Painter Kathy Fairchild Artist Guest in August

                                                          Kathy Fairchild at VIVA Gallery in August

VIVA Gallery’s monthly First Thursday artist reception, to be held on August 4, will feature watercolor artist Kathy Fairchild, who resides in Westby with her husband Paul. She has contributed much to the community since moving here in 1975, and the love she has for the area is apparent in her paintings, whether landscapes, florals or portraits.

Kathy graduated from Ohio State University with a B.S. in Arts Education, with a focus on film and photography. Work as a photographer, non-profit manager, administrative assistant to architects and engineers and helping to produce the weekly newspaper the Kickapoo Scout gave her a chance to learn a lot about the workings of the world.

As film gave way to the digital world, Kathy decided to return to painting. At the time, watercolor seemed the most appealing choice. She had no experience with the challenging medium and began painting with the Vernon County Plein Air Painters in 2003. In the ensuing years, her work has matured in composition, color and style. Regular painting sessions have provided the opportunity to observe and learn from others, and studio models during the winter months have allowed her to develop skills in painting the human figure.

Kathy officially retired in late 2014, and retirement has meant time for more travel and the opportunity to paint new environs. She continues to do some plein air work and also produces studio paintings from photos taken in her travels. Of late, the evolution of manmade structures and the natural grandeur of landscapes seem to most hold her interest.

Kathy’s watercolors, along with the works of VIVA’s member artists, will be featured at VIVA’s First Thursday reception on August 4 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm. The gallery is located at 217 South Main Street in Viroqua.For more information about this and future First Thursday events, contact the gallery at 608- 637-6918 or 

Printmaker Cody Bartz in July

                                                                                ARTIST STATEMENT
                                                                        Cody Bartz

I have a love for technology and a passion for art. I have a growing interest in combining the two.
Screenprinting has become my medium of choice. For me it combines the technical abilities of the computer, and the handmade qualities of printmaking. It is in this juxtaposition that I find dynamic expressions can occur.
My work focuses on merging of images, a collage of sort. I enjoy taking old materials and images and finding new meaning for them, recycling them. It is pleasing for me to give these images a fresh visual look as well as a new interpretation. It is amazing how imagery starting from different origins, goes through a digital maze, finds its way into my hands, and ends up on a piece of paper. 

DAAF Winner of Peoples Choice JAMIE HEIDEN

VIVA Gallery’s monthly First Thursday artist reception will be held on May 5, and Jamie Heiden will be the featured guest artist. VIVA Gallery is the sponsor of the Driftless Area Art Festival’s People’s Choice Award, which Jamie won at last September’s festival. Jamie also won this award in 2010, 2011 and 2012, leaving no doubt of the popularity of her work with the viewing public.

Jamie lives in the northern half of the beautiful Driftless near Holmen, Wisconsin. For as long as she can remember, she has been a collector of images. She stores them in her mind; she captures them with her camera. For her, a picture really can tell a storyone of beauty or despair, hope or loneliness, laughter or fear. An image can be magnificent or it can show the brilliance and magic lying dormant within the ordinary. Life’s simplicity is her inspiration and conveying that story is her goal. She finds a little fairy tale every single day."

Jamie received her degree in photography from Northern Arizona University. Polaroid transfers, along with hand-tinted black-and-white fiber prints, once served to satisfy her cravings for texture and color. In her current work, she has found a digital solution to those techniques, using a combination of multiple photographic layers. Recently she began experimenting in photo-encaustic, a natural fit with her already atmospheric images. Jamie shows her work in galleries throughout the Midwest as well as internationally. She has been published in Somerset’s Digital Studio and Digital Inspiration, among others, and has a growing number of book covers to her credit, working with publishers such as Random House, Harper-Collins, and Simon and Schuster. 

Painting with Ink, Guest Artist Clyde Paton

Clyde Paton is VIVA Gallery’s April Guest Artist

VIVA Gallery’s monthly First Thursday artist reception will be held on April 7, and Clyde Paton will be the featured guest artist.  Clyde has combined a career in museum exhibition with life as a painter, and has experimented with pottery, bookbinding and other arts.

Clyde graduated from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago in 1975, having majored in painting, printmaking and art education.  Since 1979 until his retirement two years ago, he worked as an art handler, first as head preparator in the Print and Drawing Department at the Art Institute of Chicago, then as chief preparator at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC, and most recently as a self-employed contract art handler and artist.

Clyde moved to Wisconsin two years ago, and has made Mineral Point, in particular, the subject of his art.  The works that will be displayed, painted with ink and brush, include barn interiors, the Mineral Point Opera House and the studios of fellow artists. “I draw the places where I live and work,” Clyde says, “and try to make it all one narrative.”

Clyde’s work in ink and brush, along with the works of VIVA’s member artists, will be featured at VIVA’s First Thursday reception on April 7 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm.  The gallery is located at 217 South Main Street in Viroqua.  For more information about this and future First Thursday events, contact the gallery at 608-637-6918 or  

Stacie Anthony February Guest ~ Jewelry & Chocolate in February

Stacie has a degree in metalsmithing with a foundation in fashion from Mount Mary College, a women’s university in Milwaukee. An emphasis on sculpture is evident in her work, combining traditional silversmithing with innovative materials and techniques. Stacie was inspired early on by the “Venus of Willendorf” a Paleolithic goddess fetish; this began her focus on ancient culture and raw, organic nature. Her work is characterized by its metalworked imagery in sterling and bronze, and the inclusion of unique, genuine gems and stones. A deep, dark patina adds to the primitive quality of her pieces and many works seem to come from another period in time.

Stacie is the owner of Gary’s Rock Shop, a specialty nature store located on Main Street, Viroqua.

In the Light - January VIVA Show

VIVA Gallery is brightening up January with a member show we are calling "Into the Light".  Members have been given free rein to create a piece(s) of art that reflect this theme.

Although we wont list all the things you will see, here are some enticing examples that should make you want to visit the gallery and view the new works. MLou Wilkie is creating a lovely stained glass piece that features two birds soaring toward the sun. Ann Tedeschis watercolor painting of sparkling icicles is just like looking out a window on a bright winters day. Sunlight dapples a picturesque path in an oil painting by Paul Bergquist. The recent lunar eclipse is captured by the lens of Jerry Quebe. Deb Conlon takes you to warmer climes with three small oil paintings done in Key West. And Ken and Michelle Workowski took the theme most literally, creating some wonderful root lamps with handmade shades.

Seasonal Artisan Market 2015

VIVA Gallery will kick off its 4th annual Artisan Market at its monthly First Thursday opening on November 5. The market features the work of VIVA’s 18 member artists and several invited guest artists. With many different media on display, shoppers will have a delightful range of items from which to choose. And who wouldn’t like to choose beautiful and unique hand-crafted local items as gifts for the upcoming holiday season?
You might want to wrap up some fiber arts, like an intricate woven vest from Kathleen Aaker, a nature-inspired eco-printed textile from Sharlene Bohr, a masterfully woven scarf from Angela Feltes, or a beautifully embossed leather purse, belt and bowl by Daniel Gilbertson, all member artists. Guest artist Crystel Curley demonstrates her love of the practical and tactile with her colorful layered pot holders. If pottery pleases you, the bowls, tea sets and mugs of Maureen Karlstad are perennial favorites as are the tiles of Mark Herrling. Guest artists include Margy Jean Balwierz, who adds her colorful hand-made stoneware tiles and bowls to the mix, and Darrel Bowman, with his intentionally functional stoneware.
VIVA’s seven painters offer an amazing range of styles. The plein air paintings of Paul Bergquist and Deb Conlon capture the splendor of our Driftless landscape. The watercolors of Anne Tedeschi depict outdoor scenes and still lifes of indoor treasures; Bill Mapp’s watercolor and ink paintings portray people and animals in distinctive patterns. You’ll often find a small woodland creature in Fran Knapp’s ink paintings, which are a tribute to her natural surroundings. And you will likely find a cow or rooster among the oil paintings of Liz Quebe. Christine Larson’s bold and colorful paintings are a fun mix of contemporary and realism. And guest artist Mike Lind offers acrylics that explore the relationships between the topographical landscapes of the Driftless region and the flora and fauna (both natural and farmed) that inhabit these landscapes. 
Jewelry is always a perfect gift, and member artists make all styles of jewelry— beadwork from M’lou Wilkie, metalwork from Raelene Roberts, stone and wire works from Christine Larson and glass jewelry from Angela Feltes. Guest artist Ali Kauss handcrafts her work using the techniques of soldering, cutting, fusing, forging, reticulating, chasing, repousse and lots of hammering, while guest artist Jensine Wing is known for her lapidary.
Member artists Ken and Michelle Workowski will have their popular rustic bark mirrors, poplar bark baskets and delicate lamp shades, all made from elements native to our area. Jerry Quebe’s intricately constructed and beautifully finished cutting and serving boards are a great gift item, as are guest artist Terry Beck’s hand-carved wooden spoons.
Relief prints, etchings and monoprints by Mark Herrling, assemblages and photographs by Diane Dahl, prints by mixed media artist and illustrator Tammy Olson(a guest artist), and ornaments based on intricate color pencil drawings by guest artist Monica Jagel round out the incredible selection of artwork obtainable at VIVA.
Seasonal and holiday greeting cards will also be available, as will fun, creative chocolates from Roots Chocolate. Made in small batches on a 4th-generation family farm, each chocolate is a little work of art.