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By Liz Potasek
You won’t want to miss the “Trees as Sanctuary” exhibit, open through October 11, in the Arboretum’s newly reopened Reedy Gallery. The exhibit explores the ways trees nurture our connection to nature. Paintings in watercolor, acrylic and oil from accomplished Minnesota artists Ashley Dull, Catherine Hearding and Dan Wiemer highlight the important role that trees play in our natural environment.
About the Artists
Ashley Dull Lindeman, who lives with her husband and two children on a hobby farm in Buffalo, has been painting professionally for 15 years since studying Art at Luther College in Decorah, IA. She paints landscapes in oil. “Many of my paintings have light and trees in them, and I wish for my light-filled paintings to connect the viewer to the peace within themselves,” Dull says. “I believe in the goodness of humanity, and the light I paint represents the goodness of the spirit of God I feel so connected to while witnessing nature and then painting it back at my easel, as well as the goodness that I believe is in each one of us.”
Dull’s paintings are created using layers of oil paint. She spends months–and sometimes years–working on a painting. “I’ve developed a technique of building up layers of paint using a palette knife, representing the leaves of trees or grass in the foregrounds of my paintings,” she says. “The rewards I get from this is that people often say they feel like they are in the painting, as though they want to reach out and touch the trees. The light I paint is always very smooth and blended, to depict a spiritual representation. I love when people tell me how real the light it feels to them.”
She finds inspiration for her work in nature. “I am always in awe witnessing the unfolding beauty that surrounds me, so I take photos and use them as inspiration while behind my easel,” she says.
Visit Dull’s website.
Catherine Hearding, of Lake Elmo, MN, is a self-taught artist with more than 40 years of experience in watercolor, her favorite medium because of its unique ability to capture the essence of light. Her paintings focus on the interplay of color and light in the natural world. “All the paintings for this show come from places I have visited or areas I see every day,” Hearding says. “What captures my attention are the expressive and reflective qualities the trees exhibit. From the intertwining and connection of branches in a forest, to the reflection of atmospheric color, to the shadows they cast on the ground, all are qualities that make them great subjects to paint.”
Hearding works exclusively in the watercolor medium, because of its unique properties and transparency. “I like the way that the paint moves on the paper, enabling me to capture movement and the fleeting effects of light and atmosphere,” she says. “Because of watercolor’s transparency, the paint must be added from light to dark. This means that there is a lot of upfront planning to be done before I start a painting. I need to know where my lights are going to be. These are not painted white, but they are the white of the paper that is left unpainted. The process is essentially opposite from other painting mediums. The outcomes are never certain and there is a fair amount of excitement in the process.”
Hearding shows her work nationally and internationally, and holds signature status in the American Watercolor Society, Transparent Watercolor Society of America, and Watercolor USA Honor Society. She recently received the High Winds Medal from the American Watercolor Society and has received many other local and national awards. She is a past president of the Minnesota Watercolor Society. Her work has been published in “Artist’s Magazine”, “Watercolor Artist” and in Northlight Book’s “Splash 14” and “Splash 16” series of watercolor books.
Hearding also teaches art classes at the Arboretum. Join her next workshop, “Colors of Winter: Watercolor Workshop with Catherine Hearding”, on Saturday, November 21. Learn more about painting classes at the Arboretum.
Visit Hearding’s website.
Dan Wiemer, of Red Wing, trained as a graphic designer and transitioned from a designer to illustrator to fine artist. He paints both plein air and in the studio, combining acrylic and watercolor in a unique way. “I play up the contrasts of the opaque acrylics and the transparent watercolors,” he says. “I paint like a printmaker, creating negative shapes through a resist process. My work resembles a batiq or a woodcut. I love to stylize and seek rhythms in a scene.”
He loves painting the “rugged North,” finding inspiration in Minnesota’s North Shore and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. “I have been fascinated by plants and trees since I was a child,” he says. “I am continually inspired by nature in its endless varieties of shapes and patterns.”
Weimer is a past president of the Minnesota Watercolor Society. Through an artist exchange program, he’s also had two extended stays in China, painting, teaching and exhibiting.
Visit Wiemer’s website.