Archive for the ‘Watercolor’ Category

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 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.


Marion Gunderson, Her Watercolors, and the 1951 Des Moines Tribune

November 19, 2009

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"A Busy Mother Heads Art Week," Des Moines Tribune Oct. 31, 1951. (Click twice on article to enlarge text.)

This newspaper article is on the back of the framed original of Ear of Iowa Corn, painted by Mother and owned by Bill Carmichael at West Lake Okoboji, Iowa.

Our family had no knowledge of this painting until July of 2007 when RAGBRAI went through Rolfe. A year later, Carmichaels were kind enough to let my oldest sister, Clara, take photos of their original corn watercolor, painted by Mother. You can imagine Clara’s surprise and glee (yes…I think glee!) when she discovered this article in a plastic protector on the back of the framed painting.

The article is from the October 31, 1951, Des Moines Tribune. Peggy was born just 30 days prior. I was born four years later. Meaning that at the time of this article, Mother had five children ages nine and younger. In Mother’s 1980 (or ’81) oral history she said, “Much of my painting was done after eight o’clock in the evening when the children were in bed because I just didn’t have time earlier.”

It is amazing that after days that I’m sure were frequently long with five children, Mother had the get-up-and-go to reserve time and energy for painting in the late evenings. And, to exhibit around the state of Iowa.

What a marvelous photo of Mother at the bottom of this article. And, I love the columnist’s use of the word “brilliant” (second column) to describe Mother’s watercolors. It’s so very true. See for yourself by taking a look at two watercolors she painted in 1951, the same year this article was published: Railway Station and Grain Elevator (Gilmore City, Iowa) and in Depot (Rolfe, Iowa).

If you didn’t already click twice on the article to read it, I hope you will.

Also, in case you didn’t catch last week’s (11-10-09) Des Moines Register article about Mother, you may click here to read it.  (Update on December 13, 2009:  The article is no longer posted on the Des Moines Register web site.  If you email me to let me know you’d like I a digital copy of it, I’ll email it to you. ) The article is an endearing story about Mother.  It also explains how the profit from prints of her watercolors is funding the Rolfe, Iowa, oral history project she spearheaded in 1980-81.

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This article is posted with permission from the Des Moines Register.

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“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.)

Etsy? What? I’m doing what with Marion the Librarian’s watercolors?

October 3, 2009

My intent was to have completed two more posts about Oregon by now.  Then I got the flu last Tuesday through Thursday and worked yesterday (i.e., was a substitute fifth grade teacher).

What I’ve R-E-A-L-L-Y been spending time on last night and all of today is working to list/sell prints of Mother’s (Marion Gunderson) watercolors on Etsy.  I’ll put the profits toward funding the giclee printing expenses of the Rolfe (Iowa) Public Library fundraiser. 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…

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, 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  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.

If It Weren’t for Ruth Simonson and Reigelsbergers . . .

June 8, 2009

(For background information to this post, please scroll down to the first post in this blog, “Watercolors to John Deere.”)

Last September, my father’s (Deane Gunderson) former farming neighbors, Joe and Norine Reigelsberger, returned to my father three of Mother’s (Marion Gunderson) watercolors. (Mother passed away in 2004 at the age of eighty-five.)  Each painting was of an Iowa grain elevator including one at Gilmore City, one at Pocahontas, and one at Rolfe, painted in 1951, 1949, and circa 1950, respectively.  I am fortunate to now display these paintings in my home.

Last spring after I left the three paintings at Wild Faces Gallery (aka “Mona’s”) in Rolfe for Mona Majorowicz to frame, Ruth Simonson from Rolfe was in the gallery.  Ruth noticed Mother’s paintings and took a more…

Watercolors to John Deere

June 1, 2009
Mother's signature on one of the returned watercolors

Mother's signature on one of the returned watercolors

Decades ago, my mother, Marion Gunderson, sold to a neighboring farming couple a few watercolors she painted in the late 1940s/early 1950s. Since she painted these before I was born, I was only vaguely aware these watercolors existed.

Last September my father, Deane Gunderson, a retired farmer who also worked in the 1940s as an engineer for John Deere, celebrated his 90th birthday. (Engineers are artists in a way!) In honor of my father’s 90th, the neighboring farming couple (now retired and moved into town—Rolfe, Iowa) returned three of these paintings to my father. My father had me ask more