No Title Yet. But There is Love.

No Title Yet. But There is Love.

We use our blogs for many reasons and purposes. Mine has been used to illustrate an artistic life. Sometimes to inform, sometimes to market an upcoming exhibit or show work that doesn’t fit into a collection (yet).

What if I occasionally use this space for observations, field notes, and ideas, just as one would use a captain’s log or a day journal? Who would that benefit? Who on earth would read it?

Below is a stream of consciousness that while effective, popular blog posts feature the top ten whatever’s or three top tips to get you to where you want to go, this will have none of that. You have been warned.

I consider myself an environmental artist. There are many of us witnessing what is happening to our world and expressing it in our art. There is despair, yes, and also hope with a call to save all that we can, including ourselves. To know, like many of the plants I observe, we are resilient. (Really — never, ever underestimate the tenacity of a plant).

In the past two-going-on-three years of being able to practice my art full-time, I’ve become aware of a shift in me. I give myself time to be still. I have the birds to thank for that. They’ve taught me how to meditate. Since I don’t have a pet and have a desire to observe the wild up close, I feed the birds.

I note their behaviors and then cross-reference what I witnessed in a search (sometimes). I have seen cardinals court their sweetheart by offering her seeds which she excepts from his beak. A kiss. I have seen a male cardinal feed his fledgling daughter. I have also, in horror, seen cardinals defend their territory to the death. Last Thursday was a terrific battle and a female cardinal was taken out.

Mourning doves, as demure and docile as they seem, can be aggressive bullies, towards each other and other birds.

Females of the finches all seem to get along as if girlfriends having lunch together. It can be just as peaceful if a male comes and joins in.

A catbird bravely wanders about our front porch. Could she be looking for ants? There are so many ants in my garden. Troops of them.

My garden is now in its third year and finally looking like an honest-to-god respectable flower bed. There are plants that still get eaten. There are those that are thriving and therefore must be divided. A few have surprised me with their resilience. A rescued rose bush now bears three rich red blooms, a sharp contrast to everything else growing alongside. I’ve never been a true fan of rose bushes and know more about their wild cousins than their cultivated kin. The hardiness of this little rose bush makes me determined, proof that perseverance has its rewards.

Weeding. I am a casual weeder. Pulling mainly and mostly buckthorn seedlings. Knowing that plants communicate (among other things) with one another through their root systems with the aid of mycorrhizal fungi, I wonder by pulling weeds did I just take down their phone lines?

I placed a make-shift bird bath stands off to the side of the garden as summer grew hotter with no rain in sight. It took awhile and then from the corner of my eye, I see a bird drinking from it. Now the word is out that this is a reliable watering hole, safe and in the shade.

I’ve heard that birds that stay year-round, like the cardinals, blue jays, woodpeckers, nuthatches, crows, and chickadees, learn the comings and going habits of their human neighbors. Often I hear the chickadees scolding me as I step out onto the deck to replenish the feeders. I wonder, do they have a name for me?

All the threads in which to write poetry, an art form that I’m having a love affair with, and sometimes manage to write a halfway decent response to this lover.

Lover. I heard in an interview with an author that the mention of the word “lover” people recoil. Are we really that prudish? The birds certainly know how to take a lover. The way the bumblebees hover and gather around the speedwell appears to be an act of love.

There is so much to observe and experience out in nature if we only take the time to do so. In our overly technological and materialist world, we are slowly dying inside. Feeling we are separate and not a part of nature is no accident. It has been slowly happening since the industrial age.

Environmental artists, such as myself, have been saying this, in many forms, for a while now. I make the plea to reconnect ourselves with nature as a way to overcome the paralysis that we are in a crisis. In order to save all that we can save, we need to reconnect with our true nature through nature. When we find meaningful connections, love inevitably follows. And what we love, we are driven to protect.

Solo Exhibit: Children of Nature

Solo Exhibit: Children of Nature

POST-MODERN ECOLOGICAL VISUAL ARTIST’S DEBUT SOLO EXHIBITION AIMS TO RE-CONNECT US WITH NATURE, SHARES POSITIVE ACTION FOR CLIMATE CHANGE

DEBUT solo exhibition re-connects us with our eight-year-old selves, the miraculous and reciprocity in nature, and offers curiosity, action, and hope for our changing climate. 

Globally, artists have expressed dire climate consequences. A new artist solo exhibition “Children of Nature: Find Your Wonderland” opens June 5 and runs through June 30, 2022, at the Owatonna Arts Center, Owatonna, Minnesota, offering an educational and healing perspective on the environment and climate change. 

Educated in the Fine Arts and Art History at the University of Minnesota–Morris, self-proclaimed post-modern ecological and visual artist Kristin Maija Peterson approaches nature-inspired art with a mission.  Peterson focuses on the valuable services wild and messy ecosystems provide that our aesthetics want to control with tuff and fertilizers. 

A life-long artist, Peterson ran her own graphic design and branding company, Grand Ciel Design Co. for 25 years. Working with environmental-based clients (MN DNR, Metro Blooms, and Blue Thumb — Planting for Clean Water®)  has influenced her new work. Ever curious, Peterson routinely researched topics beyond clients’ projects, blending creative solutions to explain science visually; it gave these projects authenticity. “I could openly advocate for the environment by sharing what I learned in a positive way,” Kristin says. “I want to continue that advocacy through my artwork.”

“Art and science are kindred spirits. Many artists throughout time were naturalists, discovering new species of plants, fungi, and insects, painting and sketching them, and recording the changes in life cycles known as phenology. With our changing climate, we’ve been witnessing more changes in life cycles, too. We are becoming citizen phenologists whether we realize it or not.” 

In Peterson’s debut solo exhibit, she asks viewers to remember and re-connect with their eight-year-old selves –  innately curious, feeling a sense of belonging and connection in nature. Her works are accompanied by short stories by the artist and quotes that expand on each piece, providing a deeper meaning for viewers. 

“Our disconnect from nature is killing us. When we are out in nature, our bodies remember and respond by lowing blood pressure and stress levels, increasing our ability to focus and aid in our bodies’ healing process….If we take care of the natural world, the natural world will take care of us.”

Peterson’s graphite drawings are highly detailed, often representing small natural findings up to 300% of their actual size, taking on a miraculous effect. Many of her works take upwards of 80 hours. For her watercolors, Peterson works in layers of color until the pieces appear to glow. “The practice of making art becomes meditative…that slowing down we feel when we are out in nature,” says Kristin.

To encourage the community to get closer to nature, Peterson will be holding a drawing, and raffling off a hand full of native plants and two small original prints of her work after her artist talk which starts at 2:30 pm on Sunday, June 5, 2022. “It’s important to encourage people to create green spaces and know how it important it is to our health and well-being.” She will also provide a list of reading recommendations, the approachable books on nature and the environment that have inspired Peterson’s work.


IF YOU GO: EXHIBIT DETAILS

EXHIBIT DETAILS:
Children of Nature: Find Your Wonderland

Works on Paper by Kristin Maija Peterson
Held at the Owatonna Arts Center
435 Garden View Lane, Owatonna, MN 55060, (507) 451-0533

Opening Artist’s Reception: Sunday, June 5, 2022, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm
with an Artist’s Talk at 2:30 pm followed by a raffle drawing

Owatonna Arts Center Gallery hours are Tuesdays through Sundays from 1:00 to 5:00 pm

Refreshments will be served. Artwork is available for sale. 10% of all sales will be donated to Minnesota environmental non-profit organizations and 20% of all sales go in support of the Owatonna Arts Center.

Kristin Maija Peterson is a practicing professional visual artist currently based in Lakeville, Minnesota. Since 2016, she has frequently shown her work regionally, in and around the Twin Cities in both juried and group exhibits. Web: https://terrakindstudio.com  Studio: (651) 318-7100. Email: hello@terrakindstudio.com

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