Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

An eye on nature in paradise October 27, 2010



Windows on Paradise Art Gallery, 904 Division Street South, Northfield.


IF NOT FOR THE EXTERIOR sign attached to a front yard tree, the pale yellow house set back from the Division Street sidewalk could pass for just another residence.

Instead, this old house is home, studio and gallery to nationally-known Northfield artist Mark Daehlin, one of 29 artists featured on this past weekend’s South Central Minnesota October Studio ArTour and Sale.

I entered the Windows on Paradise Art Gallery via an inviting front porch where some of Daehlin’s work was displayed. The artist, who does primarily oils, asked that I not single out pieces to photograph, so I’ll simply tell you that my husband and I lingered by Daehlin’s realistic depiction of an old John Deere tractor in a rural scene. It was a bit of a game for us to find the pheasant roosters incorporated into the work.

Even more interesting, I learned that Daehlin’s paintings have been made into puzzles. Now I am not a puzzle person—I actually get quite frustrated with puzzles—but even I can appreciate the beauty of a fine art puzzle. With outdoor scenes like “Majestic Moose” and “Opening Day” offered by White Mountain Puzzles and “Lakeside Cabin” and “Indian Summer” (among others) from Bits And Pieces Puzzles, these puzzles should hold a special appeal for outdoors-loving Minnesotans.



Puzzles featuring Mark Daehlin's art were propped on the floor in his gallery during the studio tour.


All of Daehlin’s art, really, showcases nature. From waterfalls to fall scenes, sunflowers, peonies, winterscapes and lots more, these paintings reflect the artist’s ability to truly see, in detail, the world around him.



Northfield artist Mark Daehlin and some of his art, in his gallery.


I was particularly impressed with his 12 x 48-inch “Stillwater Nights” painting that features a riverside view of Stillwater. Here’s Daehlin’s description from his Web site: “After the sun sets over Stillwater, streetlights come on, bathing the town in a romantic glow. A cruising riverboat is reflected in flowing waters. It’s the height of autumn and trees are ablaze in all their finery.” It’s a splendid piece of art that makes you want to hop in the car and cross the Stillwater lift bridge to view the city as Daehlin has through his artist’s eyes.



Daehlin's art is displayed in his house, in a room-turned-gallery. At the top of this photo, you'll see a portion of his "Stillwater Nights" painting.



Warm wood floors, a strategically-placed area rug and a plump chair create an inviting gallery space.


© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling