Wet Paint

Artists' Materials & Framing in St. Paul, MN


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Painting the Place Between

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Kristen Lowe going on location with Holly Swift last winter

We are having one of those truly Minnesota weeks where we transition through a wide range of seasons in short order. Just days ago I moved through three different weight coats in one afternoon. By the end of today’s lunch, I had shoveled my sidewalk twice. What was falling from the sky on my way to Wet Paint wasn’t really snow or sleet or rain or hail. If we lived in Iceland or Greenland or Sami country, we would have an exact word for it. And the meteorologists are bracing us for sub-zero temperatures by the weekend. So we figure out how to navigate through our new landscape and still get back and forth to work and get all that holiday shopping done.
Looking at snow I like to focus on the shadows. Years ago, Art Graham added Ultramarine Violet to his watercolor paint line. It seemed odd to me he would add this one color. He told me it was for painting shadows on the snow. Holly Swift’s paintings, currently at Macalester’s gallery, have these haunting violet iridescent passages which remind me of the same unexpected coloration that you don’t see in the landscape until you really look, and then you do.

"Painting the Place Between" poster image

“Painting the Place Between” poster image

By Friday we will be in our seasoned Minnesotan zone, ready to weather it all to the Fitzgerald Theatre in downtown Saint Paul to attend the premiere of “Painting the Place Between.” A documentary film by artist Kristen Lowe, it features four of the Twin Cities’ finest landscape painters, Betsy Byers, Jil Evans, Holly Swift and Andrew Wykes. From the video clip I can tell these are the stories of real people weathering their life, their art and their craft in the Minnesota landscape. They split their time between the plein air and the studio with finished works that approach the abstract but are true to “the place between.”
You can still get tickets for Friday’s premiere. Before the showing, there will be a reception with the artists. It should be a great landscape of a weekend.

 

 


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Wet Paint loves Holly Swift’s New Show at Mac

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Detail of “Cedar Grove, September,” oil on canvas

When you’ve had too much of the seasonal events get yourself over to see Holly Newton Swift’s exhibit at Macalester College. It’s a 2 block walk from Wet Paint and worth every step no matter what the weather.

The show includes sketches and fully executed works both in drawing and painting. Swift studies the landscape and its trees, branches, boulders, water and snow and thoroughly investigates her materials, charcoals and oils, with the same depth. Her understanding of subject and materials masterfully comes together in compositions that reinforce both. She makes the most amazing colors zing out of a palette of greys.

This is another show that confirms Macalester has built a quality space in their newly renovated Law Warschaw Gallery, Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center. Swift’s paintings just sing in this gallery. It feels museum-like yet intimate with soaring ceilings that never seem to dwarf the art on display. Its greatest downfall as a college gallery is their limited hours. Check before you go. (They will be closed this Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday but open Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4. )

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“Spring Cascade” featured in Painting the Places Between

You can have another view of Holly Swift’s work through Kristen Lowe’s film “Painting the Place Between.” Swift along with Betsey Byers, Jil Evans and Andrew Wykes are the four featured landscape painters in the film that will debut at the Fitzgerald Theatre in Saint Paul on December 6th. We have tickets for sale at Wet Paint for this screening.

Woodlands and Waterfalls by Holly Newton Swift is on display until December 15th

Law Warschaw Gallery

website: macalester.edu/gallery

email: gallery@macalester.edu

phone: 651-696-6416