mississippi river water shoreline lake-marshall bridge minneapolis

River Divinations

Ongoing Exploration

My latest series began when I was provided an audio recording made by a first-year University of Saint Thomas student telling about his experiences with the Mississippi River. To be authentic about this project (Mississippi River Stories Exhibit), I retraced this student’s steps as best imaginable and discovered a portal into an oasis of peace and beauty.

I started taking reference photos. Light filtered through autumn Maple leaves in stunning color created a magical feel. I began noticing patterns and arrangements of natural objects along the shore. That’s when I started to think about divinations and their meaning.

We live in a state with the most fresh water in the world, home to the source of the Mississippi River. Water shapes our stories, songs, art, and culture.  Though we have made efforts in restoration and conservation, we have done much damage to our life-giving water. It’s time to pay attention to what the river has to tell us.

Over the next year or so, I will be exploring not just the Mississippi River but also the Minnesota River, local streams, creeks, marshes, and lakes seeking “messages” in natural patterns formed by these bodies of water turning each into a work of art.

Not that I have any experience in shamanism or divinations, but we all want to see what we want to see. The river welds its muse to shape the stories we tell ourselves. Ask people to look at what the water is saying, hear its poetry, and feel its magic. We feel so much better sitting at the river’s edge. — Kristin Maija Peterson

River Divination No. 1: Shores of the Mississippi River

River Divination No. 1


Watercolor on 300 lb. 100% Cotton Hot Press Fabriano Watercolor Paper. 36” H x 30.5” W. Framed.
© 2021 Kristin Maija Peterson I 2000 USD

This watercolor was created in participation with the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO), The Natural Heritage Project, and the University of St. Thomas’ Sustainable Communities Project for the exhibit Mississippi River Stories.

River Divination No. 2 Passing Through

River Divination No. 2


Watercolor on 300 lb. 100% Cotton Hot Press Fabriano Watercolor Paper. 15” H x 15” W. Unframed. © 2021 Kristin Maija Peterson I 1500

There was so much to take in that day by the Mississippi shoreline and I took many reference photos to bring back to the studio. I noticed a dog’s paw print with indentations of water drops scattered on the sand. The dog must have enjoyed a river dip before trotting back onto the bank. While I was relieved not to see trash scattered about, I didn’t see any evidence of human occupation with the exception of a lone rusted bolt that had washed ashore.

We Will Know When We Get There a new 2023 watercolor by Kristin Maija Peterson as part of her River Divination series

River Divination No. 3

Watercolor on 300 lb. 100% Cotton Hot Press Fabriano Watercolor Paper. 15” H x 15” W. Unframed. © 2023 Kristin Maija Peterson I 1500

This is an extention of River Divination No. 2. You can see a few of the same stones, the dog paw, just at a different perspective and lighting. It’s how our minds view and interprete the world, looking for signs on where to go next. I wanted to capture the strong afternoon light in contrast to what might be my shadow taking the photo.

original watercolor by Kristin Maija Peterson of backyard marsh ecosystem with autumn leaves, broken branches and clouds reflecting on its shallow waters.

River Divination No. 4

Watercolor on 300 lb. 100% Cotton Hot Press Fabriano Watercolor Paper. 21” H x 21” W. Unframed. © 2023 Kristin Maija Peterson I 1800


This is a view into the marsh that lives behind our house. It’s autumn with a few clouds reflecting on its shallow waters. In spring the marsh bursts into frog song. Later the arrowheads and blue flags will bloom. Red wing blackbirds nest in the reeds. Muskrats patrol Mallard ducks all summer long. That’s just the surface. I know there are many more organisms that call this marsh home.

I declared how beautiful the marsh is to our next-door neighbors, wishing I had a better view from our house. They weren’t enamored by it or could see its beauty.

SIDE NOTE: People sometimes use marsh and swamp interchangeably. I didn’t know the difference until I looked it up. Both are shallow bodies of water but their identification is based on where they reside. Marshes are found in open areas like prairie wetlands and swamps in forested areas. Both are vital and vibrate ecosystems.


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

e: hello@terrakindstudio.com
p: 651 318 7100

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