Saturday, May 25, 2013

Ena Cisewski - Photography

Ena Cisewski

City/State: Rochester, Minnesota

I developed an interest in photography in 2004 and began attending the Dakota County Technical College Photo Finishing Program that fall.  I had no previous training and that is where I learned the technical basics of exposure, composition, and design.  In 2006 I stepped up my learning process by attending the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Missoula, Montana.  For 14 weeks I was a student in the Summer Intensive Program.  I also attended the 6 week Digital Intensive Program that fall.  For 5 months that year I was surrounded by 110 fellow students and multiple instructors who “lived” photography 10 hours a day, 7 days a week.  It was during that time that I refined my skills and began the development of my personal style of photography.

Since that time I have continued my education by attending many photographic workshops including a one week, on location workshop titled “Zen and the Art of Photography.  This workshop was through the Split Rock Arts Program of the U of M and taught by world renowned photographer Doug Beasley.

I moved to the West Coast in 2007 to pursue a photographic venture and spent 14 months traveling up and down the Pacific Coast.  6 of those months were spent living and working in Sequoia National Park in California.  I returned to Minnesota in 2008 and settled in Rochester.  I have since spent many happy hours traveling the southeastern portion of our state with my camera.  I often find myself noticing how closely this portion of Minnesota resembles the foothills of the western mountains.  How lucky we are!

I have been involved with several galleries, have won artistic recognition, and am a member of 4 artistic organizations:  Association of Photographic Arts, Red Wing Photo Club, Red Wing Arts Association, and South Eastern Minnesota Visual Artists (SEMVA).

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?

In the past I have primarily been a landscape photographer.  My focus has been on the natural world around us, and the beauty and magic it is often easy to overlook.  However, I have always also been fascinated and intrigued with the beauty to be found in signs of age---rust, decay, corrosion, distortions, etc.  In my most recently completed project I worked entirely with images that are beautiful examples of aging.  Within the past year I have also become very intrigued with the artistic combinations of my images and the frames used for them so for this just completed project I worked carefully to provide those perfect combinations.  To add even more interest, many of my completed works include smaller framed images layered upon other images.  I’m very excited about the 3 dimensional pieces completed for this body of work.

How did you decide to become an artist?

During the summer of 2004 I was on an occupational hiatus.  We had closed a furniture restoration business of 13 years the autumn before and I couldn’t decide what direction I wanted to take in my life.  During those summer months I worked with the book  “The Artists Way” by Julia Cameron  Ms. Camerons work focuses on promoting “creativity as a spiritual practice” by encouraging the reader to complete tasks, activities, and personal introspection.  I feel that working with her book I put strong focus on my artistic self. One of the suggested tasks was to compile a list of 100 possible careers that would intrigue me.  Within the top third of that list I had placed “photographer”.  After thinking more about what those items on my list said about me I realized that I had desired to learn photography for a while.  I wished to find a way to capture the images of our magical world seen during my travels.  With just a little research I discovered that Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount (only 4 miles from my home at the time) offered a degree in photographic imaging.  I was enrolled as a full time student by September of that year.  That was my introduction to the basics of photography.

Have you participated in any educational opportunities that you feel were instrumental to your growth as an artist?

In addition to my basic photographic education that I received at DCTC I have participated in two outstanding programs.

For 5 months beginning in June of 2006 I attended the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Missoula, Montana.  It was an opportunity of a lifetime.  During that time I was surrounded by 110 fellow students and 25 outstanding instructors all of whom were as fascinated with photography as I.  We lived photography 10 hours a day, 7 days a week through an intensive program of photographic instruction.  I returned to Minnesota believing myself to have become an artist.

During the summer of 2010 I attended a one week, on location in Cloquet Minnesota, workshop titled “Zen and the Art of Photography”.  Taught by world renowned Minnesota photographer, Doug Beasley it was a workshop offered through the University of Minnesota’s Split Rock Arts Program (unfortunately the Split Rock Arts Program has since been cancelled).  A beautiful location and and amazing instructor.  Doug’s spiritual connection to the world and caring of his students was inspiring and once again I returned home a changed and improved artist.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist? 

While all of my instruction has been very helpful it was the words of Doug Beasley that has had the biggest impact on me.  His advice was to take the time when out “making” photographs to make a spiritual connection with your surroundings.  “Slow down, breathe in your surroundings, feel the essence of the scene”. 

I found it very interesting that I had noticed previously that all of my best images were the result of my “listening” to my surroundings.  I have often felt that the subjects themselves had called out to me to grab my attention and when I take the time to listen I see differently and capture a more captivating image.  Doug’s words of advice reinforces that belief and takes it one step further.  Now I more consciously connect with the world around me.  I don’t always get more interesting images but my sense of connection with the earth has grown immensely.

Many artists struggle to find ways to sell their art.  How do you sell your work?  How do you market yourself?

I’ve tried a few different ways to sell my work.  Unfortunately with the popularity of digital cameras it has become much more difficult.  Many, many people think that they are artists.  Many talented hobbists don’t realize that they are.

Currently I am a member of both the Red Wing Arts Association and Semva (South Eastern Mn Visual Artists) in Rochester and display and offer my work for sale through both organizations and occasional group shows.  I also have a website   I have actively participated in Capture Minnesota which is a perfect venue for getting images noticed.  My next big push is a featured artist show at the Northfield Arts Guild starting June 12, 2013.

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?

Of course Doug Beasley is included in this list.  I’ve enjoyed the clean and beautiful images of Craig Blacklock.  Jim Brandenburg is a huge inspiration.  In fact during my second fall semester at DCTC I did a variation of his image a day project  (they can be found in his books “Chased by the Light” and “Looking for the Summer”)  Not being nearly the talented photographer that he is I didn’t take only one image a day, but the process of forcing myself to find an acceptable subject each day was a  wonderful learning tool.  Bernie Saunders provided the photographs for a lovely collaborative book with his mother “The Grace of Ordinary Days”.   I absolutely love the study of the ages of the flowers shown in his macro photographs.  There are also dozens of photographers that have done beautiful work and share them through the Capture Minnesota website.

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?

Wow- this is a difficult question.  I don’t often make a conscious effort to go to any given spot to see art.  One of my good photography friends often invites me to go to the Minneapolis Photo Center for photography exhibits.,   

I visit galleries and boutique shops as they cross the path I’ve chosen that day.  Occasionally I will participate in an art crawl such as those at the Northrup King Building in Minneapolis , the southeast MN Art Crawl, or the north shore art crawl  

Also check out  I love art fairs held in conjunction with city summer celebrations.  Oh-and the Dakota County Fair .  The art entries there are wonderful. I love to see art this was because it leaves me with no expectations of what I will see.  Therefore I am free to enjoy every form of art I see from jewelry to fiber art to sculpture and everything in between. 

In addition to, where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise? 

I have to confess here that I don’t spend a lot of time doing online searches.  If I’ve heard of something through another source I will go seek out the details online but otherwise I don’t go online much.  I usually depend on word from others or more often flyers, the Minnesota Explorer ,travel guides, and local visitor guides to give me ideas of where to go.  The one website that I’ve checked out often is Capture Minnesota   Not only do I see the photos but it gives me great ideas of where to go to take photos myself.
Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?
I am one of two artists featured in an upcoming show at the Northfield Arts Guild titled “A Voyage of Discovery and Reflection”.  It is being featured June 12th through July 21st, 2013.  An artist reception will be held June 14th from 7-9pm.  
My portion of the show will feature images all taken at a ghost town in southeastern Montana.  Bannack State Park is a well preserved ghost town and I spent 2 delightful days capturing images of the surfaces in the buildings as well as the distortions seen in and through the aged glass windows.  In addition I carefully combined one-of-a-kind frames with each image.  I also combined artistic pieces by layering framed images upon larger images creating unique studies of the town and it’s individual layers of age.

Image List:
1. “Peeling Away the Memories”         
2. “Once Upon A Time”
3. “Bathed In Sunlight”
4. “Tracks of My Tears”
5. “Dancing Light”
6. “Sweltering”
7. Image of artist

Kathy Miller - Watercolor

Kathy Miller

Name:  Kathy Miller
City/State: Northfield, MN
Website: profile: Kathy Miller
Facebook page: Kathy Miller

Kathy Miller is a watercolor artist living in Northfield, Minnesota, who devotes a great deal of time to painting and teaching watercolor classes.  She is passionate about painting nature, capturing moments in time when the magic of light changes the ordinary into the extraordinary.  When choosing something to paint, Kathy always looks to the beauty of the world around her and is especially attracted to subject matter that portrays a dramatic sense of lighting, as evidenced in her numerous floral, landscape, and still life paintings that glow with a warm radiance.

Kathy earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education, and spent 20 years as an elementary classroom teacher.  Shortly before retiring in 2007, she took her first painting class and since then has taken numerous watercolor workshops throughout Minnesota, as well as Wisconsin, New Mexico, and Giverny, France.

Kathy is a Signature Member of the Minnesota Watercolor Society (MWS), and her paintings have earned numerous awards, including Best of Show at the MWS Spring Juried Exhibition in 2013.   Also in 2013, Kathy received a McKnight Individual Artist Grant awarded by the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC) for an 18-month watercolor endeavor.

Kathy’s paintings are currently shown in various galleries in Northfield, Zumbrota, and Red Wing.   All of her artwork can been seen on her website at

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects? 

For over a year, I have been working on an extensive body of work for a project entitled "Visual Explorations: A Voyage of Discovery", made possible by the SEMAC grant awarded in March as previously stated. The impetus behind the project is a quote by Marcel Proust, "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but rather in seeing with new eyes."  It has caused a major shift in how I see my subject matter and how I portray it in my artwork.  In this new body of work, I have explored four nature themes - Peonies, Water Lilies, Reflections, and Aspen Trees - and created a series of watercolors on each from varying viewpoints that range in scope from intimate close-ups to broad panoramas.  In addition, I have experimented with alternative formats, including squares and elongated horizontal and vertical rectangles.  I have painted in sizes that are atypical for me as well, some as large as 30" x 66".  

The Capstone Event for my grant project is the exhibition "Voyage of Discovery and Reflections" at the Northfield Arts Guild, running from June 12th to July 22nd.  The Opening Reception is Friday, June 14th from 7 - 9 p.m.

How did you decide to become an artist?

In 2007 I retired from a career as an elementary classroom teacher.  One year prior to that I had a strong urge to take a watercolor class; as I told my fourth grade students, "I feel that there is a painting in me somewhere."  Upon taking the class, I instantly fell in love with the medium.  This has evolved into a new career that involves painting daily and teaching watercolor classes in communities in and around Northfield

What was the best advice given to you as an artist? 

Keep painting!!!!!  Don't give up!

Many artists struggle to find ways to sell their art.  How do you sell your work?  How do you market yourself?
I began by doing local art fairs in Northfield and surrounding communities.  I continue to do those, including the Riverwalk Market Fair that is held in downtown Northfield every Saturday from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.  This is a wonderful opportunity to make connections with the public and to develop my presence as an artist.  Besides original watercolors, I sell cards and prints of various sizes, thus offering a wide range of price points to the public.

I also have a website ( and send out a bimonthly email newsletter to nearly 300 email addresses that I have gotten from those who have signed my guest book at art fairs.

My work can also be see on Northfield's local art website, Arts Town ( and Mn Artists (

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?

Charlotte Laxen (
Dan Weimer (
Karen Knutson (
Fred Sommers (

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?

Of course, at the top on the list has to be the Minneapolis Institute of Art; it's been a favorite place of mine since high school and college.  I never tire of revisiting the artwork of the classics from all time periods.  And for contemporary art it would be the Walker Art Center and the University of Minnesota's Weisman Art Museum.

And then, I also love going to the local exhibits at the Northfield Arts Guild.  The shows   feature the works from local and metro artists, as well as our local high school and colleges (Carleton and St. Olaf), including potters, fiber artist, jewelers, sculptors, and a broad range of 2-D artists.  (

Another gallery that I enjoy is Groveland Gallery, located in a beautifully restored 1890's mansion on the edge of downtown Minneapolis.  The gallery features the work of contemporary Midwest artists and specializes in representational 2-D artwork.  A number of local artists from the Northfield / Dundas area hang their pieces in this gallery. (

In addition to, where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise? 

- The new Northfield Arts Town website (
- Fine Art Views Newsletter - (
- MNArtists - (
-  Minnesota Watercolor Society (

Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?
Fast approaching is the Northfield Arts Guild exhibit "Voyage of Discovery and Reflections" that I mentioned earlier (June 12 - July 22); this will consist of about 27 new pieces of work, as well as the photography of Rochester photographer Ena Cisewski.
After that I will be showing about 40 paintings in Aberdeen, South Dakota, at the Dacotah Prairie Museum.  The show will run from August 24 to October 4 in the Lamont Gallery.

Kathy Miller

Northfield Art Guild

Image List:
1.  "Serenity, in Monet's Garden"
2.  "White Peonies"
3.  "Pink Peony"
4.  "Final Days"
5.  "Leafscape"
6.  "Looking In"
7.  Image of artist

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ellie Kingsbury - Photographer

Ellie Kingsbury 

Name:                       Ellie Kingsbury
City/State:                 Minneapolis, MN
Facebook page:       KingsburyPictures
Twitter: @                  lelebobellie

Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?

I have a few projects going right now.  For a few years I’ve been photographing winter bikers - sometimes a running shot, but usually more portrait style.  I’m a winter biker myself, and though I knew there’s no one type that continues their riding throughout the bad months, I never saw any documentation of it.  I thought it was important for people to see the faces of the winter biking population. Aside from that, I’m working on a project where I’m studying a shared experience between ordinary garden produce that’s irregularly formed or blemished or past its peak freshness, and middle-aged people.  The hope is that in our media-driven culture that idolizes a blemish-free youth, we find beauty and a strong life force in things that don’t fit within that predescribed archetype.  Lastly, I’m working on a series of photos of nature-made mandalas.

How did you decide to become an artist?

I got to take a photo class in 8th grade, and in it we shadowed a fine art photographer.  It became the spark for a life-long desire to question and create .  Working with my hands and being a free thinker doesn’t bode well for your average desk job, so here I am.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist? 

I used to feel bad if I set about making images without a clear idea of why I was doing it or where it was going.  Then someone gave me the quote “I work-but after the work, I discover the language“ (Kinji Akagawa).  This speaks to the intuitive process that artists need to honor.  Why you’re working on something is inside you, and after the images have spawned a bit you’ll find the language.  I’ve also found that writing your artist statement really helps you gain a deeper understanding of your work.  Sucks having to do it, but it’s worth it in the end.

Many artists struggle to find ways to sell their art.  How do you sell your work?  How do you market yourself? 

Somewhere I heard you should spend 25% of your time marketing.  Not fun, but you can’t expect people to come find you.  Spend 30 minutes a day researching calls for art, contact information for galleries, putting together your next email newsletter, etc.  Also, keep a list of people who have expressed an interest in your work, and keep them up to date with current events.   

Who are some of the Minnesota artists you enjoy?

Rebecca Pavlenko
Laura Hallen    
Beth Andrews 
Allen Brewer  
Scott Stulen    
Jim Dryden     
Caitlin Karolczak
Keith Taylor     

If I were to follow you around to see art in Minnesota, which places would we go? What would we see?

Anywhere people have access to an amount of raw material and can put away self-criticism.  Watch what the Black Label folks do to make their tall bikes (or other huge units on wheels).  Today I saw a guy with a handmade front rack on his bike that held about 8 pizza boxes.  I didn’t know Pizza Luce delivered.....but he lifted the top flap and pulled out a beer.  Homemade beer cooler disguised as pizza boxes!  I also love what the May Day Parade or the Art Sled Rally participants think up.  Give a person a little fabric, cardboard, and paint and they just magically come up with something great.

In addition to, where do you go online for good art resources, whether to find a new artist, or to see what is going on in the art world locally and otherwise? is the unbeatable, and I also love Springboard for the Arts.

Do you have any exhibits to promote in the near future?

I’m part of a duo show opening on May 10th at Gallery 122.  I have some of my mandalas hanging at the Owatonna Hospital right now, and was asked if I could come back in January for a show of my garden produce still lifes.  And some of my winter biker photos will be at Altered Esthetics in June (June 6th - June 27th) The opening reception is Friday 6/7/13 7-10pm).  I’m also going to be a part of the Midtown Greenway’s art/fundraiser event “Greenway Glow”, still in concept stage. 

Altered Esthetics LAI Profile