Category Archives: artwork

What Is On My Mind Today? Power Without the Destruction.

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2016 Painting of St. Genevieve Church in Centerville, MN. 

For weeks and weeks I have painted and repainted the sky on the same canvas.

Whenever I start a painting I have the exact image in my mind.  I can actually see it on the white canvas. As an artist, my job is to make the image appear for others to see.

I like painting landscapes especially ones with vivid skies.  I have always had a fascination with clouds.  I remember spending many hours as a small child, resting on the lawn just watching them change shapes.  Quietly watching clouds on a calm summer’s day is a very peaceful and relaxing activity, which I highly recommend.

For me the peace of clouds disappeared in an instant when I was about eleven-years-old. Cloud watching changed forever on a stormy day while traveling in a car on Highway 12 just east of Litchfield, Minnesota.  At the precise moment we were along side a huge metal factory, a tornado dropped out of the sky and shredded the big building.  Huge pieces of metal ripped through the air and rained down all around our car.   The destructive power of that small tornado was horrible, yet so very awesome.  From that moment on, I had a very healthy appreciation for power, especially power that originates in the heavens.

After experiencing that tornado up close, instead of looking for the peace in the clouds I looked to find evidence of their power. It is exhilarating to stand in an great empty field and watch a thunderstorm explode on the western horizon and come barreling at you.

It was even more exciting to stare down a menacing mesocyclone astride my Arabian mare.  Animals are naturally much better forecaster’s of weather that humans. My mare could sense stormy weather hours before it developed.  Her restlessness and whinnying told me it was time to saddle up.  Down to the edge of farm we’d gallop and wait for nature’s big show.

Radiant white clouds billowing upwards with great speed and purpose announced that the guest we were waiting for so impatiently was on its way.  Just as the first gust of wind rushed up to make our acquaintance, I would pivot my  mare and give her, her head and we’d race the storm home.

It was all speed, wind, water and…..power. Intoxicating!

I like power.  I love the power of storms.

So, my goal for this canvas was to paint a beautiful powerful mesocyclone with all of its whirl and swirl.  No matter how many skies I painted none of them seemed to meet the vision of my mind’s eye.

Since, I don’t tend to give up, I had to just keep trying and trying to succeed.  Becoming more and more frustrated with a process that is usually as easy for me as falling off a wet horse.

Last week a very good friend of mine, who knows me extremely well, called to say hello. I told her about my canvas of perpetual repainting and how frustrated I was not being able to  produce the image I wanted.  I explained to her that my goal was to capture the winds and the beauty of a great storm, but I wanted it to be a friendly storm.

As always she listened to my concerns very carefully and then responded, “So, you want all of the power without any of the destruction.”

Yup, that would be it.

 

 

What Is On My Mind Today: My painting was awarded a cash prize at the Gallery 96 Art Center Spring Show!

I have two paintings exhibited in the Gallery 96 Art Center Spring show at the Shoreview Library.  The show lasts until June 17.

The big news is that my painting, “Anger” won a cash prize.

Wind in the pasture
“Anger”

Desert Blooms is the other painting of mine on display.

Blooming Cactus
“Dessert Blooms”

The sister painting to “Anger” which is not on display is “Peace”.   My cancer battle inspired both of these paintings.

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“Peace”

Painting Done…Frame Ordered!

 

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This is the painting that I have been working on since November. Since, I started this painting of Christ seeking the little lost lamb, both my three-year-old niece Laney (she would have been four-years-old today) and my Uncle Mrywin have died.  Laney died right after Thanksgiving and Myrwin passed away three days before Christmas.

Since they were both on hospice, I started this painting as my personal memorial.

I thought I had it done weeks ago, but then decided it just wasn’t right.  So I kept at it and at it.  Today,  I am finally done and am satisfied with the outcome.

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After weeks of trying day after day to get the effects that I sought, when it all started to work  I was done in about an hour.  Can you tell the difference between the first picture and the final one?

It was the water…that was bugging me so much….its lighting and wave action was wrong. I wanted to paint a rising mist that forms in the morning when the warm sun hits the cold water. I wanted it to dance in the light, just little Laney is dancing in heaven.

I also wanted the rocks to look more like agates…I love agates!  I like finding, inspecting and painting them on canvas. I have always thought that Agate Bay in the Gooseberry Falls State Park  was something of a rip off because the cliffs are not solid agate. As Uncle Myrwin used to say, “Now, wouldn’t that be something!” 

There also needed to be a cave to explore.  A cliff without a cave is just a big rock.  Unless it has a waterfalls, then, without a cave, it becomes a big rock with a runny nose. Although my good friend Janis will take one look at the cave in this painting and know that I painted the empty tomb.

Christ’s face was facing straight ahead in the first painting. It was just easier to paint that way.  It needed to turn towards the lost lamb. There can be no mistaking that the Good Shepherd finds the little lost lamb. The lamb is looking up trustingly at Jesus for it knows it is completely loved and eternally safe. Christ’s hands too were changed. His hand is open, gently inviting the little lost lamb to come to him.

The addition of spring flowers were added just for me. Winter gets long here in Minnesota and I am already looking forward to the new flora and fauna of spring. Besides they always add more color, and I wanted color in this painting.  Pink for Laney and blue for Myrwin. The sunrise is pink, oh so very pink and quite riotous. Just like the brightness and havoc young children bring into our lives.Of course the painting needed to have a certain color blue in it.  In our family this shade of blue is known as “Myrwin Blue.”   This color has now been added.

Lastly,  I love it when at dawn the sky looks like it is rising right out of the water.  Early morning sunrise reflections sometimes make it almost impossible to tell where heaven begins and earth ends.  The separation is a very fine line only crossed by the warmth of the Son.

There are two islands in the brightest light one is for Laney and one for Uncle Myrwin.

My painting is done and the frame ordered.

Now, I can move on.

Just Saying: Governor Dayton, No!…Civil War Paintings, Stay!!!

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The 3rd Minnesota marches into Little Rock, Arkansas in 1862. Notice the symbolism of having the African American child in the very forefront of painting. The artist was saying, “It is about him.” 

There is a movement in this nation to remove factual history from the schoolroom and public square.  This movement has gone so far a foul that Governor Dayton has been pushing, since before the Capitol restoration began, to remove the massive, beautiful original Civil War oil paintings from the people’s reception room in our state’s Capitol.  A commission just voted to in fact remove these awesome paintings.

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The 2nd Minnesota surges forward at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863

Whitewashing history does not change historical fact. It only encourages its repetition. Just as the French do not “update”  the art at Versailles, or the Egyptians do not redecorate pyramids, or the Italian’s do not remodel Colosseum , our leaders need to preserve history not replace that which makes them uncomfortable.

History is uncomfortable. Versailles was built by a king who bankrupted and starved his country through war and grandiose building. The pyramids were built by slavery. The Colosseum was used for mass human sacrifice for the amusement of a blood thirsty crowd, and yet, the Italian’s preserve it.

Our state Capitol was built by Civil War veterans who returned from our nation’s most bloody war, who pooled their limited resources together to construct one of the most beautiful Capitols and peoples reception rooms in our nation.  And, yet it is their honorable sacrifice and service to freedom, portrayed in period paintings, that is to be removed or moved.

What one generation builds, the next has a duty to preserve…not dismiss, hide or destroy.


The 5th Minnesota Regiment heroically fights at Corinth, Mississippi in 1862

I believe that removing the original Civil War art from the people’s reception room is an architectural travesty and another example of disrespect for all veterans.

First of all…it was our state’s Civil War veterans that were the first to answer Lincoln’s call to defend the Union and abolish slavery. That is why the famous regiment the “First Minnesota” was called “First”…Minnesota was the first! This regiment had the highest casualty loss in the war….during the Battle of Gettysburg. Those men gave their lives to end slavery, and preserve the Union.  It was the their fellow veterans who returned home to build and dedicate our beautiful Capitol in their honor.

Those paintings should always be front and foremost at our Capitol to teach people about the ugliness of Civil War, slavery and racism. The paintings should remain where Architect Cass Gilbert, and those who not only fought in the battles, mourned their lost sons, brothers, husbands and fathers and sacrificed further to raise the monies to build our Capitol, placed them.


2nd Minnesota at the Battle for Missionary Ridge, November 25, 1863.

It is a shame that a few misguided people in political office can silence a whole generation that with their blood, tears and treasury saved our nation and ended the atrocity of slavery. Those paintings were meant to make visitors entering the people’s reception room at the Capitol uncomfortable. To think. To feel. To question.  To ask.

Those paintings were meant convey a message that needs to never be silenced. They are Minnesota’s Civil War veteran’s final battle cry of, “Never Forget!.”

Related imageMembers of the 4th Minnesota Regiment march into Vicksburg, Mississippi in July 1863.

It is time to stand up and insist that memorials to veterans be cherished, maintained and preserved in our public squares and in the people’s reception room at Minnesota’s Capitol. Our battle cry should be….call, text and email the Governor’s office! ,

Just saying….

Image result for Civil War Painting in Minnesota Governor's reception roomSoldiers of the 5th and 9th Minnesota Regiments assault Confederate positions at the Battle of Nashville in 1864.

 

Artwork: My Best Election/Bathroom Art …Ever! Vote on Tuesday, November 8

 

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Politics 101 states that those that show up rule.  Government of the people, by the people and for the people only works when the people actively participate in elections by casting a ballot.

I believe that it is the civic duty of all eligible voters to cast a ballot. Our fellow country men and women of all races, genders and faith communities who have for over 200 years shed their blood and died to protect the sacred civil right of electing our own governmental leaders call out from their hallowed graves to each individual citizen’s conscience demanding that each of us do our part to strengthen our great nation by honoring their sacrifice and voting.  Then, peacefully respecting the outcome of the official election results.

As far as I am concerned, if you don’t vote, you have forfeited your right to complain about political or governmental issues.  That includes, but is not limited to, taxes, Supreme Court nominees, healthcare accessibility and cost, law and order, national security, terrorism, veteran care, religious persecution, foreign and domestic affairs, including elected official’s affairs, the economy, employment, education, environment, civil rights, and congressional gridlock.

Don’t be like the Giant, just filled with a lot of inflammatory hot air.

Be an enthusiastic doer, like Mickey!

On or before Tuesday, November 8….VOTE!

Just saying….

Voting information including polling locations and sample ballots are available online at http://www.sos.state.mn.us/elections-voting/

 

Artwork: Minnesota’s Fall Colors….Best in the World

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Autumn Colors 2016.  Oil painting by Pat Turgeon

The beauty of this autumn’s leaves was positively inspiring.  On our walks around the lake by our home there were times when I felt that all of nature’s colors were illuminated by  a joy and peace that could only be God given.

As usual the colored leaf season in our state has passed quickly.  Those beautiful leaves, of a week ago, now lay on the ground. The ones in our yard have already been raked, and are now a blank of warm protection covering next year’s berry plants and flower bulbs.

Yes, the trees have begun their winter rest.  Their bare arms and fingers filtering the peach, pink and golden morning light into a lacy dance as they, just like all of the rest of us, await the impending cold and snow.

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Detail of oil painting of autumn colors.