Search This Blog

Monday, August 29, 2022

DKG Arts Gallery Blog: Artist’s Spotlight: An Open Artists’ Discussion on Creation, Technique & Opportunity

Susan Dion – Illinois State Organization

Briefly, tell me a little bit about yourself as an educator /creative artist? 

In second grade I knew I wanted to teach art. Creating and sharing my artistic passion with others is an integral part of my life. Learning new techniques and experimenting with various media keeps me energized. My husband Karl and I enjoy collaborating on sculptural pieces to place in our extensive flower gardens.

I enjoyed teaching sculpture and ceramics to high school students for 33 years. After retirement, I was introduced to the Zentangle art method and began sharing this technique with students of all ages. Teaching Zentangle via the internet to my DKG sisters and primary school students during the pandemic was a source of great pleasure!

As an artist, where do you find your inspiration?  

Nature is the strongest inspiration for my work. The patterns, textures, and colors all around me become a part of my creations.

Your beautiful illustration, ‘Tangled Thoughts’ appears to be well planned by your use of repetitive textures & colors using pen and ink /colored pencil.  Is there a unique process to developing this creation?

The Zentangle method of using structured patterns to create images inspired my “Tangled Thoughts” illustration. I started by drawing a few basic lines in pencil to divide the space.  Next, I drew various patterns with ink letting the patterns merge and overlap. Asymmetrical, organic patterns, and the textures created by their repetition, all combine to create a flowing design.  Graphite is applied to create shaded areas. Then color is added with watercolor pencils, colored inks, and white charcoal.  


Your photograph, ‘Dawn’s Journey’ shows an interesting pattern in the cloud formation.  Coincidental, or do you instinctively gravitate towards textures? Do you search for a particular genre or do you just have your camera ready?  

I usually have a camera handy, especially on a walk, and take photos whenever something catches my eye. Subjects generally present themselves when we take the time to look. Rocks, trees, flowers, lichen, leaves, etc. with their many textures and variations are among of my favorite subjects.

What is the best piece of advice given to you as an artist/photographer or that you pass on to someone else?  

Never stop learning new methods of expressing that creative drive! 

Do you have any creative tips for our members?

Challenge yourself to try a media you have not experienced and know there are no mistakes. Each creative endeavor is an opportunity to learn and grow as an artist.     

In your view, what is the value of the creative arts in education?

As an art educator, I firmly embrace the concept that the arts are an integral component of the learning process. Research reveals many significant benefits of visual arts education for the learner, from growth in creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking skills as well as developing confidence, cultural awareness, and positive emotional expression.

Have you entered your work in other competitions? 

Yes, I have entered pieces in local venues. One of my travel photos was selected to be a part of a show at the Fondulac Library in East Peoria, IL. My Zentangle drawings were showcased at the Hive Art Studio in Peoria, IL as well as at the Tremont Gallery in Tremont, IL. One venue close to my heart was the 20th Anniversary of the of the Women in the Arts where my clay sculpture received an Honorable Mention.

Do you have anything else you’d like to share about yourself or your DKG journey?

The Women in the Arts, DKG ILSO, has been an important part of my DKG Journey beginning with my first biennium as a WIA committee member in 1987 when then State President, Joan Kalbacken asked me to serve. I was introduced to an amazing group of women educators who impacted my life in such a positive manner not only via the committee but also at the Creative Arts Retreat. 

I have enjoyed presenting workshops at the CAR beginning with my first in 1987 and continuing through the pandemic where we held the event virtually for two years! I am especially grateful to 2019-2021 ILSO President Beverly Johns for the support and encouragement she provided as we made the leap to a Virtual CAR!

As the pandemic continued, the WIA Committee presented regular art sessions via Zoom to DKG members across the country. It has been an extraordinary adventure to be able to share our time and art activities with our DKG sisters and friends everywhere even though we were unable to gather at our usual events. The Creative Arts Retreat recently held in June 2022 was very successful.  We are planning another one in June 2023.            

I have had the privilege and honor to serve as Chair of WIA for the ILSO during the 1993-1995, 2011-2013, 2017-2019, and 2019-2021 biennium. I have remained on the WIA Committee except during biennium where I served as ILSO Corresponding Secretary, Leadership Development Chair, Nominations Committee, Foundation Board, and as Coordinating Council Representative. 

I have been a recipient of a grant on three occasions from the Lambda State Foundation for Educational Studies to fund art activities for primary students in schools that have no formal art programs. I am so very grateful to the Lambda State Foundation and DKG ILSO for this opportunity. Watching the impact of the art lessons with the students involved has been exciting and rewarding! 

Attending the first Spectacular Texas Art Retreat in 2015 was a special highlight in my DKG journey! Participating as a workshop presenter for the inaugural STAR event was such a joy. I have remained close with my WIA/DKG friends over the years and look forward to spending time together at conventions and the Creative Arts Retreat. DKG membership has been a positive, rewarding experience in my life!

Monday, August 22, 2022

The Passionate Artist Within Us…Challenge Yourself to Unlock Your Talents and Share Them with Us

Be sure to be included in the August 15th – September15th Submission Period

Artists come in all categories and varieties, but one thing that unites them is a passion for their craft. Often though, to take the bold step of sharing one's talents is sometimes not as easy as it may seem. We are here to help! The Arts & Humanities Jury provides an easy, quick opportunity to highlight the artistic talents and passions of our members. With a depth of artistry and cultural diversity, many members have willingly shared their talents through the submission process of the DKG Fine Arts Gallery. We encourage you to visit the DKG Fine Arts Gallery located at and click on the Art Gallery Icon. With each category, you will be awed at the amazing visual, literary, musical and dramatic talents of our international membership.

The Arts and Humanities Jury has created a variety of categories specially designed to showcase your diverse talents.

  • Writing - essay, short story, playwriting, poetry.
  • Performance Art – dance, dramatics, filmmaking, music, original composition, oratory.
  • Visual Arts: 2D – acrylic, charcoal, colored pencil, graphite, mixed media, pastel, pen & ink, printmaking, watercolor, photography (black and white or color).
  • Visual Arts: 3D – basketry, ceramics, jewelry, quilts, sculpture, textiles, woodcarvings.
  • Multimedia: - Blend one or more categories! Illuminate your poetry or short story with photography or 2D Art. Combine playwriting or a musical composition with a performance video.

The submission period is open NOW from August 15th - September 15th, 2022. Click on the submissions tab for the updated submission procedures, rubrics, informational webinar, and “Do’s and Don’ts” tips to guide you successfully through the submission process. To safeguard the personal privacy rights of individual content, a new addition to the submission process is the inclusion of the Video Release and the Photography Consent forms. Exciting changes to the submission procedures encourage members to submit cultural art and to submit writing in languages other than English, with an English translation. Don’t forget to peruse the Arts and Humanities Blog Icon on the website. The platform is written bimonthly to inform and spotlight our amazing artists. Jury members share tips on strengthening the quality of submissions and highlight artists who have been accepted into the Art Gallery. The Arts and Humanities blog has been a wonderful addition to showcase the vast and culturally diverse talents of our membership.

Don’t miss out on unlocking the artistic talent and creativity within yourself. With each submission opportunity, the Jury is excited to open our Art Gallery to the talents of our international membership. Will you be unlocking your creative talents? The true key is sharing your creative passions with others. Click now!

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

DKG Art Gallery Blog – Artist Spotlight

Ank Janssonius

The Netherlands State Organization – Alpha Chapter

For this exciting blog, we are traveling to The Netherlands, to spotlight Ank Janssonius. She was born in Amsterdam and still lives there. She was a geography teacher at the high school and at the World Travel School. She has always had an interest in art. That is why she paints, sculptures and does ceramics. Her mother painted professionally, and told Ank that she had no talent for painting. But years later she took back her words. In the summer of 1968 Ank went to Albuquerque, New Mexico and worked on the excavation of an Indian Pueblo village. For her, that was the start of cutting and shaping stones. Her teacher was Maarten Krabbé, the father of the famous actor Jeroen Krabbé. That was the start of her artistic life.

Around 1992 she started oil painting. Ank also started sculpting with clay. She worked with both two- and three- dimensional art methods. In 2014 she started working with ceramics, which was a combination of various art methods that she already used.

Her subjects go back to the time when she worked at the World Travel School. She travelled a lot back then and it still provides her with inspiration.

What plays an important part in your artistic process?

For me it is important that my artworks represent my feelings and look attractive. Nowadays, I often work on pieces with which I can please people and I enjoy it when my work is appreciated.

What is your preferred medium and why?

At this moment I prefer ceramics, because it is a combination of sculpture and painting.

What is the best piece of artistic advice you’ve been given?

The best advice given me is that my feelings must lead the way more than artistic theories. Sometimes, I am led by my experience of the present, that can be a thought or an image or sometimes even the news.

What does the value of Art in Education mean to you?

My idea is that it is important that youngsters learn to express themselves in various kinds of arts. I find that Art in Education is much under valued in The Netherlands.

As far as your two pieces of artwork, tell us what inspired you to do them and any special techniques that you used.

‘Ocean Island Woman’ began when a sculpture friend of mine sent as a black and white picture. She said this is something for you to work with. So, I created the colorful painting.

‘Montenegro Bride’ began when I saw a picture of her in the newspaper and decided to make it a three-dimensional image. It is still on my dining room table, and I look at her every day.

Is there one more thing you’d like us to know?

I am very grateful that I participated in the Art Gallery this year, and that I was asked to tell a bit more about myself for this blog.


The Arts & Humanities Jury looks forward to you returning often to view exciting new content and to share in the joy of creativity.

We invite you to view the Art Gallery, click here.

Keep the conversation going, please use the comment section below to suggest new topics, ask questions, or give us your input.

Popular Posts