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The Winding River



Winding River


Tom Maakestad’s landscape paintings capture the beauty of the St. Croix Valley

Convergence—an oil painting on canvas. PHOTO BY: ARTWORK COURTESY OF TOM MAAKESTAD

Fresh off a month-long artist residency in Salzburg, Austria, Marine on St. Croix painter Tom Maakestad returns just in time for the opening of River Perspectives, the third exhibition in the Minnesota Marine Art Museum’s Mississippi River Series, which features paintings by Maakestad and Winona State University professor Don Schmidlapp.

Maakestad’s aerial views of familiar waterways, which include the Mississippi and Cannon rivers, highlight a “different type of realism than we’re used to down on the ground,” he says. “It’s fun to play with that distinction between our conceptions of realism and abstraction.”

The artist is currently at work on a fall 2017 show for Groveland Gallery in Minneapolis, which will include landscapes of southwest-central Minnesota that will have Maakestad “back on the ground.”

River Perspectives will be on view August 26–December 23 at Minnesota Marine Art Museum, 800 Riverview Drive, Winona. To see more of Tom Maakestad’s work, visit his website here.

Marine on St. Croix Artist paints local landscapes

Marine on St. Croix Artist Tom Maakestad Paints Local Landscapes

Tom Maakestad’s paintings capture the beauty of natural landscapes.
Winter Contours by Marine on St. Croix artist Tom Maakestad is a 20” x 16” oil painting on linen that beautifully depicts a local farm landscape covered in snow.

Tom Maakestad seemed destined to become an artist. He grew up on a farm in Northfield as the son of Barbara and the late John Maakestad, who had been an art professor at St. Olaf College. Tom had always noticed the scenery around him, even during bus rides to and from school. “I couldn’t help it,” he says of his interest in landscape painting.

After studying art at Luther College, Maakestad began a dual career as a painter and a businessman. “It’s always been a balance,” he says. Early on in business, he moved to Hong Kong, where he worked in graphic design and communications for a trade show and publishing firm for seven years. When Maakestad and his wife returned to Minnesota 20 years ago, he continued working for a Hong Kong-based printing company.

Today, he enjoys living in Marine on St. Croix, where he has a downtown studio and finds endless inspiration for his oil and dry pastel painting. “You couldn’t find a more beautiful place to work. It’s really easy to get out on the river in a minute and be in a place that you feel could be a wilderness area miles away from anybody,” he says.

Whether he’s flying over the St. Croix Valley in a small airplane or floating down the river in his pontoon boat, Maakstad continues to be inspired by his surroundings. “It’s hard to call it a job,” he says.

Find more information on Maakestad’s work at his website here. His art can also be viewed at the Groveland Gallery in Minneapolis.

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