Lake Pepin Inception, acrylic, collected Lake Pepin (Mississippi River) water and sediment on canvas, 48" x 48", 2018

THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER

As a Minnesotan, I was raised with simple but consistent values of stewardship. Those early lessons of conservation formed the foundation of my current art practice as I paint with honorably-harvested local water and sediment. My process requires immersion into our natural environment, which is scientifically proven to heal the body and mind. My paintings are an extension of this healing, reconnecting us to water. I paint to reclaim our profound and ancient relationship with the earth, which we have forgotten but has always remained.

Inspired by the teaching of the Honorable Harvest as recorded by Professor Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, I ceremoniously collect river water and damp sediment. Back in my studio, I pour these materials with acrylic paint over a flat canvas to emulate the natural erosion and flow of the environment. I brush thin layers of colors over the dried texture to express organic landscapes, water patterns and surface reflections. Fully saturated with elements of the river itself, my art embodies its materiality, its story and its spirit.

Photo credit: Sarah Weiss | Video credit: Dave Casey


VARIOUS RIVERS | LAKES

Painting with river water and sediment is how I live out my responsibility to our precious earth. Many of these paintings were created for privately commissioned projects. Traveling to the various rivers and lakes that are meaningful in their lives, I paint the story and spirit of that place. Now, at a time when our daily lives may feel shaken by social, political and personal happenings, these paintings offer a space to remember the necessary beauty and healing of the water.


Water WASHES: Various RIVERS | LAKES

In June 2015, I attended a studio-intensive at St. Catherine University called The Women's Art Institute (WAI). Approaching this month-long course as a place to expand my painting technique, I focused on the intentionality of my materials. I was painting about the Mississippi River and other shorelines when I realized that I could be painting with the elements of the river itself. At Hidden Falls in Saint Paul, I collected Mississippi River water for the first time and carried it onto campus in two five-gallon buckets. During the intensive, I created seven large, water-washed compositions and allowed the water and paints to flow over my canvas like the river's current. Layering thin colors, I worked to portray the rhythm and reflection of water. After completing WAI, I have continued to explore this particular painting technique with collected water from Grindstone Lake, MN, Lake Minnetonka, MN and Minnehaha Creek.