The Ottumwa Courier

October 9, 2013

Capturing the light

Courier correspondent

---- — BENTONSPORT — Gin Lammert sees light in a way most people may not.

As a painter, Lammert looks for the subtle changes light creates, and she's always searching for what may not be obvious at first glance. She can capture the light in a moment of time and portray that beautifully on canvas.

Lammert is best known for her pastel and oil work in portraits and landscapes. She's been painting since the mid-1970s and studied under Richard Dutton at Indian Hills Community College. She is currently an artist-in-residence at Bentonsport Iron & Lace. With the Des Moines River in view, Lammert paints by a window in the store and greets visitors. It is an ideal setting to work in and one that she deeply appreciates.

Her primary subjects are portrait, still life, allegorical and landscape/plein air in soft pastel and oil. Lammert's work is on display at the White Oak Gallery in Albia, the M & J Art Gallery in Ottumwa, the Burns Gallery and Tea Emporium in Bonaparte and the Courtyard Gallery and Studio in Bloomfield.

“I have a strong influence from the impressionists,” Lammert explains, “I've evolved from a detailed pencil work to a more traditional impressionistic style, and it shows in my landscapes and still lifes.”

Lammert began very early and like most children, she loved coloring books. She then began drawing sketches of eyes and horses. She worked with pencil and pen ink for 15 years and then in 1995, she bought a book about pastels and taught herself.

“I'm a visual person, always have been,” Lammert explained. “Drawing has always been easy for me. With painting, I feel like I'm still learning and it will be a never-ending journey. Most of my work is representational. I like to go for likeness.”

Lammert is president of the Van Buren Arts Council, she teaches classes for the Villages Folk School and she's also a member of the Iowa Pastel Society.

“With the Villages Folk School, I teach students how to observe surroundings and how it is all based on values, warms and cools — universal techniques. With the plein air method, we work outside, and it forces you to observe light and how it changes. You have to work quickly.”

Lammert has illustrated a book by Libby Sample available on and is currently working on a picture book that will come out sometime next year, featuring artwork based on the people, places and passions of Davis and Van Buren counties. Lammert has also done an Art Noveau label for the Tassel Ridge Winery, which is set for release in November.

Along with other fine artists and fine art craftsman, Lammert will be demonstrating her approach to creating with pastels at the Iron & Lace store in Bentonsport during the Southeast Iowa Artists' Studio Tour from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 19 and from noon to 4 p.m. Oct. 20.

More information about her blog, events, online gallery and contact info, visit