Color In Nature art exhibit opens in April

A family boating get-together. A butterfly flitting through the prairie. A walk through wildflowers.

Photo of a painting of a stream

Outdoor experiences such as these deeply influence Eagle Grove resident Diane O’Hern’s artwork, which will be evident in her multi-media exhibit featured April-June in the eARTh exhibit area at the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji.

O’Hern began work on the nature-related exhibit in March 2016, using photos taken during trips to the Iowa Great Lakes as inspiration for her pieces. The “Color in Nature”-themed display features oil paintings, as well as sculptures with wire, fabric, wood, clay and stone.

She hopes that people will feast their eyes on the vibrant colors in the artwork and wants to spur memories of outdoor experiences.

“I hope to bring that life to those who have never lived it, or to bring back wonderful memories to those who have,” O’Hern said. “When looking at my exhibit, one can immerse their vision in all that nature has to offer.”

O’Hern is an accomplished artist, having exhibited her work in places such as Reiman Gardens and the Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames as well as the Pearson Lakes Art Center in Okoboji. She was chosen Elementary Teacher of the Year for nature-themed art projects in 2014 after retiring from her 32-year career as an art teacher at the Eagle Grove School District.

Photo of a swan drawing

Much of O’Hern’s childhood was spent outdoors, from family picnics and reunions in the Iowa Great Lakes area to summers at Lutheran Lakeside Camp on East Lake Okoboji.

“I enjoy the water and nature,” she said. “Walking the trails and taking photographs of wildlife is intriguing. The Dickinson County Nature Center is alluring to many children and adults. After a visit to the Butterfly House and the pond, I was drawn in to the beauty. I am honored to display my art from nature in the eARTh exhibit area.”

An exhibit reception will be held 5-7 p.m. Thursday, April 6, at the Dickinson County Nature Center, and O’Hern will give an artist talk at 6 p.m. She will give her artistic background, share how her family influenced her desire to create, talk about the importance of visual learning for all ages and explain how she chooses the subjects for her art. During the reception, O’Hern will also discuss her inspiration behind each piece in the exhibit.

“The opening reception at the Dickinson County Nature Center affords me the opportunity to interact with everyone interested in my Color In Nature exhibit,” O’Hern said.

In addition to the exhibit, O’Hern will give two art classes, open to all ages, at 9 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Saturday, June 17, at the nature center.

Photo of a butterfly sculpture

O’Hern will begin the classes with a draw-along of bugs, bees, fish, ducks, swans, dragonflies, butterflies and wildflowers, and the participants will be able to create what they sketched with three-dimensional materials such as wire, wood and clay. Students will explore textures in nature, tree bark prints and assembled rock shapes.

“All make-and-take projects will set the mood for a meaningful, fun, creative sculpture class,” O’Hern said. “I hope all participants will leave with a thought that nature is always there for us. In looking, thinking, feeling and doing, you can be drawn into natural beauty visually.”

To register for O’Hern’s art classes, call the Dickinson County Nature Center at 712-336-6352. The class will cost $5 at the door to cover the cost of materials.

Following O’Hern’s display, the eARTh exhibit area will feature Mary Jo Daniels’ mixed media July-September and Shelley Cords-Swanson’s cartographic artwork October-December.

For more information on the quarterly displays featured in the eARTh exhibit area at the Dickinson County Nature Center, visit our environmental education page. You can also keep up with the latest happening on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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