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Framing the Obvious in Siouxland and the Joslyn Museum, Omaha, NE

14 Dec

When out shooting sometimes I don’t really know what to expect until I see an image in front of me. During an outing with my Photo Safari class through the Lifelong Learning program at Western Iowa Tech Community College I was struck by some columns in downtown Sioux City.

in downtown Sioux City, Iowa Saturday Nov. 4, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

I never really noticed City Hall behind it until that night.

And during my trip to Council Bluffs and visiting the historic General Dodge House columns again caught my attention.

Columns line the porch of the Dodge House, former residence of one Gen. Greville M. Dodge, a Civil War Veteran and railroad builder who settled in Council Bluffs, Iowa Wednesday Oct. 4, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

As did a recent to to the Joslyn Museum in Omaha, NE. The architecture there in the building itself is as much a tribute to art and the art of building as are the works found within it. It was a good day to wander through the museum and enjoy the building and what it offers in and of itself.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Columns in the Joslyn Art Museum frame other building aspects in Omaha, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Columns in the Joslyn Art Museum frame other building aspects in Omaha, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Columns in the Joslyn Art Museum frame other building aspects in Omaha, NE Thursday Nov. 2, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

Celebrating Christmas in Siouxland, Plymouth County Museum

12 Dec

During the Christmas holiday, it is hard to escape the celebration. In the Midwest, Iowa and Siouxland people celebrate Christmas. Lights are up most places and Christmas music fills the air. Every year at the Plymouth County Museum it hosts a Nativity set display and a number of community members lend their displays for others to view. It is pretty amazing how many different examples of nativity sets there are.

A variety of nativity scenes are on display at the Plymouth County Historical Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A variety of nativity scenes are on display at the Plymouth County Historical Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

These nativity scenes are made out of a variety of material and hail from a plethora of locations all honoring the birth of Jesus. The craftmanship used to create some of these scenes are pretty amazing.

A variety of nativity scenes are on display at the Plymouth County Historical Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

A variety of nativity scenes are on display at the Plymouth County Historical Museum in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 25, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

The display takes up the most of the top floor of the museum, formerly a local high school. So it is a large space. I always find museums are fun places to visit. One can learn about the past, the present and people’s state of mind by viewing exhibits. And it’s a nice place to divert one’s attention on a blustery day reveling in the moment of a momentous holiday to some.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

The Christmas Season begins in Siouxland, Le Mars

22 Nov

Recently I participated in an artists’ open house in Siouxland, at the Le Mars Art Center. A number of artisans displayed their wares that included paintings, jewelry, pottery, pen and ink and even a gentleman who creates pen barrels for both ball point and fountain pens. I had a few prints hanging.

The Le Mars Art Center is decked out for the Christmas holiday during an open house for artists at the Art Center in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

 

Photos of the author hanging on the wall during an open house for artists at the Le Mars Art Center in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

An open house for artists to kick off the Christmas holiday season at the Le Mars Art Center in Le Mars, Iowa Saturday Nov. 11, 2017. (Photo by Jerry L Mennenga)

I stayed for about an hour and then needed to leave to meet a class for an outdoor photographic session for my Photo Safari class through Western Iowa Tech’s Lifelong Learning program. Which was fun in and of itself because a local nature preserve held its Christmas holiday celebration. So the seasonal fun begins as various organizations and places hold lighted parades, open houses and a joyful celebration of Christmas and the birth of Christ. And yes, all before we have celebrated Thanksgiving. And sometimes it seems these start earlier in the season but then as more are added to local calendars time is needed to allow people to attend. And they are always fun.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Seeing Color in Siouxland

20 Nov

Sometimes driving about Siouxland I see scenes or buildings that I really like and it all stems from their color and the light. During a walk in Storm Lake I came across a building near the campus of Buena Vista University. I liked the play of light on it, the texture that was revealed and its color.

Light and shadows on a storage shed in Storm Lake, Iowa Wednesday Sept. 6, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One morning on my way to another destination I stopped at the Museum Complex in Onawa because of how the light was striking some of the buildings there.

Hard light illuminates buildings at the Kiwanis Museum Complex in Onawa, Iowa Thursday Sept. 28, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Hard light illuminates buildings at the Kiwanis Museum Complex in Onawa, Iowa Thursday Sept. 28, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

These are not tremendous photos in and of themselves but I enjoy them all the same, at least the scene of the day I took the photos simply because of the play of light. It brings out the color. And that in and of itself to me is fun.

Hard light illuminates rail car at the Kiwanis Museum Complex in Onawa, Iowa Thursday Sept. 28, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

A colorful residence in Okoboji, Iowa Wednesday Oct.11, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

 

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

 

Artists on View in Siouxland, Le Mars Arts Council

2 Nov

In another week or so I and some other area artists will put our work on view at the Le Mars Arts Council Art Center. I have not participated in such an endeavor since the mid-1990’s when a gentleman I knew invited me along to show some work in Lake Tahoe, California during an art show there. My work pales in comparison with a lot others work I have seen and see. The tempting thing about exhibiting in Lake Tahoe was that I had a day off and went hiking up into one of the high peaks and hung out at a crystal clear lake.

But in November those interested can view a variety of work at the Art Center’s open house. I feel very humbled to be able to participate.

The Le Mars Arts Council art center Le Mars, Iowa Tuesday Oct. 17, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

Pastel prints on display at the Le Mars Arts Council art center in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday Oct.12, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

A photograph on display at the Le Mars Arts Council art center in Le Mars, Iowa Wednesday Oct.12, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

The person putting this all together is the center’s administrator Judy Marienau. A wonderful woman who is excited about seeing everyone’s work.

Le Mars Arts Council administrator Judy Marienau working at the Art center in Le Mars, Iowa Tuesday Oct. 17, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have been through a lot of art centers as I have lived in various parts around the country when I previously worked for newspapers. And I enjoy it immensely looking at the work and getting a chance to talk with the various artists.  There is no limitation to some of these people’s imagination and their skill in the chose medium they work in. Even if one is not “rich” enough to take away a couple of pieces to later enjoy in one’s own abode, you are enriched by viewing and admiring the work of these artists.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Pushing Photography Boundary in Siouxland, Pastel Art and Prints

29 Oct

Early this winter I am attempting a new type of class for me at the local community college and for some my former students in the Lifelong Learning classes I teach. Over the years I have dabbled in doing pastel work, chalk and pencil on some of the photographs I have shot and printed on watercolor paper. I have no formal training in art, or really photography for that matter, but the latter a few classes doing undergraduate work and then a lot of on-the-job learning over my 25+ years working as a newspaper staff photographer at various publications.

So I believe my pastel work is rough. I equate myself more in the realm of Grandma Moses than anyone else, and I am certain I am not even close to her in talent. But I enjoy doing the work. And it is amazing to me that sometimes the work comes out looking as I might expect it and at other times I find myself going someplace I didn’t know was there.

A not quite finished pastel on print artwork or work in progress, Sioux City, Iowa Sunday Oct. 8, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

One expression of a particular image done in pastel on a print artwork, Sioux City, Iowa Sunday Oct. 17, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

And the above piece looks different from one I did earlier on another print.

One expression of a particular image done in pastel on a print artwork, Sioux City, Iowa Sunday Oct. 17, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

I have looked at a few youtube videos checking out technique, and did take a couple classes when living in southern California from an artist who also taught at the local community college. She taught using pastel chalk and because I was shooting a lot news events at the time for newspapers, I wasn’t really interested in realism. She favored French artists and would always exclaim during a class, “More color, more color,” to everyone.

I find this as another way of exploring Siouxland and hope to pass on to others some semblance of knowledge and a desire to push their “art” beyond whatever boundary they may have to learn to see in a different manner and to have some fun creating.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

Exploring with a “toy camera” in Siouxland, Vermillion, SD

17 Oct

With the Fuji X series cameras that I use to photograph with I enjoy sometimes “playing” with some of the special features. Especially the “toy camera” feature. It is reminiscent to me of using a Holga plastic camera when I previously shot film. This setting augments reality and with some subjects add a little something to the image. At least I think so.

Pigeons take flight around a grain elevator in Vermillion, SD Saturday Sept. 16, 2017. (photo by Jerry L Mennenga©)

It creates a bit of a vignette and softens the image and sometimes adds a bit of color saturation. Walking around Vermillion where I have been numerous times I enjoy changing up the types of images I might capture. And sometimes I believe it depends on the type of day and weather with how this effect interacts with the subject in creating the image. I think one should always continue exploring how one sees and within limits and a budget limit if one needs too, how to photograph subjects and they sharing that different view with others.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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