Introducing Pop-Up Artist, Sarah Riley

During the Lake Superior 20/20 Studio & Art Tour, hosts open their studios to guest artists. But as a bonus opportunity for our visitors to see more art, they also invite pop-up artists who make small batch work or are just starting out. Sarah Riley is a popular Minneapolis based artist who will be joining us as a pop-up featuring her vibrant paintings. Sarah is well known for her commissioned portrait work as well as fun pop culture references and nature inspired work. We hope you’ll enjoy learning more about Sarah and her work!

What do you like the most about visiting the North Shore?

 I lived in the Twin Ports area for around 10 years. I moved there to attend college and grad school, and it is still one of my favorite places to visit.  Lake Superior, the surrounding beaches, the waterfalls and hiking areas are extremely beautiful. Also, the local art scene is awesome and growing all the time.

As a new artist in the tour, what are you looking forward to?

This will be my first time participating in the tour and I’m so excited and honored to be part of it.  I’m brand new at pursuing art full time and I am so grateful for the exposure and the experience. The beautiful area inspires the artists to create, and the beautiful art inspires art lovers and adventurers to visit the area; it’s a really wonderful concept all around.  

Pollinator Potnia by Sarah Riley

What is it that you enjoy about working in your medium?

My main medium of choice is oil painting; painting with oils is my absolute favorite thing to do. I never get tired of it.  It’s so flexible, the possibilities are truly endless; there are always new techniques to explore and I feel like I learn something new with every painting I make.  It is extremely captivating and fulfilling. The colors are so vivid and luminescent, and the texture is so thick and buttery. Because oil paint takes so long to dry it allows you to continue to blend and work until you achieve your desired effect.  You can premix the colors on a palette, and you can also continue to blend the colors on the canvas. You can create such soft smooth blends, which are perfect for creating realistic flesh tones and textures, but you can also build up the paint thickly for more expressionistic effects.  Oil paint has a reputation for being extremely daunting, but really I think it’s one of the most approachable and friendly mediums out there. If you have an inkling to try it, you should absolutely go for it.

You can find Sarah at the Larsmont Schoolhouse stop on the tour. For more about Sarah visit artbysarahriley.smugmug.com. For more information about the studio stop where you can find her during the tour, click the button below:

2019 Artist Highlight

Introducing new host artist, Sarah Brokke

We are very pleased to welcome another new host to this year’s tour. Known for her intense and vibrant portrait work, Sarah is bringing an exciting opportunity to learn more about her dynamic work in the place that inspires her. Sarah is an art instructor at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth and has been showing her work in the area for many years. She is also involved with her community through the Mural Initiative Project, including a recent mural painted with students at CSS and the kids at our local North Shore Community School, where it can be found! Sarah shared what it is like to live and work as an artist on the North Shore.

 What do you like the most about living and working on the North Shore?

The beauty of the lake, the ever-shifting colors of the landscape, and the people who live here are continual sources of inspiration. I spend time in the woods everyday, and I never cease to be amazed by the sensory experience of just being among the trees in the fresh air. 

What are you looking forward to during the tour?

I’m a veteran 20/20 attendee— I’m always amazed at the incredible breadth of work made on the North Shore. This year I’m honored to be a part of a group of artists who call such a beautiful place ‘home’.  I’m also thrilled to host such amazing artists at my studio.

“She is Mid Winter” by Sarah Brokke

What is it that you enjoy about working in your medium?

I have a deep love for painting due to the richness of the color and the physicality of the paint.  Painting for me is both meditation and escape and helps me to understand and digest elements of the world around me. It is an absolute gift to be able to make the kind of work I do.

The finished mural at the North Shore Community School

To learn more about Sarah’s studio stop, click the button below:

2019 Artist Highlight

Meet Corine Buechner, Host Artist

Corine is a returning host artist for this year’s Lake Superior 20/20 Studio & Art Tour. She will be opening her studio to visitors, welcoming them to the gorgeous textures and ethereal colors in her delicately composed mixed media paintings. Not only a painter but a talented fiber artist as well, Corine shared what it is like to live and work on the North Shore, and gave some exciting details about what to expect at her studio stop!

What do you like the most about living and working on the North Shore?

I love to walk in the woods and with my dog Bijo and look for wild flowers and fungi. 

As an artist in the tour, what are you most excited about?

I’m excited to see all of the lovely people who visit our show. We’ll have music all day Saturday again this year so I’m looking forward to that as well. 

What is it that you enjoy about working in your medium?

I enjoy creating art through combinations of texture and color. 

Beautiful textured artwork by Corine Buechner

For more information about Corine’s studio stop, click the button below:

2019 Artist Highlight

Meet Lisa Kosmo, Host Artist on the Lake Superior 20/20 Studio & Art Tour

We are thrilled that Lisa Kosmo is once again a host artist for the Lake Superior 20/20 Studio & Art Tour. She instills her love of nature in every aspect of her work, from plein air painting to book illustration. Her work is vibrant and full of life! We asked her to share what it is like living as an artist on the North Shore.

What do you like the most about living and working on the North Shore?

I like that I can be in a quiet space right outside my backdoor.

Lisa Kosmo’s “March, Amber Flow”

As an artist in the tour, what are you most excited about?

Visiting with people that appreciate your art and art in general. Many of the people that take these tours are such giving people, they are looking for gifts for someone else and want to support local artisans. 

“Walleye”, a sneak peek at upcoming illustrations by Lisa Kosmo in “Love of a River” by Darby Nelson

What is it that you enjoy about working in your medium?

I worked in acrylics for many years, but the last couple of years I’ve returned to oils. I love the richness, the smell and texture. 

Lisa Kosmo’s “New Moon Rising”

A great selection of Lisa Kosmo’s work can be found at her studio stop on the tour. It’s a stop you won’t want to miss! For more information on Studio LK, click the button below:

2019 Artist Highlight

Meet Guest Artist Sandi Pillsbury!

Sandi Pillsbury is a longtime participant to the Lake Superior 20/20 Studio & Art Tour, and after a brief break is returning again this year as a guest at Christian Dalbec’s studio. Sandi is invested in her community, and can be found participating in workshops up and down the North Shore, as well as investing her time among numerous arts organizations. We asked her to share what it is like being a painter on the North Shore!

What do you like the most about living and working on the North Shore?

I have always been drawn to nature and the peace and solitude that the North Shore has to offer. I have been coming up to the North Shore of Lake Superior ever since I was a baby, so it has been an integral part of my life for almost 70 years! I cannot think of anyplace else I would rather live.  I feel incredibly blessed to have a home ON the big lake, which has been a dream of mine for a long time. My husband and I bought our home 24 years ago, and we share it with our two Samoyed fur babies: Magic and River. 

Sandi painting plein air on Agate Bay in Two Harbors, Minnesota

What are you most excited about for this year’s tour?

I am most excited about the new direction that the tour is taking this year! We have a GREAT team of new curators with great skill sets that provide the tour with more of a 21st Century look and connection via social media and web presence! I am excited about being back in the tour after taking a year off. It’s going to be a great event with new artists on the tour, new studios and a new logo design!

What is it that you enjoy about working in your medium?

I work primarily in oil paint. I like to be able to come back to a painting after letting it “sit” over night and being able to still add/subtract to/from the image. I sometimes will use alkyd paint which is a synthetic oil that dries faster than regular oils. This way, I can layer and glaze my paintings to give them further depth and meaning. 

Summer Day Lester River, Oil Painting by Sandi Pillsbury

For more information about Sandi’s work and her host studio location, click the button below:

2019 Artist Highlight

Meet Helen Hartley, Host Artist

Helen Hartley is a longtime participant of the Lake Superior 20/20 Studio & Art Tour. She hosts the group of artists at the stop along the Scenic Highway at the Larsmont Schoolhouse. Helen is an active member of the Two Harbors art scene. Her work carries a distinct charm and expressiveness, no matter which medium she pursues.

Helen Hartley and just a small sampling of her art

“I’ve always loved doing art—it was my voice when I was young.  My subject matter still “draws” from my soul. I helped others create art as a therapy in my medical profession for 30 years.  Personally, I have continually learned new techniques by taking classes and workshops. I have seen variety in my style; my favorite might be the more whimsical, but I am challenged with portraits as well.  So here I am with pieces of my work; pieces of me—putting watercolor to paper, alkyd to canvas, and releasing expression from a hunk of clay. All of this makes me smile.”

~Helen Griffin Hartley

For more information about Helen Hartley’s stop on the tour, click the button below!

2019 Artist Highlight

Introducing Guest Artist Aaron Kloss

We are very pleased to welcome Aaron Kloss to the Lake Superior 20/20 Studio & Art Tour this year! He is joining us as a new guest artist on the tour but is already well known throughout the region for his lively and expressive paintings featuring scenes of northern Minnesota. We asked him to share what it is like to live and work on the North Shore.

 What do you like the most about living and working on the North Shore?

After growing up in the twin cities area, I appreciate the fact that I can walk out my front door in Duluth and be on the shoreline of lake Superior in a few minutes. The wilderness and wildlife, along with the changing seasons, always provides more than enough inspiration to keep my paintbrush going. 

“The King of the Blues” painting by Aaron Kloss

As a new artist in the tour, what are you looking forward to?

Since this is my first time on this tour, I look forward to visiting people and artists on the tour, learning about other artists and hearing of the adventures of folks traveling up the shore.

What is it that you enjoy about working in your medium?

I enjoy painting in an expressive style, and feel like this style is my voice to share my many adventures in and around Duluth, MN. I also love color and contrast, and the process of watching a new work reveal itself on the canvas.

“Starry Spring Lake”, painting by Aaron Kloss

For more information about Aaron’s work and where to find him at his host studio for the tour, Studio JM, click the button below:

2019 Artist Highlight

Introducing New Host Artist E.J. Klepinger

We are pleased to introduce you to an artist who is hosting a beautiful new studio stop on the tour. Although he is new to us this year, E.J. Klepinger is already known in the community for his artwork and for teaching the popular weekly “Brushes, Beans, & Brews” art classes at the Mocha Moose along the Scenic Drive. We asked him to describe what it is like to live and work next to Lake Superior!

What do you like the most about living and working on the North Shore?

Nature is the greatest influence to my art, both through a shamanic spiritual connection and through the beauty of nature. Having lived most of my life in Colorado, I have always appreciated the natural world and its life forms from the time I was a small child, and have celebrated my love of nature through my art and poetry. I have learned that all life, both wild and domesticated, has an energy and being able to connect to that energy and portray it is one of the greatest joys I can imagine. It is also important to me to support the community and other artists, and I have loved being a part of this area and its people. This is the very first time in my 54 years of life that I felt like I was truly home. I have been very blessed to have many avenues to be an artist, from teaching, illustrating books, commission works and creating art to be enjoyed by collectors.

 As a new artist in the tour, what are you looking forward to?

Honestly, I love seeing people look at art, really absorb it and be intrigued by it. When this occurs with your own art, where they really take time to look at it and enjoy it, that is the greatest gift I can imagine related to my art. If they purchase my art, that is beyond amazing and I feel so blessed to have moved them enough to want include it in their space and their lives. I focus so much on the energy of the subject, and for viewers to feel that energy, to often comment on it, and to even be moved to tears by it, is an incredible experience to witness. I live in a very magical place and to be able to share that with folks on the tour is wonderful. To feel the energy of the artists that will be on the property and to share that energy with visitors is truly a blessing.

EJ Klepinger at work in the studio.

 What is it that you enjoy about working in your mediums?

I was taught, and I think many artists are taught, you have to focus on one medium. I fully disagree with this ‘rule’. I so appreciate artists that do, however for me, each medium has challenges and opportunities that might better serve the subject. To limit myself to just one medium is to limit my subject’s ability to express itself through my art. Being able to work in acrylics, oils, watercolor, soft pastel, pencil and pen and ink gives me many tools to honor my subject, and many forms of expressions to stimulate the viewer. I see the medium itself as a technique or artistic choice, what I enjoy the most is how the medium honors the subject, and I enjoy using the medium to do so. My enjoyment is less about the medium and more about the subject. There are times when I started with a medium and I completely abandon it and start over in a different medium. I is all about the subject for me and celebrating its energy.

Scratch art by EJ Klepinger

Notes about the studio…

 I am very much into the environment and nature, and am continually doing things to support my respect and love. I have a very difficult time killing anything, including the ‘dreaded’ tick and mosquito. My humble cabin home is rustic, and though I am slowly updating areas, I also love the ancient history it contains. This year I have also been playing with not mowing the yard fully or as much, and have thoroughly enjoyed seeing what forms of flowers, grasses and other plants grow, and what types of animals and insects it attracts. I have never seen so many monarchs as I have this year, so I have also begun planting butterfly and bee friendly plants in the organized beds, and am going to be planting a Swamp Milkweed patch in part of the yard. This has been a fun learning process of how to successfully germinate milkweed from seed. Hopefully by the time the show is here, others will see the fruits of my attempts.

Wolf by EJ Klepinger

For more information about E.J. Klepinger’s studio stop on the tour, please click the button below!