Fuel for Progress

Fuel for Progress

Fuel for Progress was inspired by a bicycle trip I took on the St. Anthony parkway in NE Minneapolis.  I had stopped on an overpass by University Ave to watch the trains and was intrigued by the curving tracks and the motion they implied.  I thought, “What if I could paint a train flying around the bend and almost tipping off the track with its speed.”  From my viewpoint I could see downtown Minneapolis in the distance.  I wanted to include the cityscape into my composition, but realized modern day skyscrapers would not fit with the steam locomotive I had picked for the foreground.  I did some research on what Minneapolis would have looked like at the turn of the 20th century.  I picked some of my favorite buildings and signage and collaged them into the background.  It wasn’t until I was almost done painting the building details that I realized I had picked all bread and beer factories!  The piece’s title comes from the idea that the bread and beer manufacturing was fueling the fast paced progress that was screaming us into the future at that point in history.

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Waters Rolling Over Archimedes Libary

Waters Rolling Over Archimedes Libary

Waters Rolling Over Archimedes Library was painted from a series of photographs I had taken while fishing in Lake of the Woods, Ontario, Canada.  Although bright and sunny when we headed out that morning, the weather quickly changed.  The clouds rolled in and we became drenched.  Just as we were about to head back to the cabin, the sun came back out in brilliant force.  It was one of those changeable, unpredictable summer days that made dramatic highlights and shadows and was perfect fodder for a painting.  
It’s easy to get lost in the Canadian wilderness.  To try to help navigate, my family had adopted the habit of naming un-named islands on the map so we could reference them.  The island in the foreground of this painting is comprised of volcanic rock that formed in a unique way.  Just below the water’s surface the rocks look like stacks of large books tipped over.  It reminded us of the Disney movie “The Sword & the Stone” where young King Arthur is tutored by Merlin the wizard.  Merlin’s pet owl is named “Archimedes” and he hangs out in the library which is filled with precariously high stacks of books ready to tumble over.  I’ll admit the naming in this instance was a bit fanciful, but it helped us distinguish this particular island’s location on the map and reference it.

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The Original 72" x 36" Oil painting on canvas is available.  Please Contact Me for details.

Sunlit Path Through Winwood

Sunlit Path Through Winwood

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Study in Reflections

Study in Reflections

Study in Reflections was intended to be a technique learning painting for me.  I started it with the hope of learning how to paint complicated reflections.  I lived in Portland, Oregon at the time and spent a relaxing Saturday perusing the shelves of the famous city-block size bookstore “Powell’s Books”.  After a couple of hours, I finally found an image to use as my reference in a book about the Caribbean island of Grenada by Roger Brathwaite.  Even with a good reference image, painting “Study in Reflections” proved to be quite challenging.  I became frustrated enough while painting it that I resorted to using a technique I had learned in Betty Edward’s “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”.  I turned the whole 48"x72" painting upside down on my easel, as well as my reference photo, and tried to paint only what I saw, not what I "thought" should be there.  Additionally, I gridded off the canvas (and my coordinating reference). I then cut the reference into labeled squares and painted each square independently and upside down.  I really had to “trick” my own brain into painting only what I saw.  I forced myself not to turn the painting right side up until I was totally done.  About 25 hours later I did the big reveal and flipped it and was pleasantly surprised (and relieved!) that the technique had worked.   

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The Original 72" x 48" oil painting on canvas is available.  Please Contact Me for details.

Lovestory

Lovestory

“Lovestory” is the tale of 2 people meeting and falling in love in the city of Minneapolis told by train imagery.
Her: a rowdy Packers football fan from Wisconsin.
Him: an easy going but devoted Vikings fan from Minnesota.
They are each represented by a different locomotive on a crash course to collide.  
Life was good and on an even keel as “his” train drives along at a steady pace from NE Minneapolis (skyline on the left).  As he approaches downtown however, his train suddenly dives, does a loop-dee-loop, veers, and flies around to meet “her” train as it comes barreling out of the sky!  
The couple met while both working at the Star Tribune newspaper building in downtown Minneapolis (notice the flying newspapers)  They had an explosive attraction and not long after, the couple had their first date
(& first kiss!) at the Loon Cafe on 1st Ave. The rest of the painting portrays imagery specific to their lives:  their mutual love of Minneapolis icons (like the Grain Belt beer sign), places they frequent, nicknames, and their beloved dog “Jake”.  They are now married, but the football rivalry of the Packers vs. the Vikings still remains strong.  The inclusion of cows wearing Packer’s jerseys and cheese-heads while the Viking ship rolls onto the football field was a bit of goofy fun that I get to include into a painting once in awhile.  It fit this particular couple’s love of life and playful good nature. 

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French Narrows at Dusk

French Narrows at Dusk

The French Narrows are located in Lake of the Woods, Ontario, about 2 ½ hours north of the Minnesota/Canadian border.  One evening while vacationing up there I was enjoying a campfire and the sunset with my family.  It was one of those evenings where the cloud structure was so interesting you had to just sit back and take it all in.  I had taken some photos about half an hour earlier that I thought would make a decent painting reference, but then I saw the hole in the clouds open up, and the sun sparkling on the water was breathtaking.  I quick grabbed my camera and ran down to the lakeshore and snapped 3 photos panoramic style.  I made sure to take the photo on the left first and by the time I took the far right photo the hole had already closed up.  It was a brief magical moment I was lucky to capture.  Even though I used my photographs as a reference and the painting is done in a realistic style, painting the sky was a study in painting abstractly.  With the original painting being 6 feet long I had to trust that being up close and painting a blob of purple hear and a dab of white there would actually look realistic when you viewed the painting from 10 feet away. 

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The Original 72" x 24" oil painting on canvas is available.  Please Contact Me for details.

Shallow Waters East of Bald Island

Shallow Waters East of Bald Island

Shallow Waters East of Bald Island came about when I was able to ditch working on the cabin one afternoon and go out exploring in my kayak instead.  Telling my family I would be back “in awhile” I set out for a rock reef I was curious about on the map.  When I finally returned (5 hours later) I was able to muster a somewhat convincingly guilty face!  Bald Island is located in Lake of the Woods, Ontario, about 3 hours north of the Minnesota/Canadian border.  While kayaking that day I had stopped on it for a shore lunch.  I liked the lowered perspective of sitting on the boulder strewn shore instead of standing.  From this viewpoint the horizon line was much higher and allowed more space to show the underwater fade of the midground rocks which I found visually intriguing.  That particular day had virtually no wind which made the reflections almost a complete mirror.  I added the ripples aroung the rocks to add a bit of implied action into the scene and played with the transition between the sky reflection and water transparency to tie together the background with the foreground.

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Touring with 6 Horses

Touring with 6 Horses

A lot of times simpler is better, which is probably why I’m fond of the beat up, small aluminum fishing boat depicted in “Touring with 6 Horses”.  It’s the perfect size for touring around little islands and hidden inlets in Lake of the Woods, Canada.  It can get into areas that a bigger boat couldn’t and if you accidentally hit a rock (or 2....) it’s not too big of a deal since it’s already in pretty rough shape.  The motor is a 1965 Johnson 6 Horse outboard that my grandfather owned, and it still runs like a champ due to my mechanic mother’s diligent care over the years.  One day we were out touring around and stopped to do some island exploring.  I decided to relax and take a nap and when I awoke the wind had picked up and blew the tall grasses around me.  The swishing of the grasses, the sunlight dancing on the water, it was utterly peaceful.  In the painting, I wanted to impart the loose dreamlike quality of the scene that I had felt that day on the lake. 

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Sailboat Promenade

Sailboat Promenade

Sailboat Promenade takes place just south of Kenora, Ontario, at the very top of Lake of the Woods.  The building in the mid-ground is The Royal Yacht Club (a visit from Prince Arthur in 1914 brought it up to “royal” standards!).  I did the painting from some photos I had taken during Kenora’s Harborfest celebration where hundreds of sailboats sail in a giant regatta.  My mom and I had driven to town (by boat) to pick up my dad at the marina, and we had to wait literally 20 minutes for all the sailboats to go by to get through the main navigation channel.  In the editing stage I decided to extend the water further into the foreground, not realizing it would change the whole view point of the painting.  That change made it seem like the viewer now is actually swimming (or kayaking) in the channel instead of riding up in a boat.  It was an unexpected, dramatic shift, and probably the reason why I've had several people tell me looking at it makes them seasick!

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The Original 72" x 36" oil painting on canvas is available.  Please Contact Me for details.

Choppy Ride from Bottle Bay

Choppy Ride from Bottle Bay

“Choppy Ride from Bottle Bay” is painted from the perspective of looking out over the back of a fishing boat.  I’ve always been fascinated by boat wakes ever since I was a little girl, trailing my hands over the side of the boat, trying to feel the water flying by!  Near the back of the boat the wake always looked impossibly glassy as it curled over, tumbling into a frothy spray. On this particular day, my Grandma, brother, and I had set off in the morning to go fishing in secluded, hard to find, Bottle Bay in Lake of the Woods, Ontario. (see map inset).  By the time we caught our limit and headed back to the cabin, the wind had picked up and we had quite the ride!  In the painting I wanted to convey the conflicting directional movements of the wake and the oncoming waves.  The movement is mimicked in the positioning of the storm clouds versus blue sky.

Archival giclee prints on canvas (stretched on bars and ready to hang) are available in a variety of sizes by going to the Online Store menu option above.

The Original 16" x 20" oil painting on canvas is available.  Please Contact Me for details.