Native Wild Spaces

From 2017 to Present

Artists are intrinsically tied to the land and I am no exception. Instead of painting large expansive landscapes, I have always been drawn to places and spaces in between that are more intimate and detailed. These are the native wild spaces that are often overlooked because they are messy or hidden but no less important. There is magic in the chaos.

Thicket No. 2

Watercolor + Graphite Pencil on 300lb 100% Cotton Hot Press Fabriano Watercolor Paper.
14” H x 29” W. Framed. © 2017 Kristin Maija Peterson I 650 USD

I created a number of thicket-themed pieces using a limited color palette. I have always loved the galls that inflict goldenrod stems as they change colors from greens and pinks in summer to deep sepia in the fall. I also like to include a few inhabitants who occupy a Midwest prairie biome.

Native Wild Spaces I prairie plants series

After The Frost

The Crown

Watercolor + Graphite Pencil on 300lb. 100% Cotton Fabriano Watercolor Paper.
31.75” x 23.75” I Framed I 2300 USD
2019 © Kristin Maija Peterson

Lady in Waiting

Watercolor + Graphite Pencil on 300lb. 100% Cotton Fabriano Watercolor Paper.
22” x 15” I Unframed I 1500 USD
2019 © Kristin Maija Peterson


Watercolor + Graphite Pencil on 300lb. 100% Cotton Fabriano Watercolor Paper.
34.5” x 27.5.” I Framed I 1700 USD
2019 © Kristin Maija Peterson


There is something about wild native plants and the metamorphosis that happens after the frost has done them in that makes them amazingly beautiful. I wanted to illuminate wild native plants in a higher light as they perform many vital services even in death. They may have seeds for birds to feed on throughout the winter and their hollowed stems can be a place for beneficial insects to hibernate. Holding the soil with their deep roots, they keep it from washing away when the snow melts in spring. Their decaying bodies return to the soil, nurturing it for the next generation of wild native plants.

Native Wild Spaces I non-human architects

What Animals Create

Tiny Planet

Graphite Pencil on 300lb.
100% Cotton Fabriano Watercolor Paper.
22” x 15” I Unframed I NFS
2018 © Kristin Maija Peterson

Temporary Housing

Graphite Pencil on 300lb. 100% Cotton
Fabriano Watercolor Paper.
35” x 27.635” I Framed I 1700 USD
2018 © Kristin Maija Peterson

Collateral Beauty

Graphite Pencil on 300lb. 100% Cotton
Fabriano Watercolor Paper.
35” x 27.625” I Framed I 1700 USD
2018 © Kristin Maija Peterson


Mobile Home

Graphite Pencil on 300lb. 100% Cotton Fabriano Watercolor Paper.
29” x 26” I Framed I 1700 USD 2020 © Kristin Maija Peterson

We are just beginning to learn about the emotional and intellectual lives of animals. Not just mammals but invertebrates like squid and octopus have them, too. (Watching the documentary film My Octopus Teacher is a testament to this).

Who is to say a simple common snail wouldn’t want to adorn her shell? As if inspired by William Morris’ designs and philosophy that we should all be surrounded by beautiful things to improve one’s well being, she more aptly took from her surroundings, the delicate fern and mosses, wrapping them around her home just so.


Humans aren’t the only creatures who build or create things. I wanted to take an up-close look at the things animals build, from the nurseries that insects make out of goldenrod stems (as in Tiny Planet), to bird nest design to a warning about invaders like Japanese Beetles (as in Collateral Beauty). Each of these is drawn upwards of 300% of their actual size and took over 60 hours to complete.

large detailed drawing of bull thistle flower head by kristin maija peterson


Graphite Pencil on 300lb 100% Cotton Hot Press Fabriano Watercolor Paper.
29” H x 34” W. Framed. © 2019 Kristin Maija Peterson I 3000 USD

This piece was produced for a unique exhibition, entitled IN YOUR ELEMENT organized and curated by The Natural Heritage Project. Artists selected for the exhibit were provided their own GPS location (sent via USPS) to travel to and to commit at least an hour in the natural setting they designated to observe. After their time spent “in their element,” artists were asked to create a work of art in the medium of their choosing based on their observations including research, and prepare a written statement about their experience and findings.

My GPS location took me to what I later discovered as Standing Cedars Community Land Conservancy, south of Osceola, Wisconsin. This land is protected by a nonprofit organization led by a diverse group of St. Croix Valley residents committed to protecting and preserving the incredible quality and diverse biomes of the Lower St. Croix uplands from over development and for future generations.

The specific spot at the land conservancy I was observing and later discovered is called Buffalo Skull. That made me tingle as while I was there, in the quiet hum of insects and crickets, I swear one of my first visions was buffalo (lots of buffalo) that roamed here a century before.

If I were to go back and revisit this assignment, I may have done a composition of a large buffalo herd grazing. But that’s not the direction of my work. I was drawn to the back underside of dead bull thistles that made me think of woven baskets. Baskets for holding, gathering, giving, and receiving. Reciprocity. Indeed, that land had been rescued from agricultural use and appeared to be resting.

Because of its sandy rocky soils and seed resources, that land has reverted, supporting a surprising number of native species. We take care of the land and the land takes care of us.Think what you will about bull thistles. Some would argue they are invasive. To others, they love the big puffs of purple bloom thistles produce.

Thistles could be the symbol of reciprocity. In exchange for a place on this earth they are noteworthy for their high wildlife value, producing copious floral resources for pollinators, nourishing seeds for birds, like goldfinches, foliage for butterfly larvae, and down for lining birds’ nests.


10% of all Terra Kind Studio’s annual sales of original artwork and prints are donated to nonprofits working on environmental and climate change issues. By supporting this local artist, you can have beauty on your walls while doing good in the world.

All artwork shown on this website is protected by copyright law and can not be reproduced without expressed written permission by the artist.
If you like what you see here, be kind and share but don’t steal.


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.

Contact the Studio

p: 651 318 7100

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