I lead a decidedly normal life. My husband Joel and I raise three wonderful little boys and live in Edina, Minnesota, a first ring suburb near the vibrant art hub of Minneapolis. We’ve spent the last 10 years or so focusing on our family trying to give our boys the best start to their lives as possible.
As the boys age and enter school, I’ve been able to return to my first love and my life’s passion—creating art. I received a BFA in Studio Arts with a focus on ceramics and painting and a BA in English from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis campus. I also spent a year studying abroad in London, England. It was one of the best adventures I have ever had and allowed me to see first hand the artwork I had previously only seen in art books.
I had a rather unique upbringing and was fortunate to have two creative and industrious parents. My father, Stewart Turnquist, was the Minnesota Artist Exhibition Program (MAEP) Coordinator at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. His position allowed me access into the local community of artists at an early age and also exposed me to the artwork of the international community on display at the museum. Thanks to my parents, art has always been a second skin to me.
My work still rides on images and experiences I loved as a child exploring the rural landscapes along the Mississippi River where I grew up and called home. I still vividly remember being mesmerized by tide pools, layers of ice, snow, earth and many other beauties and hardships found in the wilderness. With a nod to nature as the greatest artist, my approach to art seems to follow how I feel nature materializes—beauty formed by extreme genius with a mix of order and chaos. I can only hope to capture a small sliver of what nature is able to display. I’m fortunate to have been raised in the upper Midwest where we get to experience firsthand a whole range of offerings that nature can produce.
I have always been intrigued by objects captured in layers of earth and water in all the different stages from free flowing to frozen. The elements caught and preserved in those layers are fascinating—a simple deteriorated leaf frozen in ice had many moments before this moment. By painting layer after layer in varying transparencies with varying finishes of gel mediums enhanced with powdered pigments and painting often over found objects, I try to see what sort of natural and contrived effect I can coax out of my materials.
My time spent living in London and San Antonio as well as my travels to Europe, Canada and Mexico have also been influential. I’ll be working on a piece and suddenly realize it’s forming into the cool mist rising from the sea as I stood on a cliff high above on the Aran Islands off the coast of Ireland twenty-five years ago. Or sometimes vestiges of Pompeii captured and sealed permanently by the falling ash of Vesuvius exploding back in 79 A.D. seem to rise from my canvas. Those images, textures and sounds come back to me and grow into or out of my paintings.
But often I don’t need to go that far. Simply walking out our door into our flower gardens can get inspiration flowing. Or it can rise from the steady stream of interesting people and events that I come into contact with through my daily life.
And actually, I don’t even need to leave the house for inspiration. The wonderful chaos created from raising three spirited boys and the cacophony of noise created by my musician husband’s music studio in the basement is usually enough to keep the creative spirits moving.
I hope you enjoy experiencing these paintings as much as I have enjoyed creating them. Thanks for reading and viewing.