Blue Hat and Iowa Corn (Part II)


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(If you haven’t yet read “Part I” and would like to do so before reading this post, click here.)

~ Submitted by Clara Gunderson Hoover

Ear of Iowa Corn, watercolor by Marion Gunderson, 1949

"Ear of Iowa Corn" watercolor by Mother (Marion Gunderson), 1949. Sizes/Pricing: Medium limited edition --- 11.75" W x 10" H, $25. Grand limited edition --- 22" W x 18.75" H, $50. Largest --- 24" x 20.5" (same size as the original, usually a special order), $70. (Click photo to enlarge.) *

In July 2008, Hal and I were back at Okoboji for our annual reading marathon.  I didn’t want to impose on the Carmichaels, but one day while on my walk I finally went to their house and knocked on their door.  They invited me inside and showed me Mother’s painting, Ear of Iowa Corn (1949).  They also showed me two paintings by Cathrine Barr.  I was excited to see all three paintings and asked if I could get my camera and come back to take photos.  They seemed glad to let me do this.

The blue hat and Clara on July 23, 2007, the day RAGBRAI went through Rolfe, Iowa.

This blue hat makes appearances with Clara during many walks at Lake Okoboji, as well as in this photo taken July 23, 2007, the day RAGBRAI went through Rolfe, Iowa.

When I returned, Bill and Judy again welcomed me to their home and collaborated on taking pictures, especially since I had to photograph the paintings through glass and wanted to reduce glare from the flash.  Bill and Judy even took down the paintings and posed with them.  They were so gracious.  When they took down Ear of Iowa Corn, I discovered an old newspaper clipping attached to the wire.  The article, “A Busy Mother Heads Art Week,” told of Mother’s efforts in planning special activities to mark American Art Week in Iowa.  A couple of statements in the text led me to believe the article was printed in late October 1951.  An Internet search on the author, Herb Owens, revealed he wrote for the Des Moines Tribune.  The Des Moines Register library staff confirmed the article was published on October 31, 1951.

What a find!  Indeed, it is a small world, and one thing always leads to another.  If it weren’t for my blue hat, I might never have known about Ear of Iowa Corn and the Des Moines Tribune article.  And I would not have met Betty, Bob, Bill and Judy, each of whom I’ll be able to greet when I walk in Maywood this summer.

(Click here to go to Part III.)

* For more information about prints of Mother’s (Marion Gunderson) watercolors, click here.

(Click here to go to this blog’s home page.)


3 Responses to “Blue Hat and Iowa Corn (Part II)”

  1. Peg Says:

    Love the whole “small-world” series of discoveries!

    And the great photo of you, Clara! 🙂

    So . . . there’s a Part III, eh? I’ll be tuned! 🙂

  2. Pam Says:

    Thanks for sharing, Louise! I love everything about this article, Clara. (Is that the hat from the Lauritsen Gardens?) Gotta get me one of her prints!!!

  3. Clara Gunderson Hoover Says:


    Yes! It is the very hat I bought when I was with you. I wear it frequently when I’m walking on sunny days.

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