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Up close and personal - local artist doing residency, conducting workshop

Artist Janelle Sundberg of Alexandria has her works on display at the Historic Landmark Center in Henning through March. She also served a guest artist residency for the Henning School District and taught adult classes. March 20-22 she will conduct a watercolor workshop in Carlos. (Contributed photo)1 / 2
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Alexandria artist Janelle Sundberg currently has more than 20 of her original watercolor paintings on exhibit at the Historic Landmark Center in Henning through March. The exhibit is called Up Close and Personal: Faces and Flowers.

The artist received a McKnight Career Development Grant last year to help fund a series of watercolors and to develop a framing method for watercolors without glass.

"I experimented quite a bit to develop a framing method that involves deckling the edges of my painting, mounting them onto a second sheet of watercolor paper, waxing to seal them and then framing without glass," Sundberg explained.

Once the watercolor is sealed, heavy breakable glass is no longer needed and the framed work is extremely light and easy to hang.

"The viewer doesn't have the glare of the glass to contend with," Sundberg added.

Some of the watercolor portraits were created using vintage photos for reference. Sundberg experimented with a variety of watercolor papers to find one that worked well with her style.

She said she found it interesting to see how different watercolor paper changed the look of her work.

Sundberg has also been the guest artist for the Henning school district for the past two weeks, teaching portrait painting and drawing to all grades kindergarten through 12. She is also teaching adult classes at night.

The residency was made possible through a Minnesota State Legislative appropriation made to the Lake Regions Art Council.

Sundberg spent the past year learning Internet marketing and video production.

By recording a one hour watercolor lesson and then editing and speeding up the videos, she was able to shorten teaching time and extend the time students could devote to watercolor painting. The lessons are shown on a Smartboard in the classroom

"My goal was to provide online watercolor lessons," she said. "Little did I know I would be using these skills to share watercolor with an entire school.

"In 5 minutes I teach my students what takes me over an hour to teach in live workshops. We then have 20 minutes to give it a go, brush to paper. It's amazing how technology can help our kids learn even art!"

Sundberg's artwork will be on display at the Historic Landmark Center, along with the works created by her more than 200 students from the school.

Exhibit hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1 to 4 p.m. through March.

For more information about Sunderg's painting stye, upcoming classes and online tutorials, visit her website

Her teaching watercolor video programs are scheduled to become available in April.


Janelle Sundberg will conduct a watercolor workshop at the Carlos Town Hall March 20-22. The workshop is presented by the Brush and Palette Club. The focus of this workshop will be watercolor portraits of people and animals.

In order to create the effect of flower and face painting, Sundberg eliminates background details, allowing her to "play with expression and composition in its simplest form."

"It is my intention to create a magical feeling for my viewers, keeping my paintings fresh and provide entertainment in the shapes I develop in the subject," she said.

Sundberg obtained a degree in fine arts with a focus on printmaking, but after a 10-year stint in corporate sales, she decided to move on to her first love: teaching. She has taught in both elementary and secondary schools. Now focusing on conducting workshops, she delights in "breaking the rules," which allows her to be unique.

To learn more about Sundberg or to see some of her paintings, visit

To register for the workshop, call (320) 762-2366.