Some people love to climb into their speed boats and jet around the Iowa Great Lakes and whip over the waves. But my favorite pastime is joining a friend and leisurely putting around the no-wake zone, just absorbing the warmth of the sun, the sound of the choppy water, the beauty of the quiet world.
That seems to be what artist Anita “Katie” Plucker likes as well, because many of her watercolors are inspired by her quiet time in her kayak. “Nature really is my inspiration. A lot of my work is titled from my kayaking and then I expand on that,” she said.
She loves the view of the trees towering over the water, the patterns on the surface, the animals that make their homes along the shore. Paintings depicting these scenes will be on display through March at the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji.
Plucker’s work varies in its realism, and she said her more abstract pieces take less time to create than her detail-oriented ones. However, all her work reflects her lifetime of artistic endeavors.
“A lot of times I kiddingly say it’s taken me 64 years (to complete a painting), and basically what I’m saying is everything in my life has led up to today,” Plucker said.
She is the first artist to exhibit in a new nature series that will rotate quarterly at the nature center. Glenda Drennen will showcase her work April-June, Dan Ruf will be shown from July-September and an artist to be determined will close out the year.
The Dickinson County Nature Center is constantly working to expand its offerings, and the new art gallery inside is just one way the conservation board staff is trying to draw visitors in. People might think of a nature center as a place that has a bunch of animal mounts and that’s about it, but those who have stopped by our location know we’re more than that.
We have live animals, an indoor bee hive, and educational displays that are entertaining as well as interesting. We have a library, a gift shop, places to play and places to read. We have binoculars if you like to bird watch, magazines if you just want to sit by the fireplace and relax and coloring pages to keep your little ones occupied.
But don’t think that one visit will cover all we have to offer. Our public programming is always updating. We have plans for a new woodland exhibit, an expanded wetland area and a new kids play area. The art gallery is just another example of the changes we are constantly adding.
So if you’re in the Okoboji area, any time of the year, stop by the Dickinson County Nature Center at 2279 170th St. It’s our favorite thing when people come in just for a minute and end up staying for hours.
Find out more on our website or give us a call at 712-336-6352.
Photo courtesy of Anita "Katie" Plucker, "From My Kayak"