Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Frank Lloyd Wright Iowa Hotel Reopens


 Wow! I kept saying as I walked thru Frank LLoyd Wright's Hotel. I finally got to see the newly renovated Historic Park Inn Hotel in Mason City, Iowa. Every space from the Lobby to the Ladies Parlor is exciting to see brought back to life from near hopeless physical decline. The 1910 structure took $20 million to renovate and is the last remaining Wright designed and built hotel in the world.

Bank Building now Conference area
As much as possible of the original materials were retained including the tile floor, some hotel room doors, stair railings, art glass windows and panels. Other pieces were reconstructed to bring back the original look and feel of the hotel.  The 27 hotel rooms had to be enlarged from the original forty three 10x10' rooms with shared bathrooms Wright designed.

I took particular note of the art work they chose to hang which was by contemporary Arts & Crafts Press artists, the fabric, rugs and furniture. The color palette was warm earth tones throughout the public areas.  The former bank is a conference room with chairs set up for large gatherings.  The usual Wright staging of making you walk thru narrow, short hallways into a large bright airy space takes your breath away.

The lounge area with its skylight is another Wow moment.  It has 25 original art glass panels designed by Wright.  The receptionist Carla told us how some were discovered in the renovation hidden between the ceiling and roof and more were discovered in a house in town and donated back to the hotel.

I took dozens more photos of other rooms not shown here.  They didn't show any of the guest rooms to view but show one on the hotel's website.  Looks wonderful.

Grand Opening poster September 2011
The restaurant is not yet open but I hope to make a trip back to visit when it is.  If you go there, be sure to also visit the Stockman house Wright designed, too.

Click here for more information on the Historic Park Inn Hotel.
Exterior detail


Conference area

Sample of prints, lamps furniture and pottery

Ladies Lounge with balcony overlooking a park.

Rug detail

Lounge view from balconyhttp://wrightonthepark.org/

 View of Lobby looking towards front windows

Restaurant to open in Spring

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Comforting Art at Christmas

Christmas is a time to gather with family and share good times.  It can also be a time of sadness as we celebrate without a loved one.  I lost my mother-in-law, a dear college friend and a cousin this past year and feel that emptiness.  I've also witnessed first hand how people look to fill that emptiness with art that has special meaning for that missing loved one.

I illustrated Mt. Olivet Church a couple years ago and put the sermon as 'Peace on Earth' Pastor Youngdahl on the sign marker out front.  Pastor Youngdahl, the second generation leader to my church, passed away this summer.  His presence will be greatly missed especially this Christmas to his congregation.  His family member called and asked for some prints this week to give as gifts.  It's a piece of art I'm glad I had to offer.

Another piece of art brought special meaning to a woman at one of my recent art events.  She purchased my Bleeding Heart print because she had two siblings but recently lost one.  Seeing the three hearts together symbolized that sibling union for her.  She's giving it to her Mom for Christmas.   I was touched that my art brought special meaning to her and her family.

My Mother-in-law loved birds and cardinals specifically.  Although I drew that card because we have a cardinal pair in our yard, that illustration has since reminded me of her. She decorated her tree with little birds and always fed the birds in the winter. We will miss her this Christmas. Special thoughts go out to all who are missing a loved one this Christmas.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Steps to Create Minnehaha Falls

People are often confused by how I create my art so I thought this week I'd show the steps on how I created my Minnehaha Falls art.  First I visit the falls and take some photos.  The leaves haven't changed yet but I can see the basic elements of the bridge, water, people and the falls.  Then I take all my photos and start sketching in pencil on paper how I want to interpret the visual.  I enhance the water, stylize the bridge, widen the falls and frame the scene with foliage. Then I take my drawing and scan it into the computer where it becomes the base of my color art.

Each line becomes a closed shape I redraw with the mouse and that is given a color chosen by me.  I start with the background images and put it on a layer, working in Adobe Illustrator.  The thought process is comparable to silkscreen with layers of opaque colored shapes but with the flexibility of the computer to make adjustments along the way.

After the background pencil lines are outlined, then I outline all the shapes of the rock and waterfall, followed by the hill in the foreground.  You can see each layer with color and how the drawing looks as black outlines.  The computer is just a tool that you tell what to do, it doesn't make any artistic decisions.  I used to be an airbrush artist doing this same style and trying to remix colors to match was a nightmare, let alone making changes and having to repaint areas. Sometimes I use colors from previous illustrations like the water color here is the same as the water color I used in the Stone Arch Bridge illustration.

I hope this clarifies the artistic process in creating my illustrations from pencil to final art.
pencil drawing done by hand

Use mouse to redraw all lines into shapes
Background layer with shapes given color.
Middle layer of falls with colored shapes

Foreground layer given color.

All three layers in color with a border

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy Holidays-A New Tradition

This piece was written by Wendy Rosen and was posted by her on the Arts Business Institute Etsy Team site.  I urge you to read it and share it.  Thank you,  Cindy
Happy Holidays 2011 -- A New Tradition
by Wendy Rosen

As the holidays approach, foreign factories are kicking into high gear to provide Americans with mountains cheap goods -- all produced at a very high price… American jobs. 

This year could be different. 

This year Americans can choose to give the gift of genuine concern for other Americans. There is no longer an excuse that, at gift giving time, nothing can be found that is produced by American hands. Yes there is!www.FindAmericanMade.com

America, It's time to think outside the box. If you can’t get to a store that specializes in local or American made products… there are other gifts that can only be provided by local businesses and American labor. Almost everyone – can use a gift certificate for a haircut or salon service. 

Who wouldn't appreciate receiving a gift certificate for a pottery or photography class. Gift certificates from small bakeries, cafes and restaurants are great gifts. Shop your farmers market for locally made jams and jellies. 

Forget the flat-screen and buy a book of local movie theater tickets. Often, the best gifts often come from your time and personal effort. Mow the lawn or plow the drive for an elderly neighbor. 

If we really care about our local small businesses on Main Street, now is the time to show it. Many of your small business neighbors haven’t taken home a paycheck in months… but still keep that commitment to their employees, their financial lives on the line. Your business will help them keep their doors open.

Were you were looking for something more personal. Local crafts people spin their own wool and knit them into scarves. They make jewelry, and pottery, incredible handmade soaps and beautiful wooden boxes. 

So many small towns now have a local potter, glassblower or handmade shop. If you can’t find just the right thing in your neighborhood there are another 400,000 artists selling their wares on www.Etsy.com

Plan your holiday outings at local, owner operated restaurants and leave the server a nice tip. How about going out to see a play at your local community theatre. 

You see, the holidays are no longer about draining American pockets so that
China can build another bomb to sell to North Korea, while their workers are overworked and underfed in dangerous factories. 

Family holidays should be about caring about for US, encouraging American small businesses to keep plugging away to follow their dreams. 

When we care about other Americans, we care about our neighbors, and the benefits come back to us in ways we couldn't imagine. When we buy from big box mega retailers our dollars never land in our local banks to be counted for investing in local loans. Instead those big box bucks leave our country before sundown!

Recycling our dollars in our local community and throughout our national economy could be the new American Holiday tradition. It’s time we wear out every dollar by recycling those bucks, round and round again… right here at home. If we all spent $50 on American Made products or services this holiday season the recession and our financial crisis would be over putting trillions into the marketplace. 

This is a revolution of caring about each other. Isn't this how we should celebrate our holidays? Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Good Kwanzaa, 
and Best wishes for Eid al-Adha. 

Forward this to everyone on your mailing list -- post it to discussion groups - throw up a post on Craigslist in the Rants and Raves section in your city - send it to the editor of your local paper and radio stations, and TV news depts. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fallingwater Inspiration Pics

Last Sunday I was touring Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece 'Fallingwater' in Pennsylvania.  It was built over a waterfall 75 years ago and has stood the test of time. I took pictures of the inside rooms, artifacts and structures I wanted to use for inspiration for my work.  So I took notice of the shapes, colors, styles, textures and textiles.  The Kaufmann's were art collectors and world travelers and displayed them- including a couple Picasso pieces. Wright wanted wood and stone left in its natural state and not painted. Here are a few of the many photos I took of this memorable trip. Ejoy!