For me, the process is the product. My work is a reflection and response of my love of the natural world.
I want my work to reflect an energy and directness.
First and foremost I consider myself a landscape artist. The majority of my work is created in watermedia. I paint both on location (plein air) and in the studio. I utilize the opaque nature of acrylic and the transparent qualities of watercolor to create contrasts. As a past president of the MN Watercolor Society, I see firsthand the endless variety of ways to handle watermedia, and this excites me.
Trained as a Graphic Designer, (B.A. Iowa State University) I play with the shapes and textures of the landscape. I try to find rhythms in the scene that translate into exciting motifs. I don’t try to replicate nature, I try to distill, stylize and give the viewer my interpretation, something they can be a part of. Currently I am a fine artist, illustrator and workshop instructor. Through an artist exchange program, I was fortunate enough to have spent three weeks in China painting and teaching. I feel I am only beginning to explore.
Thank you for taking time to share in my work.
Michael Tonder Two Harbors, MN Artist Statement: In the early eighties I began exploring kiln formed glass. By 1987 glass had become my full-time work. Several years were devoted to refining my skills and developing an aesthetic that aligned with my view of the world. I settled on plate glass as my raw material and icy images as my focus. Balancing the rugged beauty of ice ridges on Lake Superior and waterfalls in rivers of the North Shore, with a quiet, contemplative design has been my ongoing challenge. Background: 1975 through 1987 I worked as a firefighter, park manager and forester for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. In 1987 I moved to Red Wing and set up a glass studio in our rural home. I served on the board of the Red Wing Arts Association and was president of the board for 2 years. In 1996 I moved to Thomas Lake, near Two Harbors, established my studio and continue to design, produce and sell my kiln formed glass work. Current Work: I have presented my glass work at arts festivals throughout the United States and developed a broad customer base. Several galleries carry my work and I have done commissioned installations in both public facilities and private homes. Galleries include RWAA, Sivertson Galleries in Grand Marais and Duluth, Bell Street Gallery on Madeline Island, WI and the Grand Hand in St Paul.