From 2020 to Present
This is a collection of recent works accompanied by a story or inspiration behind each piece. Most of these works on paper are highly detailed, meditative, and take upwards of 80+ hours to complete. The work shown here may be experimental, using new techniques and medium, but always in my own unique aesthetic.
This Is Not a Weed
Watercolor on 300lb Hot Press Fabriano Watercolor Paper.
15” H x 15” W. Unframed. © 2021 Kristin Maija Peterson I 2000 USD
ABOUT THIS PIECE
A the center, in soft mint green is a Common Mullein. It is also been called “Cowboy’s Toilet Paper.” They don’t grow their signature tall stalk until their second year of growth. Mullein is from the Figwort/Snapdragon Family (I can kinda see that by their flower) and grows in meadows, by roadsides, and in wastelands. I see Common Mullein co-mingling with native prairie plants at Thomas Lake Park. To me they are a “prairie saguaro.”
From “The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies” by Nicole Apelian, Ph.D. and Claude Davis, Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) has many medicinal uses: for lung issues like bronchitis, laryngitis, and asthma, treating skin wounds, earaches, sunburn, warts, cramps and muscle spasms, and gastrointestinal issues.
I am on a quest to identify and paint what most people think of as weeds but actually are not. Everything has its gifts. And I want to find out what they are.
Watercolor on 300lb Cold Press Arches Watercolor Paper.
8” H x 8” W. Unframed. © 2021 Kristin Maija Peterson I 950 USD
ABOUT THIS PIECE
Inspiration is everywhere and often it shows up at my feet. There where I stand, I will find an assortment of organisms, all living together among minerals and matter that falls from the trees. To the casual observer, it may look like nothing, just weeds, and moss growing on rocks. To me, they are like “Tiny Universes.”
From the little I know about mosses, I understand when looking at their soft, bright green patches, I’m probably witnessing more than one species of moss co-mingling, although they could be in fierce competition with each other over resources.
Every plant and wildflower we encounter, there is a common name associated with it, one that’s easy to remember. Mosses have not been granted the same consideration and referred to only by their scientific names. It explains why I don’t know a single moss by its name. Sadly, I wouldn’t remember it.
I know people who disdain moss and want it removed from their yards. I know others who wish to be buried in it. Like fungi, mosses are an ancient organism as they, too, break down organic matter to replenish the soil. Perhaps their most astounding feat is turning boulders into sand. Never underestimate the tenacity of a plant.
Watercolor Pencil on 140lb 100% Cotton Hot Press Stonehenge Watercolor Paper.
20.5” H x 16” W. Unframed. © 2020 Kristin Maija Peterson I 1700 USD
ABOUT THIS PIECE
I want to live in a time before plastic. That would probably place me around 1907 when my grandmother was just a little girl. Ironically, plastic was to relieve stress and dependence on natural resources. Wood, metals, ivory, horn, and tortoiseshell are finite. At first, plastic was a good thing for the environment. We were free to develop the things that served a need without taking from the natural world.
By the time I entered the world in the 1960s, the world was just waking up to the plastic nightmare it had created. I remember seeing the now-classic environmental message, the television footage of the Native American who paddles his canoe ashore drawn to tears witnessing the piles of floating (plastic) trash in his wake.
Plastic continues to be a colossal environmental problem. It’s floating around everywhere, including in our bodies. So on a lovely bright sunny autumn day, I look up to see a robin’s nest partially constructed with one of those single-use plastic bags you find in the produce aisle. Oddly, it struck me as beautiful and at the same time tragic. How clever the bird! With plastic lining its sides, her nest insulated against moisture. The loose plastic blowing in the wind acts as a deterrent from predators looking for baby birds to eat.
I can only speculate the long-term damage plastic exposure has on her offspring and no doubt herself. Are her babies destined to use plastic in their nests, too? How much plastic ingested while handling fraying synthetic sacks while building a nest?
If you’ve read to this point you’re probably still wondering why I titled this piece “Ophelia.” True, it might not be the most fitting but the flowing plastic falling out of the robin’s nest made me remember seeing a production of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” on the Guthrie stage.
The costumes were stunning, each designed to mirror the characters and their station. At the beginning of the play, the young and very much in love Ophelia is beautifully dressed, not a hair out of place. As the story unfolds and Hamlet disses her, Ophelia begins to go mad. Likewise, her clothing becomes unhinged, loose, and flowing, out of control.
We are out of control, addicted, so much that there is no spot on earth left untouched by plastic. But we know what to do. There are ways to reduces our dependency on plastic though it takes time to find resources and change habits. I want to live in a time without plastic. I want to look up and discover the robin’s nest built as it should be, with mud, twigs, and a little down.
Please Pardon the Wet Paint
This page is a work in progress.
Terra Kind Studio showcases the creative work of visual artist and designer Kristin Maija Peterson. Growing up among prairies, lakes, rivers, and oak savannas along with her project work with environmental nonprofit organizations have collectively influenced her creative path. Kristin works in watercolor, graphite, color pencil, oil pastels and pen and ink, interpreting in detail the beautiful chaos within native wild spaces and its inhabitants found living there. She sees all living creatures as kin and is always kind to spiders.