SALUTE THE TROOPS
NAME: Melissa Sharp
HOMETOWN: Bathurst, NB
HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 173 cm / 62 kg
YRS OF SERVICE: 15
FAVOURITE NHL TEAM: Toronto Maple Leafs
FAVOURITE CFL TEAM: Riders!
FAVOURITE ATHLETE: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir
FAVOURITE TYPE OF MUSIC: Impossible to choose – love so many different types!
FAVOURITE ARTIST OR BAND: Same as above – too many favourites to choose only one!
LAST CONCERT ATTENDED: Bryan Adams at the new Mosaic Stadium!
LAST MOVIE ATTENDED: Wonder Woman, I believe
FAVOURITE ALL-TIME MOVIE: Too many favourites to pick only one!
FAVOURITE ACTOR/ACTRESS: Oh gosh, that’s tough
FAVOURITE TV SHOW: Suits
FAVOURITE RESTAURANT: That’s a tough one, but the BoatHouse Restaurant in Vancouver holds a special place in my heart!
FAVOURITE MEAL TO ORDER: Anything seafood, being an east coaster and all.
FAVOURITE MEAL TO MAKE: homemade pizza – the whole family helps prepare, which is special to me
FAVOURITE VACATION DESTINATION: The Caribbean!
HOBBIES OR PASTIMES: I love sports, going to the gym, or going to the pool for a swim with my family.
CELEBRITY CRUSH: Haha! Not telling..don’t want to get into trouble with the husband. 😉
(Canadian Armed Forces)
Folk art painting connects descendants to old Norway
Karen Osen never expected to take up a painting hobby, especially one that dates back to 18th century Norway. Even her direct connections to the country — her father was born there — didn’t inspire her eventual interest in rosemaling, a form of decorative folk painting, recognizable for its curlicued flowers and flowing branches, leaves and stems.
It was her marriage, or more specifically, her mother-in-law, that introduced her to the art form. When Osen first saw her “impressive” rosemaling, “I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be great to do this?'” she said.
Osen, now 60 and living in St. Paul, is part of small group of mostly women rosemalers who meet each week at Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis. The natural beauty of their surroundings inspires them as they paint swirling blossoms on wooden plates and decorative boards. It’s a pastime their ancestors embraced generations ago, to brighten the long, dark winters of Norway.
For Osen and her friends, it’s a chance to preserve a connection to their heritage. Shirley Evenstad (right), offers some suggestions to granddaughter, Savannah, 13, in the traditional art of rosemaling as the pair painted individual projects. Jim Gehrz for MPR News
Rosemaling first appeared in Norway in the 1700s. It was used primarily to decorate churches and homes, said folk arts educator Darlene Fossum-Martin. A century later Norwegian immigrants hauled their possessions across the Atlantic Ocean in intricately rosemaled trunks, and they decorated their new American homes with wooden bowls and trinket boxes depicting the highly stylized floral designs.
The art form faded for a time as settlers adopted the decorating trends of their new country. But rosemaling was never out of fashion for long among Minnesota’s Norwegian-American community.
Fossum-Martin, who works at the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa, says that by the early 1900s, a man name Per Lysne had brought the art of rosemaling back.
“He was a wagon painter and when the Depression hit then he started painting (rosemaling designs on) wagons in Stoughton, Wis.,” said Fossum-Martin. “That was the beginning of rosemaling in the U.S.”
The painting style has evolved over the past 100 years in the U.S. Many painters today don’t adhere to the traditional muted color schemes and strict rules about shading said Fossum-Martin. Highly personalized painting styles have developed, with some painters even adding in bright pops of pink and purple to their work. Kathy Wendland (foreground, left), of Chanhassen, and Karen VanLoan (foreground, right), of Apple Valley, were among a group of rosemaling artists who recently gathered at the Minnehaha Falls pavilion to work on art projects. Jim Gehrz for MPR News
Others blend different regional painting styles to create a piece. Rosemaling purists don’t necessarily endorse the trend. But many painters still teach the traditional methods and rosemaling classes have never been easier to find.
Shirley Evenstad of Richfield teaches a rosemaling group through a community education program in her community. Most of her students developed an interest in rosemaling later in life. But she also teaches her 13-year-old granddaughter Savannah.
“I just gave her something to paint one day and showed her what to do and she did it,” said Evenstad.
Savannah, whose parents asked that her last name not be used, has been rosemaling for several years now. She remembers tagging along to her grandmother’s classes and thinking “it was cool and something you don’t see every day,” she said.
Evenstad beams with pride as she shows off a small box that Savannah painted. Shirley Evenstad, of Richfield, (hand, left) and her granddaughter, Savannah, 13, Bloomington, display a round, covered box that Savannah decorated with rosemaling. Jim Gehrz for MPR News
“I just drew a little picture of the flower, said ‘let’s put some red on it,’ then ‘let’s put some white around the edge, maybe some white dots around the center,’ ” said Evenstad. “And look at this beauty.”
She doesn’t want to put any pressure on her granddaughter, but she has a feeling that Savannah might be the next rosemaling teacher in the family.
“Maybe she’ll keep the next generation going. That would be wonderful,” said Evenstad. Gallery Rosemaling is traditional folk art painting that originated in Norway. The decorative painting technique is also common in Sweden. Jim Gehrz for MPR News View full gallery Bonnie Runke, Elko, carefully applies paint to folk art on a decorative plate. Jim Gehrz for MPR News A group of rosemaling artists recently gathered at the Minnehaha Falls pavilion to work on art projects and enjoy each other’s company. Jim Gehrz for MPR News Bonnie Runke arrives at Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis with her paints, brushes and other materials to create traditional rosemaling and other folk art. Jim Gehrz for MPR News Shirley Evenstad (right), offers some rosemaling tips to her granddaughter, Savannah (left), 13. Jim Gehrz for MPR News
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