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Painting the Place Between

Posted on by Beth Bergman

We are having one of those truly Minnesota weeks where we transition through a wide range of seasons in short order. Just days ago I moved through three different weight coats in one afternoon. By the end of today’s lunch, I had shoveled my sidewalk twice. What was falling from the sky on my way to Wet Paint wasn’t really snow or sleet or rain or hail. If we lived in Iceland or Greenland or Sami country, we would have an exact word for it. And the meteorologists are bracing us for sub-zero temperatures by the weekend. So we figure out how to navigate through our new landscape and still get back and forth to work and get all that holiday shopping done.
Looking at snow I like to focus on the shadows. Years ago, Art Graham added Ultramarine Violet to his watercolor paint line. It seemed odd to me he would add this one color. He told me it was for painting shadows on the snow. Holly Swift’s paintings, currently at Macalester’s gallery, have these haunting violet iridescent passages which remind me of the same unexpected coloration that you don’t see in the landscape until you really look, and then you do.
By Friday we will be in our seasoned Minnesotan zone, ready to weather it all to the Fitzgerald Theatre in downtown Saint Paul to attend the premiere of “Painting the Place Between.” A documentary film by artist Kristen Lowe, it features four of the Twin Cities’ finest landscape painters, Betsy Byers, Jil Evans, Holly Swift and Andrew Wykes. From the video clip I can tell these are the stories of real people weathering their life, their art and their craft in the Minnesota landscape. They split their time between the plein air and the studio with finished works that approach the abstract but are true to “the place between.”
You can still get tickets for Friday’s premiere. Before the showing, there will be a reception with the artists. It should be a great landscape of a weekend.