Watercolors line up on state fair grounds

Like butterflies and ladybugs dancing on fresh spring breezes, the Art On a Line art show and sale gently casts hundreds of pieces of original artwork into the spring air.

Northstar Watermedia Society member Lyndy Colleen Johnson of Anoka will exhibit her work during the May 16-18 Art On a Line art show and sale in the fine arts building at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds.

Northstar Watermedia Society member Lyndy Colleen Johnson of Anoka will exhibit her work during the May 16-18 Art On a Line art show and sale in the fine arts building at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds.Photo by Sue Austreng

The 12th annual occasion wafts into the fine arts building at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds May 16-18.

Billed by the Northstar Watermedia Society as “the Midwest’s single largest art event,” Art On a Line brings together more than seven dozen artists and more than 4,500 piece of original art.

Members of the watermedia society serve as  organizer and presenter of Art On a Line and report that attending the event has become a local tradition for families, art collectors and the entire artistic community.

Frank Zeller, painter for more than a half-century and co-founder of the society (established in 1964 and known then as the Northstar Watercolor Society), said people stopping by Art On a Line can “catch the fever.”

“They get a chance to see a collection of original artwork, they get to meet the artists and see how it’s done. They get to see the variety and share the passion, catch the fever. It’s really quite an experience,” Zeller said.

Coon Rapids resident and watercolorist Diane Lee invites art-lovers of all kinds to stop by Art On a Line.

“People should come and see this refreshing, beautiful artwork, meet the artists, watch the demonstrations,” said Lee, a newer member of the Northstar Watermedia Society who is helping to promote the 2014 Art On a Line event.

Demonstrations presented by society members during Art On a Line often spark inspiration in those stopping by to see how the artwork is created.

Society member Lyndy Colleen Johnson, a resident of Anoka who teaches monthly watercolor painting at the Homestead of Anoka, talked about the wonder and beauty of watermedia.

“There is a difference between acrylics or oil and watercolor,” she said. “Watercolor glows on the paper, the colors mingle and move. They almost come alive.”

Watermedia artist and society member David R. Smith smiled as he described the “happy accidents” that happen on the paper canvas.

“You put the (water) color down and it moves, it has a life of its own,” said Smith, a resident of Excelsior. “When you take advantage of those happy accidents, it’s almost like watching a dancer. The brush moves across the paper, the colors dance, the effects move. It’s really quite lively and magical.”

Smith, who teaches developmentally adaptive physical education in Eden Prairie, said he fell in love with watermedia after learning Asian brush painting some 20 years ago.

Today, the artist is a prolific painter and is one of eight watermedia artists presenting demonstrations in the main area (located in the rear of the fine arts building) during the Art On a Line event.

“It’s really refreshing to see someone try painting and to discover ‘Hey, I’m really good at this.’ And then they find their passion, too,” Smith said.

Demonstrations of water-based media techniques will be offered throughout the weekend-long Art On a Line event. Those demonstrations will include techniques including acrylic, gesso, gouache, some collage, and traditional watercolor.

In addition to the scheduled demonstrations, more artists will present side demos all weekend long.

Johnson said the highest hopes for Art On a Line is to educate people about the beauty and creativity of watermedia, to introduce people to the Northstar Watermedia Society and to generate support for the artists.

“And the way you support local artists is to buy paintings,” she said.

More than 4,500 pieces of original artwork will be included in the Art On a Line show and sale. Those pieces are listed at a variety of prices, Lee said.

To learn more about Art On a Line, visit NorthstarWatermedia.com/art-on-a-line.

Art On a Line

Inside the fine arts building at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds

May 16 and 17, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and May 18, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Free admission

• Door prizes of original art

• More than 90 artists

• Artist demonstrations presented all weekend long

• More than 4,500 pieces of original art for sale

Artists at Work

Artist demonstrations take place throughout the 12th annual Art On a Line event at the state fairgrounds. The following artists are scheduled to present in the main demonstration area in the fine arts building (artist’s name followed by presentation theme):

Friday, May 16

11 a.m. Cal DeRuyter: “There is a Storm Brewing”

1 p.m. Duane Barnhart: “Beginning a Painting”

3 p.m. Emmy White: “Doodles, Yours and Mine”

Saturday, May 17

11 a.m. Jeanne Larson: “Add Mystery with Hidden Images”

1 p.m. Pat Undis: “Human Figure”

3 p.m. Judy Blain: “Stillwater Landscape”

Sunday May 18

11 a.m. Katherine Salverda: “Dynamic Sky Design”

1 p.m. David Smith: “Wet Into Wet Washes”

Sue Austreng is at
[email protected]

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