There is no doubt I’m in Minnesota. Even if I wanted to forget, the wind wouldn’t let me. Right now the sky is grey, the air is chill. Quite a contrast to last weekend when I visited several sites at the League of Longfellow Artists’ Art Crawl (LoLa).
It was stifling hot by the time I reached the galleries north of Lake Street. The sun was steady and I felt the warmth inside my face as much as on the surface. Luckily, Richard Parnell’s private sculpture garden includes several trees surrounding his house, so this stop was a welcome relief from the heat.
The map above doesn’t show you the bike sculptures sporting mechanical insects near the curb, nor does it show the old work boots filled with leafy plants nor the metal flower sculptures, but it does give you a sense of the layout of his gardens. If you’re interested, he has a copy of this brochure with a thorough listing of his works available to download from his website.
Although the heat was still stultifying, I managed to see Lisa Arnold’s colorful mosaics at both River House Art and Blue Moon Cafe (her work is featured there regularly). The link attached to Ms Arnold’s name, above, shows four of her stained glass pieces in the window of the cafe where they sparkle in the light. For a huge selection of her mosaics, including many finished commissions, try any of the 11 pages on Ms Arnold’s flickr site.
Megan Moore does magazine and book illustrations and it’s quite likely you’ve seen her work. She lives right here! Her illustrations and prints, like “Birdhouse in Your Soul” are clean and spare, whether created out of the more common acrylic (these days) or painted in classic oils. On the back of this card is an affordable offer by Ms Moore to do commissions to commemorate important events, including weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, etc.
Trista Campbell was in the shade last Saturday, hard at work. She was using black scratchboards, marking them with a tool that reveals the white board underneath. Each stroke was light, the merest whisper of a line that combines to look startling like fur and feathers and rubbery, wet animal noses. Her animals stare right back at you! If you go to the website above (linked to her name), there are some images that show her process.
During commercial art school, I took an extra curricular class that allowed me to work with scratchboard. It’s like checkers. It’s extremely easy to start but takes years of patient diligence to master. You’ve got to have a steady hand and, from the very start you have to have a plan in mind, as you can’t erase. (Definitely not my medium of choice!)
Despite these incredible, last-minute finds, I had to skip out on the rest of the art crawl. The weather wore me down and unless I wanted to learn about heat stroke first hand, I had to stop. I was disappointed, as I hadn’t visited the Bohlander Arts Gallery, for one. Marge and Ed Bohlander have generously hosted many WARM artists at their venue, with receptions, artist talks and even a poetry night. Each creates their own fine art, yet they take the time to chat with and promote emerging and established local artists. They’re an invaluable resource in our arts community and I was sad not to get a chance to stop by.
But, if I’ve learned one thing in my 25 years in Minnesota it’s that a wise person bends when the wind blows. Our weather holds a trump card over every event, reminding us of how little control we really have. We respond by creating art with a vengeance. I like that about us.