As far back as new Wantoot artist LuAnn Widergren can remember, she has loved making art, with first works done in crayon on the walls of the family farm in Clinton, Wisconsin. She grew up in a chaotic household of five children, where creativity was supported and modeled by talented parents. During high School, she earned her college tuition doing art commissions, which also honed her drawing skills.
After receiving a degree in art education from University of Wisconsin/Platteville, LuAnn headed off to be an art teacher. She enjoyed a rewarding career teaching art, and continued to learn with a MS in art education and E.Ds. from Northern Illinois University. She directed her school district's fine arts programs, and did seven-year detour as a principal for a sweet elementary school.
In 2014 she changed gears to focus on painting, and during this time, discovered the world of plein air painting through her artist-sister, Lynette Redner. As LuAnn works and studies representational painting, she has attained professional accomplishments. She has won numerous awards, in both national and regional shows, plein air events, and art festivals.
Rowboat Waiting 5" x 7"
Wisconsin Vistas from a farm girl features paintings of familiar Wisconsin vistas as well as several featuring water and boat subjects as exemplified in Day on the River and Rowboat Waiting. "I have fond memories of summers boating and camping on the Wisconsin River. Day on the River, is reminiscent of those childhood adventures, of "discovering" an island, with all nature's bonuses to explore. The set up for the painting came easily --not always the case-- being a place I've visited often, with the curving lines of the sandbar, wooded shoreline, and on a closer look you, a heron on the bank. Often, wild life goes unnoticed, until they take off, maybe fed up with our four-legged painting partner, Sadie, splashing through the water. The desire to capture this scene, to make you feel like you are there, is true for all my paintings, something I have had since probably holding that first crayon, and thankfully with time, I've been able to trade up for oil paints."
"Day on the River" 24" x 48"
LuAnn continues: "I've always been drawn to old boats, and water. My Dad was probably a big influence, being a WWII Navy Veteran, always having a few boats to work on, and making sure we got to the river, partly due to five kids pressuring him. Even as a young kid, I would find ways to get out on the water. One spring our farm had flooding, so at the age of 7, I took an old wood feed box and my 1st mate, my 4 year old brother, out on the temporary pond. My parents found out when they saw the front page of the local paper covering the flooding with a photo of us having a great time out on the water. So are boats nostalgic, or am I just wired to love the old patinas of boats, being on the water, or close to nature in all its many forms? I think all of the above, When I run across an old boat , or see boats out on the water, I try to paint on location, and if not, take photo references, sketching with notes on information the camera might not give. Okay, just thinking about it, I can feel that same little kid inside!"
LuAnn Widergren: Wisconsin Vistas from a farm girl opens Friday, October 14, 2022, 10:00am online and in our Mineral Point gallery location.