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Skip’s professional watercolor career began in 1986 when he was 47 years old, although his art interests followed him through college, graduate school (PhD) and Medical school, all at the University of Minnesota. His paintings are primarily commissioned or donated and are also sold at his watercolor shows, workshops, tutoring sessions or at his home studio gallery.

Skip’s “numenistic” (in-dwelling guiding spirit) approach to watercolor painting has been his unique style for over two decades.  It reflects a deep personal understanding and conviction of the interconnectedness of all things….especially through the “special ingredient at the center of all things”….WATER.  Although this is somewhat shamanistic, science has shown there are even water molecules in the core of hard rocks and minerals besides in all living things.  In this context, water takes on a very special significance in his watercolor paintings.  He collects water that is found associated with the subject or object of his painting and uses it in the color mixing and washes.  The effect may be invisible to the casual observer, but has an emotional and/or spiritual connection to the informed purchaser or viewer of the painting. 

Sometimes water is made special by soaking an associated object(s) of the subject of the painting in distilled water thereby extracting “Essence” of the subject from the object.  ex: a commission for a beloved and deceased pet might use the dog’s collar soaked in distilled water for several days to bring the “Spirit” of the pet eventually into the picture of the pet.  If Skip knows the commissioner’s “totem” he may also disguise this entity somewhere into the design, adding another special feature. Soaking the dog's chew toy in distilled water for several day will release any cells from the saliva and these cells and their DNA will be suspended in the painting washes. If the animal is not deceased, cotton swabs can collect saliva samples and the same extraction process used. In addition, a fluorescent ink, unseen in normal light, will embed a hidden written message in the painting from the owner of the pet. The words in the special message can only be seen with a black light. This entire, customized endeavor with pets is called Pet Essence Portraits. Email interest or any questions to hofstrandgallery@gmail.com

Skip and Will Steger

Skip’s most recent series on Global Warming, uses water collected from the unseasonal melt from the Greenland ice cap. This water was collected by Will Steger,(1) a close personal friend, on a recent Polar Expedition. Skip has been the Medical Director of each Steger Polar Expedition (North or South Pole) since the early 1980’s. This special water from the warming of the ice cap is used in all the Global Warming pictures whether Arctic or Antarctic subjects.

His Lake Superior Watercolor Series is painted with water from Lake Superior and reflects a variety of subjects associated with our incredible lake.

Regarding Skip’s art philosophy, he believes his paintings have several dimensions. Some are classic and obvious, such as design and composition. Some are more subtle, such as; “meaning” and “intent”. However, as discussed, he believes his most important dimension is “numenistic integration”. For Skip this makes the painting complete. His artistic goal is the continual pursuit of the exquisite joy produced when all dimensions meld into the finished watercolor painting.

1. Will Steger is the 2006 Lindberg Award winner, John Oliver LaGorce Medal winner( National Geographic’s prestigious award for exploration, science and public service---previous winners include Amelia Earhart, Robert Peary, Roald Amundsen and Jacques-Yves-Cousteau), and National Geographic’s First Explorer in Residence Award.

© 2018 Skip Hofstrand   All rights reserved   hofstrandgallery@gmail.com