Lisbeth Quebe has loved drawing since she first picked up a crayon. As a child, she took oil painting classes from a neighbor in her home town of Decatur, Illinois, and went on to major in art at the University of Colorado.
A career in marketing and communications in the architectural industry offered creative opportunities in writing and graphic design, but left no time for drawing and painting. When she retired and moved to Soldiers Grove in 2002, Liz Quebe picked up a brush for the first time in 35 years.
Liz is a founder of the Driftless Area Art Festival and served as its co-chair through 2017. She is an associate member of Oil Painters of America, the American Impressionist Society, American Women Artists, and the Wisconsin Alliance of Artists and Craftspeople. She is represented by Outside the Lines Art Gallery in Dubuque and Galena, Plum Bottom Gallery in Egg Harbor (Door County), and VIVA Gallery in Viroqua.
When I resumed painting again, I first painted still lifes, and I continue to enjoy creating them. I like to incorporate items that resonate with people because of the memories they prompt. I use many family heirlooms–my grandmother’s sewing items, my great-grandmother’s linens and vases, my grandfather’s pocket watch, my mother’s dolls, my father’s old tools. Vegetables fresh from the garden or just-picked flowers are universal pleasures that just beg to be painted.
I soon began painting en plein air. The rolling hills of the Driftless Area, the creeks and streams, and the iconic family farms offer countless opportunities for painting. The quickly changing light, the many shades of green in spring and summer, the rich hues of fall and the harvest all draw me outdoors–alone or with other painters–intent on capturing a small part of this special area. I also paint landscapes in my studio, from studies or photographs taken in the area.
My latest interest is painting animals, especially cows, but horses, goats, sheep and chickens too. And the rare attractive pig. Living in an area with small dairy farms and Amish farmsteads, subjects are not hard to find. My husband and I go on frequent “photo safaris,” looking for the perfectly posed animal in perfectly placed light. I paint from these photos, as most animals are notoriously bad at standing still. I strive to capture not only the likeness of the animal, but a little of their personality too.
Jerry Quebe grew up in a small farming community in North Central Iowa. A career in architecture gave him an eye for composition and design. He received his Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1965 from Iowa State University. He practiced architecture with major firms for 37 years, specializing in health care facilities.
Jerry retired in 2002 and, with his wife Liz, moved from Chicago to Soldiers Grove. They split their time between volunteer activities and their art endeavors. Jerry is a founder of the Driftless Area Art Festival and served as its co-chair until 2017.
Jerry makes many of the frames that grace Liz’s paintings, working primarily in birdseye and curly maple. He also makes cutting and serving boards that can be found at VIVA Gallery in Viroqua, Wisconsin.
Some woodworkers will tell you that the wood will speak to them and tell them what it wants to be. I may be one of those woodworkers. Evary piece of wood is different. I carefully study each piece to determine its optimum use given its color, grain, accents and size. Each of my boards is different as no two pieces of wood are exactly alike.
My serving and cutting boards are made of local woods, including ash, curly oak, curly maple, birdseye maple, flame birch, walnut and cherry. Using the end grain and/or face grains with unique patterning, I configure the woods to make designs that are unusual, interesting and beautiful. Eschewing the usual finishing treatments for cutting boards, I have chosen a mixture of tung oil and citrus spirits, yielding a hard-wearing, food-safe surface. It takes a lot of time and effort. I soak the boards in the oil for 30 hours and then spend three weeks wiping the boards daily as they give up excess oil and dry.