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Dan Wiemer paints the rugged north with an eye for shapes, patterns, and rhythm

Dan Wiemer paints the rugged north with an eye for shapes, patterns, and rhythm

“Dan has a solely unique vision. He’s not painting simply to reproduce the landscape in front of him. Rather, his paintings have a distinct movement and poetry to them.”

— Neil Sherman, Sivertson Frame Shop and fellow plein air painter
(Image shown above: Birch Grove, giclee print by Dan Wiemer)

Dan Wiemer is a landscape artist working in watermedia, capturing his love of the natural world. He paints both en plein air and in his Red Wing, Minnesota, studio. Dan trained as a graphic designer (with a BA from Iowa State University), and was past president of the Minnesota Watercolor Society. His background allows him to play with the shapes and textures of landscape, finding the rhythms in a scene. He doesn’t try to replicate nature and instead interpretively distills, stylizes, and translates when he paints: “I am obsessed with design, negative shape-making, and the ruggedness of the north.”

Finding rhythm in the landscape has become a hallmark of Dan’s work. “Rhythm to me is connecting highlight shapes with linked shadow shapes in an interesting way that creates movement and pathways for the eye,” notes Dan.

Dan’s technique uniquely combines opaque acrylic with transparent watercolor that stylizes the landscape, and is influenced by printmakers and batik artists—an approach to creating negative shapes that is similar to how he constructs and distills his scenes.

Q & A with painter Dan Wiemer

– How would you describe your style? And how is it unique to you?

DW: My style stems from my love of printmaking. I paint like a printmaker, continually finding negative shapes. I’ve developed a unique look and am intentional about looking different through my combination of watercolor and acrylic. I’m not afraid to be called an illustrator or for my art to be called stylized.

In Boreal Bandit, Dan’s appreciation of printmaking shines through.

– Do you have a favorite artist or movement that has inspired your work?

DW: Originally, the watercolors of Winslow Homer and John Singer Sargent. Then I discovered the Group of Seven artists, who were Canadian painters in the early 1900s. They, too, were graphic designers turned illustrators turned painters, and that’s been my journey as well. And they were inspired by the same northern landscape that inspires me. Tom Thomson’s “The Jack Pine” image was so inspirational, it led me to do many silhouetted images.

Welcome Campsite is a lovely example of Dan’s use of silhouetted images.

White Pines is another piece using a silhouetted image.

– What are you trying to do with your art?

DW: With each piece I try to deconstruct and reconstruct the landscape in a unique and compelling way that also creates interesting negative shapes. I think about how a viewer reads shapes along action lines, and I try to use this concept to create pathways for the eye.

Northern River uses interesting negative shapes and pathways to guide the eye.

– How do you start? Where does your process begin?

DW: I’m drawn to patterns and rhythms. I see them everywhere I look. For example, the fracture patterns in a rock could be the foundation of an entire piece. The rhythms of interconnecting branches could merge into the rhythms of the water. Where paddle meets water, where water meets rock, where rock meet trees; this “meeting” is exciting to me. You’ll see this theme throughout my work.

In Early Light Ancient Shore, the rock’s fractures create pattern.

In Crown Jewels, the birch branches create rhythm.

– Where do you like to work? Tell us about your studio space.

DW: The bulk of my work is created in my studio, but it starts with studies on location and with observation. My camera and my sketches are filled with ideas and which will eventually make their way into my art.

My studio is on the lower level of my home and has beautiful north light. I’m surrounded by hundreds of art books, interesting doodads, many plants, unique rocks, artwork from friends, and other fascinating shapes.

Sivertson Gallery is honored to showcase and sell Dan Wiemer’s work. You’ll find nearly a hundred of his prints in a variety of sizes on our website and in our gallery.

View all work by Dan Wiemer

Posted in: Introducing