An astute observer of nature, artist Katie Musolff paints plants and animals that she finds along the Mississippi River. Her new body of work, River Journal, consists of meticulous watercolor and gouache paintings that concentrate on the beauty and grace of her surroundings while embracing the remains of the organic world. Always working from direct observation, Musolff aims to capture the sense of wonder that drew her in to her subject in the first place.
Currently, the artist's watercolors are featured at the Museum of Wisconsin Art satellite gallery at St. John's on the Lake in Milwaukee. We hope that you will have an opportunity to visit this marvelous exhibition, which continues through January 11, 2017. Many of the paintings are available for purchase and can be viewed on our gallery page HERE.
Please contact the Gallery for additional information about the work.
Saint John's On The Lake | 1800 N. Prospect Avenue, Milwaukee | Open daily 10-5
To read more about the artist in her own words, please see below:
"As a kid, I was a natural collector. I had an immediate connection with nature and was easily captivated by a funnel spider going about its business along the fence in our backyard. My bedroom shelves were lined with treasures, consisting of pine cones, bones, rocks and insects under glass. So it wasn't such a stretch when, as an adult, my curiosity about the natural world bubbled up and surfaced in my artwork.
I used to paint people all the time, and now birds, plants, insects and such have taken their place as subject matter. The one constant is that I still paint directly from life, with intense direct observation. I strive to make a precise representation because, in my head and heart, it shows that I respected and honored my subject to the best of my ability. Working from life often, but not always, means that I have dead specimens on my desk alongside my paper and I stare at them for hours. Such an activity can strike people as sad or morbid, I know. The death aspect of my work is tricky for viewers. I know it makes some people uncomfortable, but to me, the stillness of a bird's body is a very precious thing. It's a slit in time in which I am allowed to be physically connected to something that is usually out of my grasp. It's my window in and I am thankful for the opportunity it grants me.
A Federal Nature Preserve abuts two borders of our property on the Mississippi River in and the lines determined by the township mean nothing to the flora and fauna residing on their assigned section. We have to beat the vining plants back from our house and deal with voles, spiders and snakes that creep into our residence. If I have learned anything from being here, it's that nature is messy. It is often presented as harmonious and bursting with unhindered beauty, but I have seen it at its most violent, greedy and unjustified behavior. When I paint it, I want to provide the full picture of what it's like to live amongst it. Things are not always peaceful and that is okay because it's real. I see myself as being on the frontline and reporting my findings back to my audience, saying, 'Here, look what I found' so that their curiosity can also be provoked."