The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

May 4, 2014

Combining art and observation to make masterpieces

ELDON — Have you ever stopped to take a good, close look at the flowers in springtime? That's what a good artist does, several art students learned Saturday.

At the wildflower pastel class at the American Gothic House Center, 11 budding artists strolled through the gardens and learned how to use pastel chalk to turn sketches into colorful finished projects.

Created specifically for students in kindergarten through sixth grade, the class was led by local artist Chris Abigt. She explained at the very beginning of the afternoon that she had been painting since the fourth grade, which was the exact age of many of the children in the workshop.

The weird winter in southeast Iowa has delayed the blooming of many flowers, but Abigt directed them to the ones that were — Prairie Smoke. With sketch books in hand, she had them sitting next to the flowers and examining them from top to bottom.

"Notice what's special about them," she instructed. "All flowers are different, so look at their leaves and what the flower does. Pay attention to those kind of things."

After their sketches were complete, they returned to the tables to put chalk to paper and create their masterpieces.

As much as this class was about learning a new art technique, Abigt says the hour was also about really seeing details.

"The goal is for them to learn to observe in all of their surroundings," she said. "It's not just seeing flowers, but observing so much more. That can help them in all areas of their life."

The wildflower class was just one of the American Gothic House Center's efforts to offer a wide range of activities for Eldon and the surrounding communities.

"We try to do diverse programming, and there are so many ways to reach different ages," Administrator Holly Berg said. "We thought this would be a good age to start with, and maybe in the future we can do one for adults."

While the center holds lectures during the year geared toward adults and offers an ever-changing exhibit room for visitors, Berg says the most interest is always in the children's programs. The upcoming American Gothic Days, June 13-15, will provide a variety of activities for all ages, from the 5K to the art contest to the bike ride.

— Follow reporter Laura Carrell on Twitter @CourierLauraC

Text Only
Local News
  • 0723 OTT Riverfront color photo -L -M Ideas flow at Riverfront Renaissance workshop OTTUMWA — Ideas flowed as freely as the river itself Tuesday evening as more than 100 Ottumwans shared their vision of what the riverfront can be.The Riverfront Renaissance design charrette, sponsored by the Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, drew p

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Kids … not cash OTTUMWA — From a project that started with nothing, supporters created a top-notch education facility for at-risk youth. Someone in on the project from the beginning shared the story. Wapello County Supervisor Jerry Parker addressed a community advis

    July 22, 2014

  • Staying healthy during extreme heat OTTUMWA — After unusually cool temperatures last week, it may have been easy to forget how the heat of summer feels, but an incoming heat wave will quickly remind you. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, heat is the No.

    July 22, 2014

  • Shooting ruled homicide OTTUMWA — The death of a man shot in Wapello County has been ruled a homicide. The Wapello County Sheriff’s Office on Monday received a 911 call of a shooting 4 miles southwest of Ottumwa. Deputies discovered Clinton Gus Leedom, 49, of Bloomfield, to

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723 OTT flood file photo Over $1 million to fight floods EDDYVILLE — It's not the way a town wants to get $1 million, but the damage suffered by Eddyville in recent floods has prompted the federal government to cut a check. Actually, it's Area 15 Regional Planning Commission, a community assistance agency

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Driver's license services temporarily suspended KEOSAUQUA — Van Buren County Treasurer’s Office has notified the Iowa Department of Transportation that it has suspended driver’s license services due to staffing issues in the county treasurer’s office. It is anticipated suspension of the services

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723 OTT Canoe Camp color photo -L -M -T Canoe Camp teaches water safety OTTUMWA — Six children at Pioneer Nature Area and Nature Center pond were making waves and getting wet as they flipped their canoes over in attempt to rescue each other. Since summertime and water activities go hand-in-hand, the goal of the activity

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0723 OTT Seth Techel mugshot -T Techel jury may begin deliberations Wednesday DAVENPORT — The jury in the third trial of a Wapello County man accused of murdering his wife may begin deliberations as early as Wednesday in Scott County, Davenport. The jury was excused mid-afternoon Tuesday while Judge Daniel Wilson, who continue

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Three appointed to Board of Adjustment OTTUMWA — Three new faces will appear on Wapello County Board of Adjustment, thanks to help from the county’s newspaper of record, the Ottumwa Courier. Four applicants applied for the positions and three were selected. New members include Marcia Week

    July 22, 2014

  • Slain woman's boyfriend: I didn't kill her DAVENPORT — A married man who had an affair with a slain Wapello County woman testified this morning that he did not kill her. Jason Tinnes, a jailer who worked with the late Lisa Caldwell Techel, said their affair ended shortly before she died. Tinn

    July 22, 2014

Photo reprints