Archive for the ‘Cathrine Barr’ Category

“Church Yard” Watercolor — Deliciously Creepy!

October 18, 2009

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

September 22, 2010 update: Instead of including a space in the name of this painting Church Yard (two words), with help from the dictionary, it is now referred to as Churchyard (one word).

"Church Yard" displayed with Mr. Black's Secret by Cathrine Barr. (Click photo to enlarge.)

"Church Yard" displayed with Mr. Black's Secret by Cathrine Barr. (~20" W x ~14" H) Click photo to enlarge.

Last summer I spoke to a group about Mother’s (Marion Gunderson) watercolors. From Mother’s portfolio, I pulled out several that I ooohed and ahhhhed over. Then I pulled out this one of the cemetery. (Actually on the back of it Mother wrote, “Church Yard.” There is no indication of the exact location.)  I told the group that I love how Mother created an eerie feeling with her technique, colors and subject matter. Then I said, “But, WHO would EVER want to display this painting in his or her home?!”

"Church Yard" as it was cropped and matted by Mother (Marion Gunderson). (Click photo to enlarge.)

"Church Yard" (1954) as it was cropped and matted by Mother (Marion Gunderson). Click photo to enlarge.

That’s still how I felt until about two weeks ago when I was decorating for Halloween. Hmmm…the wheels in my brain were rolling.  What could I use to decorate that doesn’t look cheesy, has colors that I love, looks good in my home, and creates a deliciously creepy yet fun ambience?

My brain clicked and sent me directly to Mother’s portfolio.  The next morning I went to Wild Faces Gallery in Rolfe where Mona just happened to have this standard-sized 18″ x 24″ black frame and also the not-typical-orange mat (in the top photo) in stock.  That same morning, Mona had the matted and framed Church Yard ready to go.

My next stop was about a twentieth-of-a-block from the gallery at Ropa’s Cafe in Rolfe.  I was so excited about Church Yard that I took it inside Ropa’s to show to family.  To my surprise and excitement, a non-family member in the cafe took a look at it and immediately said, “I WANT a print of THAT PAINTING.”  Whoop-dee-doo!  Since it is an initial investment to have prints made (due to being labor-intensive and requiring specialized skill, equipment and materials) hopefully I’ll get another pre-order or two to tip the scale to actually have prints made of Church Yard.

I cannot think of a more deliciously creepy piece of art.  I love it, I love it, I love it.  I’ll display it until the day after Thanksgiving when I’ll transition to Christmas decorating, including Mother’s Santa watercolor original.

By the way, Cathrine Barr dedicated Mr. Black’s Secret (the children’s book in the top photo) to Mother.  How perfect that the cloth cover is almost the same orange as the mat.  (Do you notice the little mouse bookmark sticking out the top of Mr. Black’s Secret?!)

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(Click here to go to this blog’s home page.  Slowly but surely there will be more about Bill’s and my Oregon trip and also about Mr. Spaulding.  I need to talk with Mr. Spaulding about  additional topics before another transcript is developed.)

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Do you know/remember anything about Cathrine Barr and/or the Barr Art Association?

June 8, 2009

If so, please comment below by clicking on “comments.”  Or, please email me at mariongundersonart@gmail.com, especially if you have photos to share of anyone/anything related to Barr Art.  For now, this post will stay at the top of this page.  There are current posts further down this page.

Cathrine Barr’s Influence, Mother (Marion), and Barr Art

June 8, 2009

(Aside from the photos and caption text, this post is taken from page 114 of the Pocahontas County, Iowa, History, compiled in 1981 by the Pocahontas County Historical Society Members and Friends, copyright 1982 by the Pocahontas County Historical Society, Rolfe, Iowa.  If you have anything–including photos–regarding Barr Art and/or Cathrine that you’d be willing to share, please comment at the post at the top of this page and/or email me at mariongundersonart@gmail.com.  Thank you.)

“Throw away your fear and timidity. Polish up your gambling spirit, and pick up your brush, ready for the dare.”

Mother (Marion) and Daddy (Deane) Gunderson with their first four children, (L to R) Clara, Martha (born October 1948), Charles and Helen.  The future Barr Art Association began meeting just months before this photograph was taken, while Mother was pregnant with Martha.  (Click photo to enlarge.)

Mother (Marion) and Daddy (Deane) Gunderson with their first four children, (L to R) Clara, Martha (born October 1948), Charles and Helen. The future Barr Art Association began meeting just months before, during the summer of 1948, while Mother was pregnant with Martha. (Click photo to enlarge.)

That’s exactly what happened when, in the summer of 1948, Cathrine Barr, a commercial artist and illustrator from Weston, Connecticut, came to Rolfe to visit her mother, Myrtle Anderson, and her grandmother, Addie Beam. This was the first of several summers from 1948 to 1952 when Cathrine organized classes and taught watercolor painting. Her emphasis was on basic techniques, originality, creativity and working directly from subject matter rather than copying other works. The classes proved popular, and each summer enthusiasm for the art of watercolor grew until the students numbered about 76 persons from Humboldt to Spencer, with a large nucleus in Pocahontas County.

On October 25, 1949, a group of these students met in the Shaw and Shaw Law Offices in Pocahontas to organize an Art Association. Marion Gunderson, Rolfe, was the first president, and Maude Herrick, Gilmore City, was the first secretary.

The name "Barr Art Association" was adopted in the fall of 1951, the same fall that my sister, Peggy, was born.  Here Mother (Marion) is pictured with (L to R) Clara, Martha, Peggy, Charles and Helen.  I (Louise) was born in the fall of 1955.  The artwork on the wall was painted by Charles.

The name "Barr Art Association" was adopted in the fall of 1951, the same fall that my sister, Peggy, was born. Here Mother (Marion) is pictured with (L to R) Clara, Martha, Peggy, Charles and Helen. I (Louise) was born in the fall of 1955. The artwork on the wall was painted by Charles. (Click photo to enlarge.)

It was not until the fall of 1951 that the group adopted the name of Barr Art Association, giving recognition to the person who had been their teacher and motivation.

The purpose of Barr Art was “to promote and stimulate interest in art.” This they accomplished in two ways. First and foremost was meeting regularly in each other’s home or else on location to pursue what they had learned from Cathrine. Secondly, they exhibited together annually at such places as the Blanden Gallery and the KVFD “Little Art Gallery” in Fort Dodge, sidewalk art shows, various women’s clubs and churches, and at Regional Amateur Art Shows sponsored by the Iowa Arts Council.

The Association thrived through the ’50s and ’60s, but in the late 1970s interest dwindled and the group disbanded.

Barr Art Association was “open to anyone interested in the various arts.” Its members painted together and enjoyed the satisfactions of artistic endeavor that only a group of working artists can enjoy in an atmosphere of relaxation and creativity.

To view names of many of the people who attended Barr Art, and also the communities they represented, click here.