Huron Plainsman | Spirit of Dakota 2021 plans art exhibit

Three South Dakota artists will showcase their work at an art exhibit that kicks off at 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 2, before the Spirit of Dakota banquet at the Huron Event Center.

Works by Julie Waldner, Marian Sprecher and Douglas Bunn will be on display and artists will be on hand to visit the public.

Bunn is 97 years old and has lived in Miller’s retirement home for eight years. Her daughter, Jackie Holtz, will be bringing her artwork to the show and will be on hand to visit people.

“God bless him, he still makes charcoal,” Holtz said of his father. “He can’t make any oils anymore, but he’s still doodling and busy. It was his life.

His favorite work of his father is an oil painting he created of Sitting Bull. Bunn was commissioned in the late 1980s to make cartoons and charcoals for the original Brown Derby restaurant in Hollywood and Pasadena. Many of his works are still hung in the restaurant to this day.

Bunn began taking commissions for oil portraits and landscapes after retiring from his commercial art career in graphic design, including 50 years of teaching art.

His strongest philosophy in portrait painting is: “Make sure it’s a painting, not a photograph, leave something to the imagination,” he reportedly said.

Julie Waldner, who lives in Iroquois with her husband Rudy, painted since her childhood and grew up on the colony with her family. She recently opened her own studio, Dakota Reflections Art Studio, in the basement of their home.

Waldner is a self-taught artist, although she enjoys listening to other artists and learning new techniques.

“When I started out as a kid, I had a few paint numbers, but it wasn’t enough,” Waldner said. “I used home paints and dyes and mixed my own paints.”

Waldner usually takes a photo of the scene she wants to paint and works from it.

“I love to paint what’s there, like an abandoned truck or a barn,” she says. “I try to find the history of the place or the house, and I meet people.

“I painted an old abandoned Victorian style house in the middle of nowhere that I found on Mitchell’s path,” she said. “I tracked down the people who lived there – two women. It was the greatest pleasure to have them come and watch the painting. The memories they shared from their home. Their grandfather built it and 11 children lived there. It was abandoned in the 1950s.

“My heart and my passion is to paint rural South Dakota, the forgotten South Dakota,” added Waldner. “Just drive and find them. It’s amazing how they stand out on the prairie. It makes a beautiful setting.

Marian Sprecher, originally from Wolsey, is an accomplished watercolor artist who captures the character of her subject using soft colors and light.

Sprecher attributes his artistic side to his maternal grandfather who was an artist and inventor. As a self-taught artist, Sprecher has participated in numerous watercolor workshops with nationally renowned artists. She also took art classes at Augustana College in Sioux Falls.

In 2007, Sprecher’s life changed when she had an aneurysm that caused a stroke on her left side.
She gives the Lord all the credit for having spared her life and for allowing her to continue in her artistic endeavors. She will also be featured in a solo art exhibition at the Wein Gallery in 2022.

While still in physiotherapy after her stroke, Sprecher created a bucket list goal to paint each grandchild. At that time, there were only five, and to this day she and her 50-year-old husband Steve have nine grandchildren. She achieved her goal of painting all of them during the pandemic in 2020.

Sprecher’s paintings come from his everyday world, such as meadows, landscapes, houses, farms, barns, farm animals and flowers.

With each painting, Sprecher said his desire was to use watercolor to express “the gifts of God in nature with design and color images”.

COURTESY PHOTOS A selection of artwork by featured artists that are part of the Spirit of Dakota art exhibit

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