Archive for the ‘Watercolor image’ Category

1940s Construction and Watercolors of the Pocahontas, Iowa, Grain Elevator (Part II)

February 18, 2010

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In 1949, Mother (Marion Gunderson) painted two watercolors of the Pocahontas, Iowa, grain elevator/concrete silos. (Information about those two and other watercolors is available at “View and Order Prints.”)

Mother's (Marion Gunderson) signature on one of her 1949 watercolors of the Pocahontas, Iowa, grain elevator.

Not long before Mother painted those watercolors in 1949, Mike Hood, formerly of Pocahontas, watched that same Pocahontas grain elevator being built. The following is a continuation of Part I of Mike’s recollection. Most of the information below is about Mike’s family, but gives a “visual” of the 1940s. Mike was 8 or 9 years old at that time. As you read the rest of his essay, try to imagine looking through his eyes as a child…more than sixty years ago.

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By Mike Hood

(continued from Part I)

We had a pony named Fancy and a lovely little four-wheel black buggy with yellow wheels, that I was the right age to use. I could harness the pony and would drive the rig for hours in a hay field of about 10 acres south of our house. That house still stands on the west side of the road one-quarter of a mile north of the Pocahontas County Courthouse. (Grandfather Michael Linnan’s name is on a wall in the courthouse because he was a County Supervisor when it was built in the 1920s.) I remember that sometimes I would meet my cousins and give them a ride for that last quarter mile on the little buggy. I remember, too, that they would be dead tired from the hard work of pouring concrete for those long 12-hour shifts.

Pocahontas Grain Elevator II prints are available in three sizes: Small (Limited Edition, 10" W x ~12.3" H, $25). Grand (Limited Edition, ~ 17.9" W x 22" H, $50). Largest (20" W x ~24.5" H, same size as the original). Click photo to enlarge.

Jim’s and Frank’s motive, of course, was money for college. Their father, Uncle Charles Linnan, of rural Laurens, rented a 160-acre farm and was not extremely money prosperous in those days. Both of those boys graduated from the University of Iowa. Jim Linnan had a successful career at Ruan in Des Moines, and was the mayor of Clive, Iowa, when he died suddenly of a heart attack in the spring of 1970.

My uncle Bill Linnan was the father of Donald Linnan, of Storm Lake and former County Engineer of Buena Vista County, of Fr. Roger Linnan, who continues as a popular parish priest who served at Jefferson, Manson, Spencer and even now in his 70s at Haywarden, and of Karen Brown, who is married to a retired dentist from Montana, now retired in Sioux City.

All of those cousins were college graduates and were an inspiration to me. I was an editor at Successful Farming and Country America magazines, and now oversee our several farms and photograph antique tractors for calendars.

I remember very clearly sitting on the roof of the chicken house on that Pocahontas farm and counting five concrete grain elevators in what must have been the summer of 1950. Those would have been at Pocahontas, Havelock, Plover, Rolfe and Gilmore City. Obviously, the concrete grain storage technology caught on very rapidly.

We moved from our wonderful Pocahontas 160-acre place to a 305-acre farm bordering Columbia, Missouri, in March of 1951, and in a few years I would be hauling wheat to an old-fashioned tin-sided elevator on hot July days and nights. The famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright called those grain elevators the skyscrapers of the prairies. Indeed!

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

1940s Construction and Watercolors of the Pocahontas, Iowa, Grain Elevator (Part I)

February 16, 2010

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Pocahontas Grain Elevator II prints are available in three sizes: Small (Limited Edition, 10" W x ~12.3" H, $25). Grand (Limited Edition, ~ 17.9" W x 22" H, $50). Largest (20" W x ~24.5" H, same size as the original). Click photo to enlarge.

The November 10th, 2009, Des Moines Register included an article about Mother’s (Marion Gunderson) watercolors and the Rolfe, Iowa, 1980-81 oral history project.* Published alongside that article was a photo of Mother. Also included with that article was this post’s photo (at left) of one of Mother’s painted-in-1949 watercolors of the Pocahontas, Iowa, grain elevator.

Enticed by that Register article, including the image of Mother’s grain elevator watercolor, Mike and Sally Hood of West Des Moines attended the open house.

After the open house I remembered Mike’s telling of his first-hand story of the 1948 or 1949 construction of that same Pocahontas, Iowa, grain elevator.  At my request, Mike was generous to pen that story and allow me to post it here.

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By Mike Hood

(formerly of Pocahontas, Iowa)

It was exciting to be a little boy perhaps 8 or 9 years old in Pocahontas, Iowa, in the summer of 1948 or 1949 when they were building the huge concrete silos** to enlarge and modernize the main grain elevator in town. It was particularly exciting for me because my Uncle W. B. Linnan was supplying all of the concrete from his Ready-Mix plant on the east edge of town for this structure. (The Ready-Mix plant still stands much as it was then!) Also, two older cousins, brothers Jim and Frank Linnan, who were college students at the University of Iowa, were living with us and working on this project, which was a very good paying job with good hourly wages and, of course, long hours.

I remember that once they started pouring concrete for the grain silos, they had to continue nonstop until it was completed. They used slip forms that were jacked upward and were filled with wet concrete as the construction progressed. As I recall, my cousins worked long 12-hour shifts and walked home from work to our farm.

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At this point, I’m interrupting Mike’s essay. I’ll include the rest of it in the next post.  (Part of the remainder of his essay includes information about Mike’s family that he included for his daughters.)

For now, to quickly learn how (or to refresh your memory) the slip forms to which Mike referred were/are used to construct concrete grain elevators, please watch this 33-second YouTube video.

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* This oral history project was spearheaded by Mother.

** The silos to which Mike referred are the silos painted twice by Mother in the 1940s.

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

Red Flower Watercolor by Marion A. Gunderson

February 3, 2010

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In this trio of originals of Mother's watercolors, Red Flower, painted in 1969, is at the right. (Click photo to enlarge.)

Several of Mother’s (Marion Gunderson) original watercolors were on display at the November open house. These originals were either loose and displayed on tables, or framed. Open house guests were informed that if they had an interest in having a print made of any of the displayed watercolors, to make me aware of their desires. If there was enough interest in prints of any particular watercolor, I’d consider making prints available.

(Click image twice to enlarge.)

Two women attending the open house expressed interest in this Red Flower original. Voila! Because of their interest, prints of Red Flower are now available in three sizes.

Small unmatted*: 7″ W x 10″ H; $15

Medium: 10″ W x 14 3/8″ H; $25

Large: ~13.5″ W x ~19.5″ H limited edition; $40 (The original has the same dimensions.)

Wild Faces Gallery in Rolfe, Iowa, intends to have available at least one print of each size. I plan to have the same inventory at my home. The Rolfe Public Library plans to have at least one print of Red Flower available; however due to space/storage constraints there, the library might not always have one of every size.

If you are interested in viewing and/or purchasing a print(s), feel free to do so at Wild Faces Gallery in Rolfe (712-848-3399) or at the Rolfe Public Library (712-848-3143). You may also view and/or purchase prints by contacting me at mariongundersonart@gmail.com. In addition, I am happy to ship prints.

These Red Flower prints are gorgeous. Just take my word for it. These prints are g-o-r-g-e-o-u-s.

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* From time to time we’ll have this small size available with a pre-selected double mat option. The matted print will fit in a standard size 11″ x 14″ frame. When this pre-selected mat option is available, the matted print will be $29. We’ve started offering this matting on more small-sized prints because at the open house this option to fit in a standard size frame was so popular.

To see images of additional prints of Mother’s watercolors, click on “View and Order Prints” at the right side of this blog’s home page.

“Church Yard” Watercolor — Deliciously Creepy!

October 18, 2009

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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.)

Blue Hat and Iowa Corn (Part III)

July 12, 2009

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(To read “Part I” click here.)

(To read “Part II” click here.)

~ Submitted by Clara Gunderson Hoover

Iowa Corn watercolor by Mother (Marion Gunderson), 19--.

"Iowa Corn" watercolor by Mother (Marion Gunderson), 1956. (Click photo to enlarge.)

When I saw Bill and Judy Carmichael’s Ear of Iowa Corn, it seemed very similar to a painting Mother had given Sara (Olerich) and Dale Schoenefeld as a wedding present.  Mother painted that painting, Iowa Corn, in 1956.  Sara and Dale’s Iowa Corn was not in the small photo album Mother had created of most of her paintings, nor did I remember this painting until Sara mentioned it to me and, in 2006, sent me photographs of it. more…

Blue Hat and Iowa Corn (Part II)

July 10, 2009

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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. more…

Blue Hat and Iowa Corn (Part I)

July 8, 2009

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Almost dusk after RAGBRAI bicyclers had passed through Rolfe, Iowa, on July 23, 2007.  (Click photo to enlarge.)

The view from Highway 15, looking east into Rolfe, Iowa, at almost dusk after RAGBRAI cyclists had passed through on July 23, 2007. (Click photo to enlarge.)

~ Submitted by Clara Gunderson Hoover

When RAGBRAI went through Rolfe on July 23, 2007, most of our family spent the day in town and enjoyed the many bicyclers and onlookers who talked with our father and visited his Cy sculpture on Garfield Street.  In fact, my husband Hal and I had just concluded our Okoboji vacation in time to be in Rolfe for RAGBRAI. more…

A Makeover for Santa

June 27, 2009

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When I show prints of Mother’s (Marion Gunderson) Santa, right off the bat I explain that Santa isn’t one of Mother’s best works.  As a matter of fact, the original had been passed by and left in a portfolio in a closet at Gunderland until Christmas Day of 2003.  Santa needed a makeover.

Christmas Day, 2003 -- Katie and Santa.  Mother had just returned to the Rolfe Care Center after having Christmas dinner at the farm.

Christmas Day, 2003 -- Katie (our younger daughter) and Santa. Mother had just returned to the Rolfe Care Center after having Christmas dinner at the farm. Click photo to enlarge.

Mother moved to Rolfe’s (Iowa) nursing home the fall of 2003.  In December that year she was still well enough to spend a few hours with family at Gunderland (the farm) on Christmas Day.

After she returned to the Rolfe Care Center that day, several of us family members perused Mother’s portfolios.  I fell in love with Santa.  Within days, Mother granted me permission to have Santa in my home.

In November of 2004 I had Santa matted and framed.  Later that month, I took Santa to the Rolfe Care Center so Mother could visualize the mats and moulding I had chosen for Santa. more…

Watercolor and Fire in Rolfe, Iowa

June 25, 2009

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Rolfe grain elevator watercolor by Marion Gunderson, circa 1950.  Click photo to enlarge.

Rolfe, Iowa, "Grain Elevator" watercolor by Marion Gunderson, circa 1950. Limited edition prints size 13.25" W x 17.25" H are $35. Click photo to enlarge.

Mother (Marion Gunderson) painted this Rolfe, Iowa, Grain Elevator watercolor in approximately 1950. As the article below describes, this grain elevator burned on November 12, 1969. I was in eighth grade that fall. The only recollection I have of the elevator and/or it burning was that my father (Deane Gunderson) took me into town that night. Staying in the car, we watched the blaze from a distance, probably near/at the golf course.

As can be expected, viewing the colors of this watercolor image online, the colors and detail look different in contrast to the actual print and original painting.

Rolfe elevator fire article 1200 W

Click photo to enlarge (and then, if your computer allows, click again to enlarge even more). Posted with permission from the Pocahontas Record-Democrat.

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I obtained this article copy by looking through microfilm at the Pocahontas (Iowa) Public Library. (It’s easy as pie to view the microfilm, entertaining, and free.) I did not include the article’s photos because on the microfilm they are almost 100% blackened.

If anyone has a photo of this grain elevator before, during or after the fire, I would appreciate seeing it (and posting if permission would be granted).

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The Updike Grain Company.  Click photo to enlarge.  From the collection of the Rolfe Pro Cooperative.

The Updike Grain Company. Click photo to enlarge. From the collection of the Rolfe Pro Cooperative.

The article includes history regarding previous Rolfe grain elevators. One mentioned in particular is the Updike Grain Company, shown in this black and white photo.  The Updike Grain Company was destroyed by fire on November 29, 1914.  Before it was destroyed, it was located on the site where the future Charlton Grain Company elevator (in Mother’s watercolor) was built.  Also shown in this photo is the J. & W. C. Shull Lumber and Coal.

The last paragraph of the article mentions C. L. Gunderson (Charles Lewis), my great-grandfather.

For information about prints availability, please click here.

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Gilmore City, Iowa — Rich Watercolor, Rich Heritage

June 24, 2009

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"Railway Station and Grain Elevator" at Gilmore City, Iowa, painted in 1951. 17.25" W x 13.25" H limited edition prints are available, $35. For those who wish to display the watercolors of the Rolfe, Gilmore City, and Pocahontas I grain elevators in a grouping, we have chosen this standard size for all three. Also, if matted, a standard sized frame may be used instead of a custom frame.

"Railway Station and Grain Elevator" at Gilmore City, Iowa, painted in 1951. 17.25" W x 13.25" H limited edition prints are available, $35. For those who wish to display the watercolors of the Rolfe, Gilmore City, and Pocahontas I grain elevators in a grouping, we have chosen this standard size for all three. Also, if matted, a standard sized frame may be used instead of a custom frame. Click photo to enlarge.

On my monitor, this digital image is not nearly as rich-colored and vivid as the actual painting/print.  I love that Mother (Marion Gunderson) included three landmarks in this Gilmore City, Iowa, watercolor.

Gilmore City, Iowa, June 22, 2009.  Click photo to enlarge.

Gilmore City, Iowa, June 22, 2009. Click photo to enlarge.

Last night I took photos from approximately the same vantage point I believe Mother had for this Gilmore City painting.  I’m including a day-old photo to compare with Mother’s 1951 watercolor of Gilmore City.

According to the Pocahontas County, Iowa, History compiled in 1981, “Misfortune struck in the spring of 1947 when a fire of undetermined origin destroyed the main wooden elevator in Gilmore City.  That fall the Board voted to replace the destroyed structure with a new cement elevator.  This was to be the first elevator made entirely out of cement in this part of the country.  The Board of Directors and the managers spent many long hours of study on the plans of this new 125,000 bushel capacity elevator.  The cost of this new facility was approximately 60 cents per bushel capacity or $75,000.”* more…