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First Light Art Fund for Young Artists

Within Sunrise River Gallery we have our First Light Corridor which functions as our rotating exhibit space dedicated to showing the work of our areas young artists.  The Muscatine High School Art Club Gallery Show is currently on display.

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Artist Abby Alhf poses proudly for her family next to one of her 3 brilliant pieces on exhibit in the First Light Corridor at Sunrise River Gallery.

Recently, during the 8th Annual Downtown Muscatine Girls Getaway two different groups of Girls Getaway Painters joined me in the studio for some  interactive, collaborative spring-flowers-still-life painting sessions.

Oh what a time we had … and what beautiful art they created!

During each session, three different easels were positioned with a canvas waiting to be painted.  Ready with a beautiful still-life of tulips and lilies designed by Jen Summy of our neighbors at The Flower Gallery, brushes and paints; the ‘girls’ lined up to take turns on each painting.

So, I held the brushes and the paints, offered a bit of direction, then gave them each a minute or two before I called time and had them rotate to the next canvas.  After about 45 minutes and several rounds per session, all of the Girls Getaway Painters had a hand in completing some beautiful paintings.

Tulips & Lilies #4 by Girls Getaway Painters


Six Tulips & Lilies paintings were completed with a few finishing touches from yours truly.  If you like Tulips & Lilies #4, please check out the entire collection at Girls Getaway at Sunrise River Gallery.

Now the real beauty can continue.

These six original paintings finished paintings will be sold via a silent auction to establish the First Light Art Fund.  The First Light Art Fund will be a not-for-profit organization with the mission to promote, develop and support young, up-and-coming artists throughout the greater Muscatine community through exhibits, workshops and fundraising.  Proceeds from this first ever online silent auction will help establish a 501(c)3 charitable fund.

Thanks to the Girls Getaway event, we now have a nice, spacious studio space in Sunrise River Gallery to provide us a great place for youth art workshops and open studio time for student artists.

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Sarah Shoemaker, UIowa BFA photography student

Stay tuned for more great shows by young area artists.  We’re planing a show sometime this summer for photographer Sarah Shoemaker called: “Trashed”.

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The incredible thing about gardening, is when you’re a painter your garden blooms with spring flowers much sooner than most expect.

Now don’t take it the wrong way, I’m all about following the processes found in the principles of harvest.  I know the gardener must first till, then plant, then water and nurture along the way before beautiful blooms spring up.

But an artist’s mind doesn’t always follow that linear thinking process.  Sure, some ‘plan’ a painting, then prep the canvas, set the palette with paints organized from light to dark, and work from left to right until the blossoms grow to full bloom.

Here’s my palette after a recent ‘gardening’ session.  It really doesn’t matter what’s on the canvas, the palette is merely the loading dock where paint gets transferred from tube, to brush to picture. Though I’ll admit, sometimes it goes directly from tube to brush.

Magenta to Phthalocyanine Green. Ochre. Crimson. Cerulean Blue. Burnt Umber. Writing the names of these colors makes my head hurt.  But oh, are they not incredibly stimulating and pleasing to the eye!
Mere words cannot describe the color you get when you mix cadmium yellow with a touch of deep magenta and a very little dab of ultramarine blue. You might see that colorful burst of first morning light, or it might be those gorgeous rose petals that you simply cannot identify by color … you simply marvel in God’s beauty!

No painter’s palette or gardener’s plot plan can ever come close to matching what our Creator does.  Sure, man has put names on colors and we’ve learned how to manufacture those pigments. But when putting them together on canvas to create a picture to show God’s masterpiece, it really is awesome.  He is awesome.

If you’re still reading, you’ve likely had a hard time tracking … from painting spring flowers, to the principles of harvest, to colors on my palette, to my admiration and love for my God.

Welcome inside the mind of a painter!  It has now occurred to me, a picture of an artist’s brain may look way more like that picture of my palette.  And if you look closely, you will see some gray matter!

Oh look, the purple crocus are starting to come up.