2010 – 2011 Artist Bios

War and Peace Dillman Baker Sorrells, Olmsted County 

I spent my childhood in the southeastern corner of Missouri, a land of cotton fields on the Mississippi River. Hence my lifetime love of cotton fibers. After being educated as a biologist, rearing two children, and serving as a university librarian, I entered divinity school, was ordained, and served churches until my retirement. Along the way I never lost my childhood enthusiasm for science, literature, art, and fabric, all of which influence my creative work.

Pleasure for All Corene Bernatz, Olmsted County 

I have spent the greater part of my life in the heartland of this country, and my love for it permeates a major part of my work. The landscape is a definite fascination and often an inspiration for expression. However, other ideas and interests have also served as stimulus for artistic rendering. I enjoy a representational approach to most ideas, but have an admiration for and a tendency for an impressionistic interpretation. My work is exhibited in Minnesota galleries and is included in several private collections.

audio-visual Micah Bloom, Steele County 

Micah Bloom is married to Sara Bloom and they have three girls: Eva, Magdalana and Aletheia. He has just received his MFA from the University of Iowa in painting and drawing, and challenges artists and non-artists, alike, to ride bicycles. Prior to graduate school, Bloom taught elementary art in St Paul, Minnesota. In 2010, he will exhibit works at the Museum of Contemporary Art-Shanghai, 1918 ArtSPACE-Shanghai, Des Moines Art Center, and the Figge Art Museum. Find out more at: micahbloom.blogspot.com.

Savannah Reading in the Butterfly Garden Natalie Buske Thomas, Goodhue County 

Natalie Buske Thomas has lived in Minnesota for fifteen years. A graduate of Ball State University, she has been a teacher of the arts for over twenty years. Natalie is the author of the Serena Wilcox mysteries and a suspense novel, Angels Mark, in progress. She has written plays for live-stage theater productions and indie movies, and a children’s book. Natalie is a dancer, choreographer, singer, musician and public speaker. Savannah Reading in the Butterfly Garden is Natalie’s first painting in an exhibit. For more information about Natalie and her work, please visit her website at www.nataliethomas.us.

Henny Penny the Sky is Falling Craig Challgren, Rice County 

* Teenage apprenticeship in Welke’s portrait studio: darkroom & camera work.
* Journalism and Studio Arts at University of Minnesota.
* Illustrations and graphics on slides for executive speeches with MultiMedia, Inc. Multiple projector dissolving systems raise awareness of image interplay.
* Projected images live with musicians celebrates spontaneity.
* E&W Optical made custom precision glass for telescopes and lasers. “End of the day glass,” encouraged creative light bending optics.
* Light patterns are often printed on church bulletins by Vista III Design.
* Photoshop on the Macintosh computer adds digital tools which parallel conventional photo processes. The digital world improves photo mixing.
* Spectral light and color from sunlight are fun to photograph.

Old McDonald Had a Farm Gayle Dahl, Olmsted County 

More than likely you will find Gayle working in her rural studio in Byron, Minnesota. She has exhibited in several group shows and solo shows of her own. Her paintings hang in several private homes throughout the United States which, as she says, makes her feel connected to the Great U.S.A. Originals also hang in several foreign countries. Gayle says, “I paint to put a smile on your face and mine. Much prayer and conversation with my Lord goes into my work. I am sure this is why my creative juices keep flowing and I have more ideas than time.”

Hand Painted Dogwood Fruit Bowl Ke Ning Dauffenbach, Steele County 

Ning’s artistic endeavors started when she was a child in China. Her parents encouraged her to try various art mediums, including water color, ink and charcoal. Her father taught her numerous artistic skills and encouraged her early exploration of art. After coming to America, Ning took pottery classes. Finding clay to be a fulfilling medium to use, Ning set up her own home studio and gallery and started selling some of her artistic pieces at various art shows. The influences Ning experienced as a child are now reflected in the design of her artwork. Combining various throwing, carving, drawing, and glazing skills allows Ning to show her Chinese ancestry and her personal style in her artwork.

Quiet Please Sandy Dinse, Steele County 

I was born and raised on a farm in rural Owatonna, Minnesota. My school days, the first eight years, were spent in a one room school house. Friday afternoons were always spent on some type of art work. Since we didn’t have access to a city library, our teacher would go to the city library every two or three weeks and bring back new books for us to read. Rural life continued for me as I met my husband of 47 years while we both were attending Owatonna High School. He was engaged in farming so my roots were still on the farm. We raised three boys amidst the chores of producing livestock, crops and hay ground for our herd of Holstein dairy cows. Later years have brought retirement, tragic loss of our youngest son and a continued interest in the land, church, community and my love of painting.

Harmonica Hinds Randall Douglas, Olmsted County 

Randall Douglas is a portrait, fine art, and music photographer from Rochester, Minnesota. Randall makes his living doing portraits, events, selling custom prints, editorial coverage, and licensing his work. He covers concerts in Southern Minnesota for an online news service and is regularly published nationally and regionally (e.g., Seattle Magazine) and licensed commercially (e.g., Hitachi and Walt Disney Imagineering). Randall has a passion for music photography, including work on an ongoing series from the Chicago Bluesfest called “Portraits in Performance: Chicago Bluesfest.” He hopes the project will result in a show and a book after 1-2 more years of coverage.

The Readery Toni Easterson, Rice County 

My growing up took place in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. I am a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota, and Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. My father was a printmaker and for many years I, too, worked in printmaking. Lately though, I have become fascinated with the limitless possibilities of the fiber arts. Trained as a graphic designer, art, for me, begins with good design.

Orchids LaVonne Feuerhelm, Winona County 

LaVonne (Ender) Feuerhelm was born in 1932 and grew up in Hokah, Minnesota. In 1955, she married Ray Feuerhelm. They have 5 children and 4 grandchildren. The family moved to St. Charles in 1967 when Ray purchased the IGA store there. LaVonne helped in the store for 8 years and then began pursuing her dream to draw and paint. Pen & ink drawings were entered in the Winona Bicentennial Calendar, and she attended several Rosemaling classes in Decorah, Iowa. After several years of Rosemaling, she sewed custom draperies and quilts. She now sews landscape wall quilts and paints watercolors.

Your Love Mari Fleming, Olmsted County 

Mariclaire Smith Fleming was born in Winona, Minnesota and has lived in Rochester since 1988. She graduated from Saint Mary’s University with a B.A. in Graphic Design. Mariclaire and Kevin, her husband of 26 years have raised three children, Alyson, Daniel and Leo. Mariclaire volunteers her time to various area organizations while participating in local art and quilt shows.

The Book of M
The Book of M
Margaret Kiihne, Winona County 

Chapter I: Canadian born, grew up in Southern California. Graduated from USC: Zoology and English. Taught, married an artist, & traveled Europe a year.
Chapter 2: Lived in New Mexico, Oregon, Michigan, Winona. Taught in Brazil. Study-traveled in Japan, Fulbright Teachers Fellowship. Three children (four grandchildren) live in Boston, London, and Turks Islands.
Chapter 3: Create altered and original books which are homages to people and places influential to me (friends, relatives, road trips, Ray’s paintings & papermaking) and reflections of my life’s stories. Seek juxtaposing materials for my books: aluminum/transparencies; Barbie doll curls/cake; mink cuff/1949 photo; wire/palm.

After Hours Barbara Kinnick, Olmsted County 

A native of Michigan, I moved to Minnesota by way of Indiana in 1984. Drawing compulsively since childhood, I learned later to paint, detoured to nursing school, then married and raised young children before returning to art in middle age. I also am a musician and teach piano in Rochester. My work may be viewed at Sontes restaurant and at the SEMVA gallery, both in downtown Rochester, Minnesota. Please visit my website: www.kinnickartstudio.com. You can contact me at: info@kinnickartstudio.com.

Unexpected Read Susan Kosharek, Olmsted County 

My love for art and creating began when I was a young child growing up in rural Wisconsin. I continued dabbling in art until I had children. We made the decision to homeschool our children and at that time, I retired as a full time consulting dietitian. Soon I began playing with all types of mediums, under the guise of teaching art classes to the kids…. I continued exploring new mediums long after the kids interest waned. Currently I reside in Rochester, Minnesota. I continue to take over any unused space in our home and fill it with art projects, books or supplies. Currently my artwork is being sold at: Serendipity in Zumbrota, Minnesota, Bluff County Artist Gallery in Spring Grove, Minnesota, and at selected art fairs in the area.

Free Time Karen Lewis, Winona County 

A native of New England, Karen, her husband and four children migrated west over the years and have now settled in Winona, Minnesota, where they have lived for over 13 years. Karen received her MFA in Design from Ohio State and is a member of IATSE/USAA Scenic Artists union. She has spent 20 years working for professional Theatres and Universities as a Scenic Designer/Scenic Artist. As a studio artist, Karen enjoys painting both realistic and fantasy paintings. She balances doing commissioned works and exploring the freedom of painting it her way.

The Pond John McCoy, Olmsted County 

John T. McCoy was born Nov. 9, 1937 in Rochester, Minnesota. He attended Lourdes High School, Rochester Jr. College, Minnesota State, American Academy of Art Chicago, and Tyler School of Art PA. John is an art teacher in the Rochester school system.

Wave Sharol Nau, Rice County 

* Practicing artist since 1975
* Educated: Carleton College and Michigan State University.
* Selected Trimmings: Weisman Museum: permanent collection, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 2009
* Residency: Adobe Artist’s Studios, Carrizozo, New Mexico. 2009.
* Journal of Mathematics and the Arts (JMA)]: Nau: Artworks based on 2n = p+q, Nau: Journal Cover design, Taylor and Francis, 2007.
* Bridges: London, 2006, Nau: Tiled Artworks Based on the Goldbach Conjecture.
* Cited in Contemporary Art and the Mathematical Instinct, Exhibition Catalog, Tweed Museum, University of Minnesota Duluth, 2003.
* Cited in Public Art Affairs: 2002, FORECAST Public Artworks.

Green Focus Rex Patton, Olmsted County 

Dr. Rex C. Patton is a retired engineer who spent a career in Reliability engineering at IBM and TRW. His interest in computer art began as an undergraduate student trying to solve differential equations on an analog computer. The details of a math problem, made visible on a plotter, looked like art to an engineering student. As his engineering and educational experienced developed, he continued to develop visual mathematics as an art form. Today, he uses several programming languages, while continuing to learn & produce images using mathematics and different graphic techniques.

Reading Ann Riggott, Olmsted County 

I have been painting for approximately 20 years. I started out painting with acrylics and after a few years, moved to oils. Primarily a figurative artist, I have recently deviated from that subject matter to explore other subjects such as landscape and still life, specifically reflective pieces. My art is an important form of communication for me. It can express who I am and how I see the world in all its beauty and brokenness.

Pages Kellylynn Robitaille, Steele County 

My name is Kellylynn Robitaille and I am a glass artist. I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota and have lived in Owatonna, Minnesota for 18 years with my husband and German Shepherd dog. I started glasswork as a hobby and it has grown from there. I had tried other artistic medias before I tried the glass. When I tried glass, I knew I had found what I was looking for. I started with stained glass and then branched out into fused glass and lampwork (bead making) glass. Most of my work is fused glass. I take a lot of my inspiration from the nature around me. I have taken warm and hot glass classes in various locations around the country to further my understanding of the medium. I like the fact that I cannot completely control how the glass moves when it is being fired in the kiln.

The Safe Place Gretchen Schroeder, Olmsted County 

Currently a library technician at University Center Rochester, Gretchen K. Schroeder snapped her first photo at age three on her family’s farm in southeastern Minnesota, completely unaware that photography would later become her truest voice and passion. Gretchen’s photos showcase the extraordinary beauty that light, texture, and perspective lend to the most ordinary things. She also enjoys the responses her shots inspire as others realize, through her eyes, a new way of seeing their world. Compositions are often captured using a 70-300 mm lens with macro setting on her Canon Rebel SLR. Recently adding digital, she captured this photo.

Handwoven Journal Cover Connie Simonson, Olmsted County 

I am a retail supervisor by day and an “il-loom-inator” (illoominations@yahoo.com) by night! I started weaving in college and picked it up again many years later. Most of my weavings are done on a rigid heddle loom. I also use inkle, lap and weavette looms and even shampoo bottles and oatmeal cans! I love to mix textures and colors for a unique and interesting look. All my work is “one of a kind” art that is usable as well. I weave handbags, scarves, journal covers, shawls, wall hangings, key fobs, bookmarks and much more! Rochester, Minnesota has been my home for 30 years where I live with my husband, Doug, and two cats. I welcome special orders and would love to make a piece of woven art just for you!

They Sprang From Books Mike Snyder, Olmsted County 

After nearly 30 years working with lasers, cameras and computers as an optical engineer, Mike turned his attention to more artistic creations. He started going beyond normal pumpkin carving in 1998. Some creations have had images of spooks floating above the pumpkins or even blood flowing from a vampire’s mouth. While Mike works with many materials (including wood, sand & foods) and multiple sizes (from one inch to a hundred feet), his main passion is mechanical puzzles. His collection includes more than 1,400 different puzzles. He regularly designs and builds new puzzles that are traded with puzzle people around the world.

Book/To Read/To Learn Dee Teller, Rice County 

Dee Teller is an internationally known artist with a Master’s Degree in Studio Arts – famous for her Asian brush painting and calligraphy. In 1992, Dee was invited by China’s Ministry of Culture to be in an international competition. She won third place in the world out of 6,000 contestants from 16 countries. She is the only non-Asian artist with work and honors in “An Album of Selected Paintings by the 20th Century Outstanding Chinese Artists.” She co-led a group of 15 artists to China in 2009. She recently co-chaired an Asian brush workshop at the Brainerd Public Library.

John Carter of Mars Andy Vercnocke, Olmsted County 

Andy Vercnocke was born and raised in Lake County, Illinois, later relocating to Chaska, Minnesota. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and a minor in Studio Art from Winona State University in 2003. Andy was a cartoonist for the WSU newspaper, The Winonan, and now lives in Rochester, Minnesota, where he works on micro-CT image analysis and producing figures for scientific posters and publications with the Physiological Imaging Research Lab at the Mayo Clinic.

Bronte Howling Brooke Vertin, Rice County 

Brooke is from the northeast corner of Kansas where there are hills, rivers, and rainstorms. She graduated from the University of Kansas in 2004 with a BFA in printmaking and received her MFA in printmaking from the University of Notre Dame in 2010. Brooke currently works for Art Org, a non-profit arts group in Northfield, Minnesota, as a printmaker and co-op manager.

The Story Tellers Brenda Weich, Wabasha County 

  • B.F.A. Digital Art and Photography, University of Minnesota Duluth, 2009
  • A.S. with Honors, Digital Art: Multimedia Design, Rochester Community & Technical College, Rochester, Minnesota, 2006
  • Awards: U.R.O.P. University of Minnesota Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, Visual Sketches, 2008; Chancellor’s Purchase Award, University of Minnesota – Rochester, 2008; 2007 International Education Office Photo Contest, 3rd Place Award, University of Minnesota Duluth, 2007
  • Professional Activities: Zumbrota Area Arts Council member, Zumbrota Area Historical Society member, Wabasha and Goodhue County Historical Societies member
The World is on Fire Rachel Yenter, Wabasha County 

  • Art Education: 2 years at Moore College of Art & Design, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; BA in Painting and Minor in Computer Images from the University of North Florida
  • 1986 Portfolio Scholarship and Outstanding Freshman, Moore College of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 1993 President Beaches Fine Arts Guild, Jacksonville, Florida
  • 1993 Best in Show, Jacksonville Coalition for the Visual Arts, Florida
  • 1994 Arts Mania Juried Exhibition, Arts Assembly, Jacksonville, Florida
  • 1995 One man show at Jacksonville International Airport, Florida
  • 1995 Curator, Virtual Art Exhibit, FCCJ, Jacksonville, Florida
  • 1996–1998 Adjunct Professor at the University of North Florida
  • 2010 Boardmember River Junction Arts Council
I Became a Transparent Eyeball Allison Young, Olmsted County 

Aly Young will be a freshman at St. Olaf College in the fall of 2010, where she plans to follow her passions for environmental stewardship, anthropology, language, psychology, religious tolerance, music, and art. She is eager to learn more about the universal qualities that bind all people together, and hopes to travel abroad during college and after it, helping spread understanding and peace throughout the world. Most of her favorite activities involve creating something, whether it’s cooking, knitting, drawing, screen-printing shirts, sewing, recording music, or making videos. She’s tremendously honored to be a part of easel–thank you for coming!

Bleak Mid-Winter Jean Zamboni, Steele County 

Jean Zamboni, born in Owatonna, Minnesota in 1924, has had varied careers as teacher, artist, secretary, printer and rural mail carrier. With degrees from Winona State and University of Minnesota, she taught art at all levels in Minnesota public schools, Mankato State and Illinois State universities. Jean and Alice Ottinger shared art awards and community honors. OZ serigraphs are in many private and corporate collections. At Alice’s death in 1999, they gave a set of their prints to the Owatonna Arts Center’s permanent collection; the printing press equipment to the Steele County Historical Society. OZ Press was the studio where Ottinger and Zamboni collaborated in writing, printing, and silkscreening limited editions. Their production of cards and larger serigraphs spanned forty years.