(above left) Winter Bluff Line in Morning Light, Door County Peninsula, oil on canvas, 2023
I am now enjoying my retirement after 45 years as a professional architect. I kept my palette fresh, but as an aside to the rigors of architectural practice. I would do little postcard sketches of these scenes in the field and defer the larger studio pieces for a time when I had more opportunity to focus on my artwork.
I spend a lot of time up in my Door County studio and cottage and take long walks in the woods and look for plein air settings that capture the beauty of nature, the effect of light and seasonal colors. This piece during the winter season depicts a series of rock ledges and the stark contrast between frozen and living as well as the soft, laden snow draped over velvety, green moss and the raw Dolemite edge. It is the emerald jewel that I see and celebrate in this painting!
(above right) Pine Tree in Meadow, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, oil on canvas, 1969
This oil painting was done as an exercise at Campus School in my 9th grade art class with David Hodge as teacher. When I was 14 years old, my mom bought me my first set of oil pigments, because she believed this was one of my callings in life. I painted plein air settings in nature and have always been attracted to the special qualities of light, form, and to the atmosphere of natural places. I have found over the years that trees, such as the one featured in this painting, are often a feature of these compositions. Throughout my painting career, I spent hours observing and studying each tree species, their branch structure, color, and trunk proportions. I truly love trees and it gives me joy to paint them and come to know them better through this impressionistic transmutation which happens through the eyes to the mind and out to the hands and brush.
(above) Orchard in Late Summer, Door County Peninsula, oil on canvas, 1977
  I did this painting in memory of my mother ,Sarah Reynolds Widder, who died tragically in a fire while I was a junior in architecture at the University of Minnesota. I set out to capture where she was in her life; late summer, after the bloom and the fruit: a memorial painting. One of many orchard settings I have done, this one represents another milepost in my development as a plein air landscape artist. I began another tradition for lost family members, creating a color tile mosaic of this memorial painting and laying it as an inset in a granite stone marker. This mosaic is located in Sturgeon Bay, Bayside Cemetary. I remember the warm, sunny day every time I stop to place flowers and tend her grave. Art is a gift from the soul and there is no better way, I believe, than to commemorate a painting in their name.

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