Art Hounds recommend art-based road trips in Minnesota

Visual artists Lisa Bergh and Andrew Nordin of New London, Minn., recently took an art-themed road trip that included a stop at the Nemeth Art Center in Park Rapids, Minn. and the T. L. Solien exhibit “See the Sky.”

Solien’s large scale paintings captivated them. They described the drama of his contemporary work — its humor and pain and emotional charge — as well as his skill with color. “There’s actually some subtle moments in some of the smaller pieces that I found myself kind of stuck on,” said Nordin, who was struck by Solien’s use of the color yellow.

An image of artwork.

T.L. Solien, “The Renunciation 2,” 2015. Acrylic and enamel on canvas, 72 by 96 inches.

Courtesy of Nemeth Art Center

“I always love going to the Nemeth Art Center,” added Bergh, “You enter into the space through the [Hubbard County] Historical Museum with tons of artifacts, which even made more sense when you walk [up the big stairs] into Solien’s work, because the show is just built on all these artifacts of his personal history of culture.”

T.L. Solien’s show runs through July 17, with a closing reception on July 10 at 4 p.m.

Claude and Laurel Riedel of Minneapolis love the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and they recommend a children’s picture book written and illustrated by Ely residents, about a familiar scene during wildfire season.

A plane is pictured on a book cover

“Big Yellow: Firefighting Superstar,” written by Polly Carlson-Voiles and illustrated by Consie Powell

Courtesy Legacy Bound

The book is “Big Yellow: Firefighting Superstar,” written by Polly Carlson-Voiles and illustrated by Consie Powell. 

The Riedels have a personal connection to the story. While on a camping trip near Trout Lake some years ago with the author and her husband, they saw smoke from a forest fire. Both Claude and Laurel vividly remember the big yellow airplane that came swooping down to the lake in front of them, scooped up water, and then climbed up above the treeline with its heavy load to go fight the fire. 

Immediately, they turned to Carlson-Voiles with a recommendation: “You have to write a story about this,” said Laurel.  “Kids will love this. We are loving it as grownups.” 

The picture book was published this year by Minnesota-based Legacy Bound. The Riedels say their grandchildren, ages 7 and 10, enjoy reading about how planes are built and used to fight forest fires. Of the Ely-based illustrations, Laurel Riedel says “Big Yellow looks just like I remember her, just a little friendlier.”

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