It’s cold in Minnesota in winter. That’s a fact. A current show at Reedy Gallery in Chaska, Minnesota, suggests that it is also very beautiful.
“Winter Wonderland: Beauty Revealed” turns the spotlight on five artists: Andy Evansen, Tom Foty, Charlotte Laxen, Kathryn Mussack, and Neil Sherman. Their paintings depict Minnesota winter in all its glory. Even at its harshest, winter plein air painting in Minnesota is rewarding, according to Sherman.

“Chasing Shadows,” by Kathryn Mussack

“This show has some great examples of the beauty of Minnesota winter,” he says. “I live in Grand Marais, which is about 20 minutes from the Canadian border. A warm day of winter painting there is about 0 degrees. Also, I live along Lake Superior, so you get high winds coming off of it. That has an effect as well.”

“Arboretum Cardinals,” by Kathryn Mussack

Sherman says the key is to use turpentine, stab the end of the paintbrush through a woolen mitten into your grasp, and keep moving. “The hard part is keeping yourself warm,” says the artist. “I take breaks and go for a short hike, then come back to the painting.”

“Morning Sauna,” by Neil Sherman, oil, 20 x 22 in.

The Reedy Gallery is in the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. Chaska is on the outskirts of Minneapolis. Kathryn Mussack says the exhibition came together thanks to the work of Wendy Dipaolis, the Arboretum’s curator. “Since I love the seasons, I am continuously painting en plein air, many from spots at the Arboretum,” says Mussack. “I live close by, and it is one of my favorite locations. It was easy to pull some favorites from my body of work and also create some new work for the show.”

“Weathering,” by Neil Sherman, oil, 8 x 10 in.

The exhibition had an unusual artist’s reception on January 23. “Wendy also came up with the idea of each of the featured artists to give a little talk, a la ‘speed dating,’ for a few minutes to a small group at a time, then have the groups rotate so that we had a chance to talk with everyone,” explains Mussack. “This allowed more intimate discussions, and afforded everyone a chance to meet everyone else. I only wish I could have heard the other artists!”
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