanitarian work, followed by a room of gowns that are art in themselves. The story of her humanitarian focus carries through to this room, and then gives way to realizing the impact that the "people's princess" had on the world as bits of Elton John's special version of Candle in the Wind drift in to consciousness.

After passing through a hallway lined with condolence books, we entered a more solemn room featuring funeral film clips and a type-written sheet edited with Elton's handwritten lyrics that he would sing at Diana's service. Suddenly it seemed like no time had passed since the days of her life. She will remain a legend to many of us who are from that time.

 

New Work, Sunstream Lilacs

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Who doesn't love the sight and aroma of lilacs in the spring? They can cheer up any yard, garage, or sidewalk. The inspiration came from a student, Connor, who had picked a lilac stem for his mom and brought it to art class. I took a photo of it and also stopped to photograph lilacs in full bloom around Solon as the sun was going down. (Update, this painting has been sold.)

Sunstream Lilacs, original acrylic, 6" x 18" ©2013

 

New Additions, Plein Air

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Please enjoy new work a la plein air!

River Birch Glow original acrylic painting on 6 x 6 canvas by Lianne Westcot

 

For A Good Cause

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I have enjoyed the opportunity to donate artwork or lessons to a limited number of local auctions and events this year:

SPRING

"Arts & Crafts" sponsored by the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City Ad Fed and proceeds going to the Eastern Iowa Arts Academy

FALL

"BrewNost" sponsored by and supporting the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library

Solon Dollars for Scholars "Fall Gala & Auction" providing scholarships to a large number of Solon High School grads

PEACE Iowa silent auction at their annual meeting for their school supply collection

Shueyville United Methodist Church Lord's Acre Sale supporting ongoing ministry

So glad there are so many local organizations gathering and giving to the community!

 

Plein Air "Sketching"

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I am going to use Golden Open mixing acrylics and thinner next time I paint outdoors. They dry slower, stay blendable, and are therefore more like oil than regular acrylics. I want to have some more ideas about how to do a painting in a short time, so have been hunting for such a video.

Enjoy this video which goes through an entire outdoor oil painting sketch in 48 minutes. "Be careful not to be too regular and don't be too heavy with the brush strokes" is the major theme.

 

Amana Fresh Paint

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Amana Barn Morning Light, an original acrylic painting (plein air sketch) by Lianne WestcotLabor Day weekend was fun. And a bit grueling. I was able to rub elbows with some fantastic people who also happen to be really good painters. And I did the artist's equivalent of camping which was plein air painting.

The event was a competition called Fresh Paint, put on by Jenise and Ithiel of Catiri's Art Oasis, along with their staff, family, and friends. The rules included painting completely on-site as opposed to sketching outside and finishing in the studio. Not only did the Catiri's drive around Amana finding the artists, taking pictures and handing out cool water; they also threw a nice little shindig Sunday evening. It was in the gallery's pretty, shaded backyard where the "Awful Purdies" graced the stage with fine music. Family and friends served hors d'oeuvres and bbq'd for everyone. And awards were given out to deserving artists.

Early in the evening, there was a preview for patrons. Following that, the artists and guests were able to enjoy a look at everyone's work. And a fine show it was, truly. I had the honor of a patron purchase, the painting I did on Friday and Saturday morning called "Amana Full Bloom," depicting the Kitchen Sink storefront.

All in all, a really good experience and I plan to be there next year too.

 

Full Bloom Amana, original acrylic (plein air sketch), by Lianne WestcotEarly Riser View, original acrylic (plein air sketch) by Lianne Westcot

 

En Plein Air

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Painting

A perfect ending to a perfect summer art show season, this weekend I'll participate in Catiri's Art Oasis Plein Air Paint Out. I don't have a lot of experience painting outside, on the spot, but it all starts somewhere! This event has been on my calendar for a while. When I signed up, I didn't know what to expect: it's Iowa. It could be overcast, sunny, hot, chilly, rainy, dry, stormy, buggy, humid, or perfect. Weatherwise, anything goes...here...on a holiday weekend. In reality, it's most likely going to be HOT and HUMID. Having lived through many detassling and bean-walking seasons, if I can find shade & water it will be no problem.

Several accomplished painters work in plein air in Eastern Iowa. What's better, they meet to paint on a weekly basis under the leadership of Jeff Allen. It's a great opportunity to be in a crowd that's doing what I love to do and doing it well. This weekend the outcome isn't the point, I'm just looking forward to the experience.

 

What Will I Be Doing? Where Will I Be?

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This summer has been fun! The Iowa City Arts Fest & ArtFest Midwest in Des Moines were great experiences. I was thrilled to connect with Iowa art enthusiasts in both cities. Oat Field Back Home, Autumn Trailside, and several other pieces found good homes and I met some fun people. I also met a celebrity: long-time Des Moines talk show host and Polk County Heritage Gallery director Mary Brubaker.

ArtFest Midwest Booth

Up next, Brucemore Garden & Show on August 24 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, followed by Catiri's Art Oasis Paint Out on Labor Day Weekend in Amana, Iowa. Then a 2-person exhibit at the Lowe Park Center in Marion, Iowa, and in the works, a solo stint at the atrium space at Mercy Iowa City.

 

Fun with RoCo 6x6!

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RoCo 6x6 painting

This winter I responded to a call for entries for the Rochester Contemporary Art Center's annual 6x6 show. Everyone from professionals artists, to celebrities, to children are invited to donate 6"x6" pieces of original artwork. Then art lovers from around the world browse online and purchase original pieces for just $20 each. It's fun and it's creative because buyers decide what they like without knowing if their art was created by a budding artist, a seasoned professional, or celebrity.

To see my entries (#1590 to #1594), visit their site and search by number.

 

ArtFest Midwest 2013 is this weekend!

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This weekend I'll be at ArtFest Midwest, also known as "the Other Art Show" at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in the air-conditioned and rain-proof Varied Industries Building! I will have several new pieces since my last stop in Des Moines at HeArtfest. Be sure to stop by (June 29 & 30) to see original acrylic Iowa landscapes & farmscapes. The show is Saturday, 10 to 6 and Sunday, 10 to 5. Do drop in! (My next stop in Cedar Rapids is the Brucemore Art & Garden Show at the end of August.)

 

More New Paintings!

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Left to Right:
Autumn Stretch, 15x30; Abstract Sky, 12x36; End of a Long Day, 12x36.

Autumn Stretch, original acrylic with texture by Lianne WestcotOriginal acrylic painting by Lianne Westcot. 12End of a Long Day, original painting by Lianne Westcot. 12

 

June 7th in Iowa City. New Work, Just in Time!

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series of original bright, dimensional 8x8 acrylic paintings by Lianne Westcot.

Would you like some time to enjoy art, entertainment, and time with good friends? I will be at the Iowa City Arts Fest this weekend, June 7-9. Stop in to see what's new, I have over a half dozen new paintings. The Iowa City downtown merchants, bands, and food vendors would love to see you too. See the Iowa Arts Fest website for more info.

Find me at booth #102, just north of the Linn & Washington street intersection. Dubuque Street is closed -- take N. Dodge exit from I-80 and you can get downtown in a few minutes.

 

That's Right: Art Movie Update!

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We have had a very. long. winter. Thus I have scoured Netflix and found a few more good art-related documentaries. (Scroll almost to the bottom to find the initial post.)

A Man Named Pearl documentary about a plant sculptor1) A Man Named Pearl: It is worthwhile to sit (or forward) through redundant interviews to experience the back story and present-day impact that Pearl Fryar has on his community, visitors, and viewers like me. Almost halfway through you finally get to hear what makes up and motivates this sculptor who provides diversion for many, and hope for his neighbors in a southern town that is now one mile from the bypass. You get the bonus of a few quirky touches including a laid-back chamber of commerce leader and some red hat society visitors.

2) How Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster? This documentary tells the story of architect Norman Foster as he navigates everything from winning the competition for projects to breaking the design mold of four-cornered buildings. His firm Foster+Partners has succeeded due in part to his vision and the many talented and creative employees who have successfully won and designed extraordinary projects around the world. Foster has been on the forefront over
seHow Much Does Your Building Weigh, Mr. Foster?veral decades when it comes to innovation, engineering, the environment, and above all, beauty. His work also includes a social component, such as the German Reunification-era re-design of the Reichstag which houses both hope and history, and futuristic work on planned sustainable communities.

Treat yourself to one of these and please send me your recommendations for movies I haven't covered.

 

Spring: Bring It On!

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We have had our share of snow this March. I recently completed the original acrylic painting "White Blossoms," an open and heartfelt invitation for spring to please HURRY.

White Blossoms original acrylic painting on gessoboard by Lianne Westcot. Depicts peak blossoms on midwest springtime tree

 

Thank You, Cedar Ridge Vineyards!

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Thank you to Cedar Ridge Vineyards for hosting my winter solo exhibit. The owners, managers, and staff were very supportive and I sold some originals and blank card sets. I hope to do it again soon!

Acrylic landscape paintings by Lianne Westcot, solo show at Cedar Ridge Vineyards in Swisher, Iowa

 

Childhood Home Painting Commission

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Painted shovel with image of childhood home in Elk Horn, Iowa, acrylic on coal shovel by Lianne Westcot.It's a project that required some patience, but I certainly enjoyed painting a childhood home for a "late" Christmas present. It's fun the connections that happen. It was a lovely architect-designed and nicely detailed home in Elk Horn, Iowa, and I was given a reference photo taken in 1949. I met someone at Heartfest in Des Moines, Iowa, who was from Elk Horn, who reported the home is still there and well cared for.

 

Getting Ready for Art Shows!

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So excited for a season of art shows & markets! Working on Mini Originals and other paintings. Below is my holiday season "packed" with shows. Drop in if you are nearby!:

Nov 10 & 11 - Waterloo, Iowa - Holiday Arts Festival at the Waterloo Center for the Arts
December 1 & 2 - Iowa City, Iowa - Holiday Thieves Market at the Iowa Memorial Union  
December 6 - Swisher, Iowa - Meet the Artist, my solo show at Cedar Ridge Vineyards
December 8 & 15 - Cedar Rapids, Iowa - NewBo Holiday Market at the NewBo City Market

If you need a quick gift you can find my card sets at Kava House and Cedar Ridge Vineyards in Swisher. Jodee at Mind's Eye Interiors in the NewBo district has some Mini Originals and Hay Bales original painting. Or contact me and I'll help you find what you need.

Before Harvest, Original acrylic painting by Lianne Westcot
Newest Painting "Morning Dew Before Harvest"


Mini Originals with fall scenes including farms, sumac, and milkweed.
Fall Mini Original paintings.

 

Fall Art Classes Being Offered in Solon, Iowa

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Sign up for fall art classes (acrylic or watercolor) at the Corridor Arts classroom on Solon's Main Street, next to the Solon Barber Shop. It's a nice, well-lit space and conveniently located for youth or adults.

I will teach adult watercolor and youth drawing & painting. Susan Kennicott will teach acrylic painting for youth and adults. Contact me to receive monthly announcements and visit the classroom blog.

PS: Gift certificates for are available for fall or winter art classes.

Corridor Arts classroom on Main Street in Solon Iowa

 

Announcing: Oat Field Trio

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These three paintings are the result of good timing and a great suggestion from my husband. As we were driving one day he noticed this oat field near Swisher and thought I might enjoy painting it. I went out a few days later to capture photos. I loved the colors and how it looked from different angles, especially the farm buildings in the background and the intact windmill.

Three acrylic paintings of a summer oat field by Lianne Westcot

 

Small Summer Paintings Update

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You can see many of the 6x6 summer paintings here; originals, prints, & notecards are available for purchase.

6 x 6 summer paintings with vignettes of midwest wildflowers

 

A series of 6x6 deep profile paintings, prints, or notecards by Lianne WestcotA series of 6x6 deep profile paintings, prints, or notecards by Lianne Westcot

Above, Notecard sets of 4: Summer Series 1 and Summer Series 2

 

Celebrating Summer at Brucemore

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I met a lot of people at Brucemore, both show-goers and other vendors. It was a fun day, and a little exhausting. Congratulations to Pat S. who won the drawing for the 8 x 10 Prairie Grasses and Farmhouse limited edition print!

Prairie Grasses and Farmhouse, acrylic painting by Lianne Westcot. The subject of the painting is near Shueyville, Iowa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While I was busy at the booth, my daughter walked around and captured many beautiful photos of the grounds and events of the day. There were many beautiful plants despite the severe lack of rain this summer.

Brucemore Garden & Art Show

Brucemore Garden & Art Show photo by Danielle WestcotBrucemore Garden & Art Show Photo by Danielle Westcot

© 2012 Photos by Danielle Westcot.

 

It's a Garden AND Art Show!

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One of a trio of oat field paintings by Lianne WestcotI am excited to have my very first art booth at the Brucemore Garden & Art Show this Saturday. If you enjoy plants OR art (or both) come join the festivities. My booth will feature acrylic originals including a brand new trio of "Oat Field" paintings. There will be gift options including small originals and notecard sets from a variety of my paintings. I can also take orders for prints of almost any painting and in custom sizes if needed.

Parking is at Washington High School with a short shuttle ride to the Brucemore grounds. Admission is $6 per person.

 

Monet at Bellagio

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haystack by MoneyVegas isn't just for gambling anymore. It has become a top summer tourism destination with plenty to do in the surrounding area.

Along with the giant redwoods and Grand Canyon, a highlight from our recent trip was finding an art exhibit featuring French impressionist Claude Monet right on the Las Vegas strip. The show was a progression from earlier works through the "haystack period." At that time Monet and his colleagues were taking their canvases outdoors and completing an entire painting in one or two hours. The aim was not to capture a subject but rather the light, which explains why they were painting such "vulgar" everyday subjects.

Many people consider the fractured quality of impressionism to be the birth of abstract painting, and Monet had a central role in the process.

Another pleasant surprise was the Martin Lawrence art gallery near Caesar's Palace. It was time to rest our feet, but I decided to pop in and found myself taking a while longer. It featured dozens of Erte sculptures, some interesting contemporary artists, and a few prints by Pablo Picasso and Joan Miro.

They say "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas", but I think art is a different issue.

 

New! Small Original Paintings

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I've been keeping very busy and having fun painting a series of small summer originals. They are 6" x 6", on deep profile canvas, with a focus on Eastern Iowa vignettes. At least thirty of these will be completed by the Brucemore Show on August 25th. Enjoy the preview!

Original 6Original 6Original 6Original 6

 

Off to the Fair!

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I am very happy to announce that Hay Bales has been selected for the Iowa State Fair Fine Art Exhibition.

This is full circle, since two of my life drawings were in the same exhibit just after I finished college. If you HAPPEN to be at the fair please stop by; it's a great exhibit of Iowa artists, young and old.

iowa state fair, nothing compares

 

Brand New: Two more Limited Edition Prints!

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Announcing two new paintings that are available for museum-quality Limited Edition prints!

Hay Bales 18 x 24, by Lianne WestcotField at Dawn, painting by Lianne Westcot

Hay Bales (above left) and Field at Dawn (above right) were completed in early summer and are both available in standard size signed Limited Edition prints.

Did you know you can also order prints in custom sizes? Let's say you have a frame you are in love with but standard sizes don't work. Just Contact Me and I will help you get the size you need.

One more thing -- I am offering a special cropped print of Hay Bales in 8" x 24", as seen below!

Special cropped version of Hay Bales by Lianne Westcot

 

Coming Soon

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Two more paintings are being scanned for prints: Hay Bales (orig: 18 x 24) and Field at Dawn (orig: 16 x 20). Will add the images as soon as they are ready!

 

Watercolor

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I love the expressive quality of watercolor. It serves as an outlet, a way to lose
myself in art.watercolor

I've recently had the privilege of teaching beginning watercolor and observing
others develop a sense of the medium. I am grateful for students who truly
want to learn about art.

The beauty of this medium is that it requires minimal tools, little space, and hardly any messiness. It's easy to pick up and paint during the day or evening
at the kitchen counter or sitting outdoors.

Feel free to contact me and I will be glad to give a few suggestions on how
to get started.

 

Mauricio Lasansky

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Mauricio Lasansky shown with drawingGreat talent, innovative leader, mentor, legacy of important work -- Artist and Printmaker Mauricio Lasansky passed away earlier this month. Many young printmakers at the University of Iowa were fortunate to have Mr. Lasansky for a teacher and mentor and some have gone on to head printmaking departments across the country.

Mr. Lasansky was born in Argentina and eventually came to Iowa to teach at the University of Iowa for 39 years. He raised his family here, as well establishing a top printmaking program.

Among his most important work were the Nazi drawings, 30 pieces that explored the depth and horror of the Nazi regime. He did these at the time of the pop art decade of the 60s. Quotes from family, students, and colleagues depict a man of integrity who committed heart and soul to art, and who continued to learn from others throughout his life.

Iowans have enjoyed the good fortune of living alongside those who have dedicated themselves to elevating art in our state.

To see up-and-coming or regionally known local artists, don't miss the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art's Lure of the Local. It runs until May 13, 2012.

 

New Painting! Introducing "Bean Field"

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Announcing a new addition to the Local Landscapes series inspired by an autumn trip to the Anamosa area. Bean Field is set against a farm just east of Anamosa.

I have been watching fields of soybeans turn color throughout fall for years. After starting landscape paintings, I have noticed them more intently. Green, yellow-green, gold, yellow-red, rusty-red, brown, and more...in shades that vary across the field.

It was great to get a photo that captured a few of these colors with an array of farm buildings and the windmill in the background.

Bean Field, by Lianne Westcot, Acrylic on canvas, 10" x 20".
Limited edition prints signed by the artist are available here..

 

Working.

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in studio with paint in the foregroundI was working in the studio and decided to snap this photo of a painting in progress. I should say "in process" as that's closer to the truth. Progress implies I have a plan and understand where it's going. Frankly, I am on the edge of my seat most of the time.

(FYI, it's not good to leave brushes in the water, but the pic looked odd without them.)

 

Sharing Art

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Local Landscape image Grassy FieldIt's a lot of fun to share art with people who truly appreciate it. Kristy works at a print shop and saw Grassy Field when I was ordering art cards last fall. I was re-ordering cards before Christmas when she decided to buy a print.

I had asked to hear about her framing selection so she emailed me a description. About the final product she said, "There is a 'peace' about it ... the colors ... the mood.  It just makes me feel good."

As I said, sharing art is fun!

 

Winter Scenery

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Today was one of those days.

While on my way to errands and work I passed through some really great scenes. It had snowed--white fluffy snow--and the wind was picking it up and blowing it around pretty hard. While this was not welcomed by drivers or those trying to scoop their walks, it was creating some masterpiece landscapes.

In this weather Iowa looks like the oceanside as the snow is sculpted by the wind into beautiful dunes along fence lines and ditches. Stands of trees were covered in white and looked beautiful against darker branches and the billowy blue-gray sky. Add to that, snow on hilltops was being whisked by the wind creating a lovely airbrush effect against the background farmhouses, barns, and trees.

But it was one of THOSE days when every time my eyes framed a scene it just happened I was not able to pull over to snap a photo. In better weather I might pull onto a side road, but that was risky without all wheel drive today. I did get a few photos and I hope they do justice and make it possible to capture this day on canvas.

............................  UPDATE:  Here are a couple of photos! .................................................................

windy winter Iowa landscape

 

Bald Eagles: Back in the Midwest

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bald eagle on Iowa landscape

People are excited about the bald eagle becoming a common sight on the Iowa landscape and around the midwest. I was excited to see two of them circling over the lane outside our house. I am used to seeing them at a distance; apparently they can fly up to 10,000 feet.

The Bald Eagles Fact Sheet reports their "wingspan ranges from 72 to 90 inches." Yes indeed, and they are extraordinary when flying nearby!

PS: A quick web search will bring up towns along the Mississippi that are getting into the tourism of eagle watching. Sounds like a great way to deal with cabin fever.

 

Art Movies to Like or Love

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When it's down time and I'm not negotiating with my loved ones about what to view, I love to watch a good art movie. If you enjoy art movies or documentaries, here are some to try:

Wasteland - Renowned artist Vik Muniz embarks on one of the most inspired collaborations of his career, joining creative forces with Brazilian catadores -- garbage pickers who mine treasure from the trash heaps of Rio de Janeiro's Jardim Gramacho landfill.

The Cats of Mirikitani - Documentary about red-bereted Jimmy Mirikitani, a feisty painter working and living on the street, near the World Trade Center, when 9/11 devastates the neighborhood. (There is an interesting unveiling of Mirikitani's life, art, and America's history in this documentary.)

Séraphine - Awestruck by the vibrant and imaginative artwork of uneducated housekeeper Séraphine Louis (Yolande Moreau) -- who spends her days doing menial chores -- German art critic Wilhelm Unde (Ulrich Tukur) takes the promising painter under his wing.

Between The Folds - Filmmaker Vanessa Gould takes you on a provocative odyssey into the mesmerizing world of modern origami, where artists and scientists use the ancient art form to craft works of delicate beauty and to model cutting-edge mathematical theories.

The Rape of Europa - Joan Allen narrates this documentary that chronicles 12 years of the Nazis' pillaging works of art throughout Europe and the international effort to locate, protect and return millions of valuable treasures.

And some design movies:

Helvetica - We use it every day on our computers, we see it on street signs -- and we take it for granted. Now, Gary Hustwit's unique documentary introduces us to Helvetica, a font whose readability has made it the most popular in the world.

Visual Acoustics - Filmmaker Eric Bricker directs this fascinating documentary about the life and times of architectural photographer Julius Shulman, whose work is known for helping to launch the careers of giants like Rudolf Schindler and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Art & Copy - (has Apple existed since your were born? You may be too young for this one!) Filmmaker Doug Pray explores the fascinating and mysterious world of advertising (from the past) in this compelling documentary, which includes interviews with the talented minds that created famous taglines such as "Where's the Beef?" and "Just Do It."

 

Windows

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Window with blue sky and cloudsLandscapes and vignettes capture me. I often carry a camera and there are some days when I feel fortunate to arrive at my destination. When I select a scene to paint, it's something I appreciate and want to see many times. I think of it as a window looking out onto some picturesque view.

I am excited to do more scenes just to see how they look in paint. Will they still capture my interest? Stay tuned, and stop back any time to read or see if new work is posted.

 

Why Collect Art?

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original buildingThere was a man who owned the greatest collection of now-priceless 20th century European art in the US and probably the world. The collection has resided for years in a modest art school building in suburban Philadelphia. (A documentary, The Art of the Steal, tells the story of this collection and what is happening to it).

How did Dr. Albert C. Barnes come to own a collection including dozens of masters like Renoir, Cezanne, and Matisse? After all, he came from a working class family and was trained as a chemist and medical doctor. In his 30s, Barnes became interested in art and tried painting, but he didn't feel skilled enough. He commissioned his schoolmate and painter William Glackens to purchase $20,000 worth of European art for him. Thus began the prized Barnes Collection.

The documentary is strictly from the view of those who oppose the Barnes Collection being moved. It raised many deep questions that I still ponder. For example, what is the "right" of the general public to view important art? And who gets the money that is made? I cherish the fact that I learned about this collection because it staggers my mind to think about it. Why? A great portion of the artists I saw splashed across the milky slide screen of college art history -- have multiple works in the Barnes collection.

Consider that the lesser works of these same artists such as Van Gogh and Gaugin which are on the open market sell at auction for hundreds of millions of dollars. Consider that Dr. Barnes paid $300 (about $6500 today) for Picasso's Peasants and Oxen and picked up many canvases for $1. The Barnes' coveted paintings are not for sale, and further, Barnes took steps to cover the costs of maintaining the collection and to make sure it stayed in its home long after he passed.

It's unlikely that Dr. Barnes invested in art for profit. He left express wishes that it be used for strictly educational purposes. Before he died in 1951, he left explicit instructions that his art was never to be loaned or sold, but would always be hung in the original education building.

Barnes initially bought a few paintings on his own, but Glackens informed him they were substandard, and that he should look to Europe. This is what prompted him to dispatch his friend overseas as his buying agent. It took a while for Barnes to appreciate the modern style which critics called vulgar, childlike scribbling, and "not art at all." But he came to appreciate the works. Subsequently, he traveled and developed his personal sensibility of what constitutes great art. He used his experience and gut to make all of his art purchases from then on.  It turns out his "gut" produced a collection that is unparalleled in modern 20th century European treasures.

So, why collect art? Taking a lesson from Dr. Barnes, it's to learn and to discern. To become educated and make the best gut decision about what will have value, monetary or otherwise, over time.

The original building in Merion, Pennsylvania was designed to be an intimate viewing space. In the information age, it is not quite the same experience to see them online. Political maneuvers and legal wrestling has turned over control of the collection, and now you can find all of the images online. Check out this site which continues to work for the intent of the owner, Dr. Barnes.