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Dutch Inspired Landscapes

When I was still a student in art school, one of my teachers remarked that my paintings looked a lot like Dutch landscapes. I was too green at that point to have done much of my own research and really had no idea what she meant by that observation.

I made my way to the library, hauled a few huge tomes off the shelf and upon inspection I found that my teacher was right. My paintings did look a lot like Dutch paintings. But why would that be so? And that began what has become an almost obsessive interest in Dutch culture, particularly 17th century Dutch culture.

See the Work

One could easily say I have strayed quite a bit from my initial query with most of my research, but to that end I have come up with a half-baked explanation for why the work of a Minnesota artist might look like that of a Dutch one. There are obvious things like; both Netherlands and Minnesota are northern, flat and agricultural. But there's a more interesting bit as well. The Netherlands is famous among painters for its very particular quality of light, aptly called, "Dutch Light".

The phenomenon of Dutch Light has been explained by the prevalent role of water in their landscape. The Netherlands is obviously coastal, but it is also below sea level and in order to keep the water table at a manageable level a complex system of canals runs throughout the whole country like a grid. All of this water acts like a mirror off of which the sun reflects, creating the famous extraordinary radiance. Obviously Minnesota is not coastal, but we do have our share of water, which impacts not only our weather (the lake effect), but I would argue, produces a quality of light similar to that of Netherlands.

In the works on view here, half painted after Dutch masters, and half my own Minnesota compositions, I hope to demonstrate those similarities.