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I love this scene along the Great River Road, Balltown, Iowa so much, I've painted it more than once, but this time it's spring. "After the Storm" depicts a common site from this high vantage point. A spring thunderstorm is upon you and soon it movies on and the sun comes out as you see the storm continue to rain upon the farms and towns across the Mississippi River in Wisconsin.The air is scrubbed clean and the landscape is verdant shades green. Print on Canvas $175

Click here to see me paint this piece in Episode 17 of my series of demonstration videos on the Gary Olsen's Studio Channel on YouTube.

After the Storm

BCD004 24x36 inches on Canvas

 

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The View from Balltown Road - Autumn

BCD003 12x36 inches on canvas

This is a variation on an earlier painting I did for my 2014 University of Dubuque Show. I didn't want to do the painting over. I just wanted to see what it would look like with a palette of fall colors. I changed my angle and provided more detail on the farm buildings. I love the sky and how it compliments the warmer colors on the rolling countryside. This is one of our favorite views as we drive out to Breitbach's Country Dining in Balltown, Iowa for Sunday dinner. Print on canvas $150
 

This view is from the highest pomontory in Iowa, north of Dubuque in the tiny township of Balltown, Iowa. It's home to a Feedstore and a world famous restaurant, Breitbach's Country Dining. I wanted to capture the autumn colors and spectacular clouds over the Mississipp River in the valley below. Print on Canvas $175

View from the Great River Road at Balltown, IA

BCD002 24x36 inches on Canvas

 

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View from the Balltown Road Summer - on the way to Breitbach's

BCD001 Size 28x15 inches on Canvas

 

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My late father-in law, Francis Breitbach, loved this ride. My mother-in law’s family (Ellerbach) lived in Sherrill, so a car ride on the Balltown Road or Haberkorn Road was always a trip down memory lane. Frannie once said, “I worked all summer for the farmer that lived here just so I could afford a pair of boots.” Or this one from Linda’s mom, Leona: “We walked to school from our farm to town, and the road was so muddy we had to walk in the ditch. It was wet, but not as muddy.” Print on Canvas $125.

These are giclee prints of astounding quality. This amazing technology creates a dot of pigment the size of a red blood corpuscle. The result is a nearly grainless reproduction of incredible depth, clarity and color that will stand the test of time.

Dubuque Town Clock

P001 18x24 inches
on Archival Paper or Canvas

When you walk toward the town clock in the heart of downtown and look up at it on a Saturday morning with the sun rising in the east, this is what you see. My aim was to fill the canvas with this spectacular architectural treasure that has become an iconic symbol of Dubuque. Print on Archival Paper $100. Print on Canvas $150

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Farmers’ Market

P007 26x20 inches
on Archival Paper or Canvas

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When I first composed this piece that includes Pearl Ott on the right, I drew from several sources. I added the truck in the background, and later the silhouettes of the buildings. A friend of mine, Robin MacFarlane, a dog trainer, was visiting and said, “Why don’t you put a dog in the painting?” Indeed, people are always bringing their dogs to Farmers’ Market. Print on Archival Paper $75. Print on Canvas $100

Kohlrabies for Sale

P009 19x28 inches
on Canvas

This man’s name is Tom, and he helps out at one of the farm stands at Market. He was standing behind these enormous (and delicious I might add) kohlrabies. I love this member of the cabbage family, Anyhow, I used my smartphone and snapped reference shots of Tom and the kohlrabies separately so I could manage the composition better. I love this painting as much as the first two in this series. My hope is that someone purchases all three as a set. I’ll be sorry to see them separated. Print on Canvas $150

 

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Pearl Ott

P010 19x28 inches on Canvas

For my first art show in 1983, I featured a drawing of Pearl Ott, a fixture of Dubuque’s Farmers’ Market for decades. I rendered her as a pastel, also. But I see the drawing every day on the wall of my studio, a framed cover of that first program, and I just had to revisit this subject but this time with oil and canvas. She also needed some appropriate tulips in her weathered hands. This painting was the first of what I call my Farmers’ Market Triptych, three paintings of similar but complimentary subjects. I love Farmers’ Market and what it represents to this community. The healthy local food movement has its roots in farmers’ markets. I love these people. Print on Canvas $150

 

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The Onion Seller

P011 19x28 inches
on Canvas

This is another subject revisited from my 1983 sketchbook for my first art show at the University. A good friend owns the first watercolor study I did of this gentleman. I still had the sketch, and I reproduced it on canvas. I love how this turned out, and it compliments Pearl Ott’s painting on the previous page. The onions were painted completely free hand with no real reference, just memory and familiarity with onions. I love the green color of the part that grows above ground. Print on Canvas $150

 

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I love the repetition of roofs in this scene. So is this my favorite corner meaning this geological feature, or is it the little tavern pictured in the lower left corner of the canvas? I refer to every old timer’s saying about Dubuque, “There are more church steeples in Dubuque only exceeded by the number of taverns.” I included a billboard featuring Star Beer, the first beer I was served at the West Dubuque Tap when I first arrived in Dubuque to attend the University.Print on Canvas $150

My Favorite Corner

 

P012 24x19 inches on canvas

 

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I spend a lot of time on our Mississippi River and I had been noticing while fishing the large number of seagulls and white pelicans that have chosen to roost and feed in the abundant tail waters of Lock and Dam #11. These amazing birds swoop and dive into the water with a beak that functions like a landing net. Schools of fish are driven to the surface by fast currents as they pass over the wing dams. Print on Canvas $100

Ready for Takeoff

P013 18x13 inches on Canvas

 

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The two fine houses featured here were built by meat packer William “Hog” Ryan. We see St. Patrick’s bell tower and the tallest steeple in Iowa, St. Mary’s Church. I originally painted this scene many years ago. This view was obscured by overgrown trees. Recently these trees were removed from the bluff significantly expanding and improving the view. So I revisited the scene for this painting. Print on Canvas $150

The Ryan Sisters

P003 20x26 Print on Canvas

 

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Dubuque County Courthouse

P005 18.5x24 Archival Paper or Canvas

I have portraits hanging in the lobby of the Courthouse. They were commissioned to honor key officials in the restoration of this great architectural masterpiece and especially the installation of gold leaf on the dome for which I helped with fund-raising. The gold leaf was paid for entirely by citizens’ donations It is a symbol of how well Dubuquer’s can get behind a great idea. Print on Canvas $150

 

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The colorful homes of the Victorian Era were often referred to as “painted ladies.” Houses appear to be clinging to the the bluff tops, house upon house. Print on Canvas $150

 

Painted Ladies

P006 26x17 Print on Canvas

 

 

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