Creating art

Artist Bud Skupniewitz shares his expertise with the attendees at the Meet the Artists Reception at the LD Fargo Library Sept. 9. 

LD Fargo Library was the backdrop for the Meet the Artists Reception, Sept. 9.

The event included paintings, ceramics, quilts, plus literary pieces for all to enjoy.

The event, hosted by the Arts Alliance of Greater Lake Mills, served as an opportunity to buy and add to someone’s art collection and also view art to become inspired.

Board Member Amy Arnston hosted the event and said one piece of art was sold, but it was still early.

“The work is priced inexpensively, and I am surprised by how inexpensive it is,” she said. 

She does watercolor paintings of water and had them on display.

“I have been doing watercolor since 1974 and taught art and design at Whitewater for 23 years,” she said. 

She called herself a “fierce” teacher.

“My expectations were very high and they often exceeded them,” she said. 

For parents who have children interested in art, Arnston said there are lots of fields within art and design where you can make a living.

“Don’t let people tell you there aren’t,” she said. “You can work as an illustrator, you can work as a graphic designer, and every once in a while, you can make a living as a painter, but not many people do.

The exception to the rule was artist Peggy Furlin, who makes her living as an artist who chose to work on canvas.

“I tried paper, primarily, but you can paint watercolors on wood,” she said. 

She said her mother was an artist.

“I was always involved with art from a very young age,” she said. 

She worked with different subject matters than her mother.

“She was a watercolor artist, like me, but we paint different things,” she said. “She didn’t like my abstract painting at all.”

Her mother was polite, she said, and said her paintings were “cute.”

 Furlin said young artists need to be persistent.

“Try different avenues for your artwork,” she said. “I sell my art at art fairs, but there are all different ways.”

With the Internet, she said people sell on sites like eBay.

“There are all different avenues to sell art,” she said.  

Her childhood drove Peters to be a good parent.

“It was certainly a loving environment,” she said. “It was better than mine.”

Painter Carolyn Liedtke said she started drawing when she was a child and said school was her inspiration.

“Parents are always happy to see their kids involved with something quiet,” she said. “I had good art teachers.”

She started with a class in Oakton College in 1972.

“That became my major field of endeavor,” she said. 

She doesn’t like to copy photographs.

“I will use them as a reference if it’s a place where I’ve already been,” she said. “A lot of times I’ll take photographs that I’ve done years ago and recreated with vision as I remember it.”

She grew up in Chicago.

“I moved to Lake Mills in 2000,” she said. 

She is an original member of the arts council.

“It’s grown quite a bit over the years,” she said. “We probably at least 15 members now.”

Liedtke said they are not all artists.

“Some people are just art supporters,” she said. 

Bud Skupniewitz is not a training artist, but practiced hard and has made a lot of sculptures and brought pots to the show.

“It has more detail to it than just throwing a pot,” he said. “I like to oil paint, so this plays along with that. I spend more time decorating them.”

He said some taller vases took a long time to create.

“They are embellished with other clay, carved, and they are also fired multiple times,” he said. “You’ll do a glaze and fire it to affix that glaze. You can put three or four days into them.”

Skupniewitz said there are times you can lose them during the firing.

“I made 11 Raku vases, real tall ones, and only three survived the firing,” he said. “I had about three days’ worth of work that I lost.”

He added that sometimes his wife makes suggestions.

“When we have company, she says I need a serving dish and goes down stairs, goes through all my stuff and Bing,” he said. 

Skupniewitz said pottery serves as balance in his life.

“I can tell after three or four days if I haven’t done something artistic,” he said. “When I meet teenagers or kids who want to be artists I say how much art do you do every day.”

He said he does art every day.

“If you have to do it, then you are an artist,” Skupniewitz said.

He has always been drawn to art.

“In high school, I would skip most of my classes and stay in art class most of the day,” he said.  

Author Margo Peters spoke about her personal life chronicled in the book “Exorcising Emma” and the struggles she and her mother had trying to escape

her abusive grandmother as her father abandoned them when she was a toddler.

Peters said she was a detective trying to find out what went wrong. She added that neighbors referred to her as the witch.

“I did wait to write it until everyone in my family was

dead," she said. 

She said some reaction to the book was that it was disturbing.

“It is a triumph because I come out all right," she


In comments after the event, Peters said life with her grandmother was riddled with a personal

feeling of low self-esteem but used those experiences to become a better mother to her daughter.

Lake Mills Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Alisa Smith thought she show was great.

“I met a lot of the artists before, but I haven’t seen everybody’s work,” she said. “It’s great to see the work and put it together with the artist.”

She does not consider herself an artist.

“I’m artsy craftsy, but I am not an artist,” Smith said. “I did more as a kid. As I got older, I am a little more into art appreciation. I am a member of the arts alliance, but someone who more appreciates the arts than an artist.”

Lake Mills Chamber of Commerce President Diann Fritsch said she was impressed.

“To have this much beautiful art in a town like this is impressive,” she said. 

She does not paint.

“I’m more of a music person,” she said. “My daughter is an artist, and my husband does photo art, but I’m more of a music person.”

For more information about the Arts Alliance of Greater Lake Mills, visit

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