The Mississippi River
As a Minnesotan, I was raised with simple, consistent values of stewardship. Those lessons laid the foundation for my current art practice and environmental activism. About two years ago, I began painting with collected Mississippi River water and sediment. When I chose to use the river as my creative source, I also chose to fully submerge into the responsibility for our waters. And literally, I jumped in. The water was murky and strong, same as the pull of my new painting technique, unfamiliar yet persistent.
I use a blended acrylic painting technique of pouring the harvested water and sediment over a flat canvas, allowing it to emulate the natural flow and erosion before layering with traditional brushwork. In this intimate process, I pay attention to the tenacity of the water. My abstract paintings reflect the changing current, the luminosity of the water’s surface and the foreboding shift in our relationship to local waters. Fully saturated with elements of the river itself, my paintings embody its materiality, its story and its spirit.
Painting with river water and sediment is how I live out my responsibility to our precious earth. 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 powers of the waters in our world. If you live in the Twin Cities, you drink Mississippi River water every day. This great life-source nourishes your body and lifestyle. But how often do you visit the shoreline to give thanks for this water?
Various Lakes and Rivers
Washes: Rivers and 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 and Lake Minnetonka, MN.
homebody: a person whose interests center around the home
In July 2015, amidst the creation of gallery three (see about page for more details), I began a series of paintings in my driveway using latex paints and sheets of 8' plywood and faucet water which are the materials of my home. The intense physical demand of working at such a large scale along with the reclaiming of my garage for a creative space, deeply affected me. While pouring and lifting, I meditated on the meaning of "home" as two separate, physical vessels: my house and my body. Both are places of shelter. Both hide private experiences while existing in public spaces. Both can be manipulated. I did not want to be restricted by either. The aesthetics of my "homes" constantly intertwine, overlap and pull away. Together, my body and my home become my Homebody: a vessel of truth.