“2020 Wish List”

This has been a year to remember – and get through! Many good aspects along with the tragic and frightening. The first that comes to mind is how technology has contributed to the general welfare: zooming, FaceTime, texting, Netflix.

Online shopping and home delivery has kept us out of stores. Masking and social distancing is improving at year’s end.

Free vaccination for all will help us remember 2021 as the year we started to feel safe again.  Good wishes to you!

… with the River Arts Alliance of Winona, Minn. I discovered this active group by accident. It’s been going for twenty years, but I’m one of the new members.  The River Arts Alliance is a multidisciplinary – music, poetry, visual art, education – organization.  Their web address is:


You can see presenters’ images on RAA website.

I sent these ones in.  For a closer look, highlight each image and scroll:


Warming up.

I believe my left hand IS like a musical instrument; it needs to be warmed up each day in order to hit the notes in the way that looks specific to me.  If I’ve been away from the studio, it can take me two weeks before my eye/hand coordination is back. So I’m always looking for ways to warm up my hand.

Pets: Ellie, Ted, and Petey have been my warm-up subjects over the years.

Ellie, was a beautiful black princess, dressed in Laborador mix clothes.  She was a stray that ASPCA came across in downtown Madison, Wi, at the end of a college term.  Pregnant, starving.


Then, Ted, a miniature poodle.  He was my good buddy and studio companion for nearly fifteen years.  I painted the last piece shortly after  he passed away.  That was where he rested quietly while I worked.  When I painted the large Arboretum Walk show, I laid the paper canvases across my studio floor with six inch pathways.  Ted walked the pathways as deftly as a cat.

And now, Petey, a Havanese.  Americans pronounce this name as if it were “PD.”  That’s Petey’s real name.  History.  For 48 years, we lived north of Hwy PD; now in our retirement we live south of PD.  Petey’s forefathers came over from Cuba in 1959-the year I was there for my senior year in high school.  His AKC name is Spanish for “prairie dog” (Perro De las Praderas)

There were the times when pets had enough of my requests to sit still.  No problem.

In the early nineteen eighties, I had been saving a large box of soft dolls and toys that our children had grown out of.  (That is, I was saving them to give to our four when they became parents.   I was thinking grandkids would enjoy knowing what toys their parents had when they were children.)  So these toys and our pets were two sorts of warm up subject matter when my husband was out of town.   I could fill a huge venue of warm-up portraits of Dave and then fill it up all over again with portraits of myself.  (I won’t be doing that.)

Some of the warm-up drawings became paintings, but the real goal was “warm-up!” LAMB evolved into an acrylic painting from several Ebony pencil studies.  I can’t remember all of their names and maybe some didn’t have names.  Can’t remember.  Long ago.

I didn’t work in a linear way.  Some days I browsed sketches of toys and got out my acrylics or watercolors for more finished portraits.

I’m going through everything I’ve done over the years, organizing and choosing, labeling and framing. My plan has been to have a retrospective at the very large space at Commonwealth Gallery in 2021. I will be eighty years old and it’s time! Well, it’s time for the retrospective but I can’t enter that enclosed space even long enough to hang an exhibition. So I am gathering what I can for an internet retrospective. Not entirely thought out yet, but this is the plan.
No need for my parents to keep my little kid artwork; I stored representative pieces in boxes. I carried them off to my college dorm when I left home and into marriage and then shipped them here to Wisconsin in 1964. The oldest that I have is a drawing of a person who is crying so long and so hard that the tears extend below the lower edge of the paper. I see that little drawing as my springboard into as honestly depicted a life as I have been able.
I’ve said many times that a studio artist’s personal times become the energy of professional expression. Hmm, I don’t think I’ve used those words. I’ll find my exact words and add them in.

Here they are: “In the art world, we become accustomed to blurred lines between what is personal and what is professional. We make objects from the energy of our deepest feelings and then share them with human beings we may never see. Objects that were created with a playful attitude take their places in professional settings and public art collections.”

Oh, I’m reading this post I started last winter – before Cov 19 hit. What I can do is speak to what we are going through now. I have a series started that I call “Social Distancing.” Only some of the paintings I’m working on now have to do with that. I’m letting them come to mind as they do.

c virginia.huber “No-Sew Mask” – watercolor – 8″ x 11″ – 2020.


In 2017 I was able to present my third large scale exhibition of watercolor constructions, THEATER CROWD.   This particular show was four years in the making.  Since 1985 my art had focused on people alone, people in  organized  families, people in happenstance crowds.  (Scroll down for previous posts.)  

 For this last large scale show of my career, I didn’t want to offer any painting for sale.    I just wanted to honor people in my professional life who have shown up.  My way was to provide a venue that was safe to welcome all comers.  And all comers could welcome all other comers.


A theater crowd is a crowd unto itself.  It may look like a random bunch of people but each shares the same thing in common, a determination to locate the Common Wealth Gallery, 100 E. Baldwin Street, Third Floor, Madison, WI.  Those who have taken their seats and those who line the walls of the vestibule came from my own imagination.   I have utilized the alcove area of the Common Wealth Gallery as enclosure for our theater goers who have taken their seats. 



Not everyone is ready to take his or her seat.  You must have walked by them out in that large Vestibule.   Linger on the stage of the theater section as long as you like.  Soak in the warmth of attention.  But take some time to visit the Vestibule People .  

This is a show where all are welcome in the audience and no money is needed.  Many of those who have come early, pass the time people watching until show time.  How convenient for people watching is stadium seating! You can find open seating at this performance by entering the stadium/stage center.  As long as you wish to pause, spot lights will welcome you and describe you in greater detail.  Hopefully, you are pleasantly surprised to find that the show is about you, yourself.  YOU are what’s on for this performance. 

Coffee or tea, appreciative greetings by watercolor artist Virginia Huber and Petey the Pup are in the way back area. 


Come to the theater.  Come early and indulge in people watching. No need to sneak guilty peeks; these are people who are fine when they are acknowledged.  When it comes down to it, they are really just figments of my imagination. Paint and paper.  Works of art don’t judge you for your curiosity.  Works of art welcome your attention as long as you wish to offer it. What’s showing?  You are.  Pun intended, you showed up for my very last large show.  You came those weeks in January or you are here now visiting my blog.   Many thanks for that.  


I was curious to see if I could portray people watching that goes on across a theater audience.  People moving around in half light.   Bright light on center stage before manager appears on center stage to make announcements about cell phones.  The FIRST jpeg you see represents the lighting within the alcove at Commonwealth Gallery.  (A Friend in Art, Carol Chase Bjerke, came by to photograph the alcove in bright photographic light.) In the vestibule, for the show, there was conventional gallery lighting.

April of 2015, I’ll be showing recent watercolor paintings, constructions, and installations at Common Wealth Gallery. More on this later.

I’m in the last leg of my upcoming show, “People, Going about their Lives” – (Opens April 8th at Common Wealth Gallery-more info to come.)  This piece, “People Watcher,” the little girl necessarily has weights upon her upper body and clothes pins to keep her clothes together. 

4.29.11 If you highlight this date, you can go on a tour of my spring, 2011,  exhibition in Madison, WI.  “Venus, her Clothes, her Things, her Issues.”

"Prairie"“Prairie” – watercolor/collage/yarn – 7′ x 5′ – 2009.

When I first learned about “prairie” I was fascinated to learn also that prairie roots go down many feet into the rich soil.  This recently completed piece is about those deep roots that anchor the grasses below the surface and the air currents and winds that move the grasses from above.

Next Page »