In honor of the upcoming 21st Annual Northeast Artists' Studio Tour, we've interviewed our super talented artists to share how they got where they are and why they make the work that they do.
Next up is artist Lindsay Lee. Lindsay's studio, which he shares with his wife and fellow artist Lee Zieke, is at 3512 Lost Mile Road north of Decorah, IA near Burr Oak. This year's tour is Friday through Sunday, October 12th to the 14th, with all locations on the tour open from 10 am to 5 pm each day.
Who are you and what kind of art do you make?
I am Lindsay Lee, and I consider myself an impressionist painter working in pastels painting landscapes and some still life.
What’s your background? Briefly describe your path of becoming an artist.
Always a bit creative, I did study Fine Arts at the U of I back in the 70's then took a carrier path into ornamental horticulture which quite successfully devoured any spare time I may have had for painting. I am not complaining and I realize that designing and making gardens is very much a creative endeavor. Still, when Lee and I closed our retail nursery in 2010, one promise I made myself was to start painting again.
What do you enjoy most about being an artist? What part of your process do you most enjoying doing?
The best part has to be painting. Standing at my easel making marks that end up making a beautiful image is pure magic.
What inspires you?
I am inspired to paint pretty much every morning when the sun peeks over the hill on our farm. The first rays touch the west ridge and light it up! As sunrise progresses through the valley, some things get lit up while others remain in the shadows. There is subject matter everywhere!
Who is your favorite artist or what is your favorite piece of art?
When I was in the 9th grade our art teacher took the class to the Chicago Art Institute. There was a Monet show on and I was swept away by its moodiness, and scale too, I suppose. What memorable responses have you had to your work?
I recently had a large painting in a show in St Paul that was sold. That is an incredible affirmation of your work. It is hard to see them go, but at the same time, the pat on the back feels pretty good.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
The best piece of advice I have ever gotten is to "start a lot of paintings". Once you get past the idea that everything you start has to be worked until it is finished, Well, you may never start another painting. It just takes a lot of pressure off the whole process.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
I would simply like to be known as a creative person. I paint for the joy of painting, so having what I do recognized is enough.
Describe what we’ll see when we come to your studio. How do we get to your studio/Tour location?
Our studio is a shared space with my wife Lee Zieke, tucked away on our rural hill country farm about 15 miles north of Decorah. The building itself is a small timber-framed barn that houses Lee's basketry space as well as a wood shop, my Landscape design station and, in one corner stands a studio easel along with multiple boxes of pastels and totes full of panels ready for painting.
More about the Northeast Iowa Artists' Studio Tour:
The Northeast Iowa Artists' Studio Tour is a unique opportunity to explore artists studios for an intimate look into their creative process and a chance to purchase their newest works right out of the kiln, hot off the presses, paint freshly cured...you get the point! This year, you can experience 51 artists at 37 locations while also taking in the charm of Northeast Iowa's small communities, local fare, and the breathtaking scenery of the Driftless. Each artist is different, but they all share a passion for imagination and each one welcomes their guests with gusto. Visit the Tour's website to download a brochure, map, or GPS coordinates for each location.
Image credit: Lindsay Lee