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Local Artists Display Artwork at Ashford Gallery

Two local artists will display their paintings, drawings and collages in Ashford University’s Cortona Art Gallery October 10-27.

The two-person show will feature the nature-based artwork of Delores Solberg and Debora Stewart, both of Clinton. A reception will be held in the Gallery on Sunday, Oct. 15 from 1-4 p.m.

 “For as long as I can remember, I have been enchanted by, and in awe of the mysteries of nature,” Solberg said. “Nature is inexhaustible – more than I could hope to understand in one lifetime.”

Solberg, who received her education from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, chose animals as the subjects of her paintings “because I am passionate about them. I strive for purity of emotional expression. I seek to portray their spirit, essence and dignity. Animals are authentic unto themselves.”

Watercolor is Solberg’s favorite medium, though she also uses charcoal, pastel or acrylic in some paintings. “I build multiple layers of color, sometimes deleting an area and adding more in another until I achieve my desired result.”

The exhibit at Ashford will also include some examples of her collages. “Collage interests me in experimentation of design, texture and spatial relationships involving a variety of materials, but often using snakeskin as one design element. The shed skin has the texture of paper and is very pliable when wet,” she said. She also uses rice paper and “found woodland treasures.”

Stewart’s artwork is also inspired by nature. “Drawing is my way of meditation,” she said. “My goal is to immerse myself and the viewer in the image and to utilize art as a spiritual experience. Nature is the foundation for all of my images.”

The source of Stewart’s images come from small segments of photographs she has taken. “The small drawings and paintings are rearranged into a larger composition,” she said. “The plant forms transition to photograph and then to drawing. There are many variations in how nature is viewed, experienced and then represented. Small squares are utilized to show the act of looking and experiencing nature and its many transitions.”

Stewart, who earned a B.A. from The University of Iowa and an M.S. from Western Illinois University, said, “My goal is to create artwork that reflects the spirit and mystery of the natural world.”

“I have a love of drawing,” she said. “I love the immediacy of drawing and the feel of the charcoal or pastel on the paper. There are several layers in my drawings and pastels. I often start with a charcoal drawing and then blend pastel colors over the top. This creates a velvety richness of textures and colors. Touching and manipulating the drawing is important to me. I strive to create an emotional connection to the image through the intuitive and expressionistic use of colors.”

Solberg and Stewart have both shown their artwork at exhibits since the 1980s.

The Cortona Gallery, located on the second floor of the University’s Clare Hall, 400 N. Bluff Blvd., is named for Sister Cortona Phelan, OSF, former president of Mount St. Clare College and former president of the Sisters of St. Francis.  She influenced the quality of education at the College through her teaching of American history and her love of the arts for many years.  She also served as MSC Academy Principal and as Dean of Students at the College.

The free art gallery is open 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on weekdays and for private showings by appointment. For further information, interested persons can call 563.242.4023.

            Founded in 1918 as Mount St. Clare College in Clinton, Iowa, Ashford University is a coeducational institution regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, with programs in education, business, accounting, criminal and social justice, computer animation and graphic design, and other areas.  The University offers undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as a range of student activities and athletics, at its Clinton campus.  Online degree programs are available in education, organizational management, business administration, and psychology.  The University is known for its high quality yet highly affordable on-campus and online programs, with tuition fees among the lowest in the U.S. compared to other private institutionsIts tagline is: “Higher Education Made Affordable”SM.  For more information, please visit