Liz Sivertson captures the heart of Minnesota’s north woods in her spirited, richly colored acrylic paintings. From elusive moose and spunky bears to brilliantly dancing Northern Lights, her images invite you to take a whimsical look at life on Lake Superior’s North Shore.
Liz has lived near Lake Superior most of her life and currently resides just over the hill from Grand Marais. The great lake has been a constant element in the lives of the Sivertson family for generations. Beginning in the late 1800’s, Liz’s great grandparents and grandparents fished the waters of Isle Royale. Her father, artist and author Howard Sivertson, shared the island and the richness of Lake Superior with his children early in their lives.
Beaches, bonfires, picnics; moose, fox, fish and toads; riding big seas in little boats…these were all first experiences at Isle Royale. There is a family rumor of a fish box at the bow of the boat where my parents stowed at least one of us kids for the ride across the lake.
Set in a wooded lot overlooking the swampy headwaters of Rosebush Creek, Liz lives in a small house with a big view. With her easel standing near a north window, she paints looking out on a yard full of flowers and bears witness to the antics of her woodland neighbors.
I’ve seen moose, bears, herons, eagles, owls, mink, marten and hoards of chickadees, finches ravens and jays from this perch. I applaud the hearty characters inhabiting the tangle of twigs and trees just outside my door. I savor the brief moments when the veil is lifted and I can feast my eyes on their magnificent forms.
Liz finds success in working on several paintings at one time. After brushing in her first ‘gut instinct’ for a painting, she leaves the finish work for a later time when the time is just right for capturing the feeling and essence of the subject.
I paint things that strike me in everyday occurrences. The movement, character, and gestures of animals and people are solid food for my gluttonous eyes. I also see a sort of posturing in the trunks of the trees and in the lake, and even the rock cliffs. I stare a lot at these multifaceted moving and ever changing subjects, trying all the while to imagine how it feels to be them – to have their bodies. Then I paint them from this integrated memory of how they ‘felt.’ Trying to grasp the antics of the animal, the mood of the lively landscape, or the character of people is the catalyst for most of my paintings. These grand subjects are the jesters, the comic relief built into an otherwise sobering environment.
Liz Sivertson graduated from the University of Minnesota, Duluth with a bachelor of fine Arts degree in 1982. She began painting seriously in the late 1980’s. Her impressive body of work includes illustrations for North Country Spring, a popular children’s book written by Reeve Lindbergh. One of Liz’ current passions is ‘painting a warm culture from a Northern perspective’ during the two months she spends in Mexico each winter. Aside from painting, playing the saxophone is a favorite pastime for Liz!