Art DeTour showcases Douglas County artists

The driving art tour runs Friday, June 17 through Sunday, June 19

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Ruth Hanson of Vining, Minnesota, gently irons a watercolor batik picture beneath newspaper. Hanson will be on this weekend's Art DeTour through Douglas and Otter Tail counties.
Karen Tolkkinen
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There wasn't much money for luxuries in Ruth Hanson's childhood home, but there was always paper to draw on. Her mother would get the ends of newsprint rolls, and her childhood free time was spent drawing murals.

"I wasn't interested in anything else," she said. "I was an average student, but I could draw."

Hanson, one of 19 artists on this year's Art DeTour through Douglas and Otter Tail counties, now captures cows and wild turkeys, landscapes and water scenes. Many scenes of silos, wetlands and wildflowers will be familiar to those who live in or visit west-central Minnesota, while others capture the flavor of places around the world where she and her husband, Nate, a Lutheran pastor, have lived and worked.

This year's tour includes a range of artists showing pottery, jewelry, felted sculptures and paintings, photography and wood-turned bowls. It's the third year for the Art DeTour. Art tours have proven popular in west-central Minnesota, as they give art lovers a chance to drive through the area's rolling hills and farmland, and communicate directly with the artist. A tour in mid-July, the Art of the Lakes Studio Tour, has taken place for many years in Otter Tail and Douglas counties. This month's tour, which runs Friday-Sunday, June 17-19, is organized by the Alexandria Art Guild, a coalition of Alexandria area artists.

Hanson said she takes part in both tours, as she is centrally located to both of them. She said she appreciates the chance for artists to showcase what they do.


She specializes in watercolor batik, a process involving wax and heat (she irons them on her dining room table), but also paints with oil pastel, acrylic and gouache.

The batik process lends an abstract element to her work, which she enjoys, saying that she tends to be a little more "tight" in other media. To explain what she means, she showed a watercolor of flowers that is much more precisely drawn than a large impressionistic batik of a path through the woods.

"Impressionism is what I like most," she said.

Hanson will show and sell her work at her shop in Vining in Otter Tail County, about 32 miles north of Alexandria. There are studio on this year's tour, most in Douglas County.

Locations of this year's tour

  1. Off the Wall Studio - 101 S. Oak St., Clitherall. Robyn Olson (large format figure and portrait art in paper and canvas mediums); Faythe Mills (watercolor, acrylic, pastel drawings); Mary Jo Wentz (3D felted sculptures, 2D felted paintings, and alcohol ink paintings) Artist demonstrations including painting, needle felting, alcohol inks, and fiber “painting.” Ongoing free kids’ art projects.
    Bouganvillea Acrylic.jpg
    By artist Faythe Mills
  2. Old Sweet Song - 5030 E. Front St., Vining. Ruth Hanson (watercolor batik, gouache, pastel, acrylic, and calligraphy) Demonstrations of watercolor batik process.
  3. Art by Melissa - 13694 E. Lake Miltona Dr. NE, Miltona. Melissa Werpy (pottery with colorful imagery; pastel, acrylic, and oil paintings)
    Mugs by Melissa Werpy
  4. The Pottersmiths’ - 2117 Ironwood Dr, Alexandria. Phil Smith (ceramics with atmospheric firing, flashing slips, underglazes and stains); Kate Smith (beautiful porcelain and stoneware for modern daily use); Barbara Johnson (wildlife, nature, and travel photography); Busy Squirrel Creations, Matt Bakke (woodwork lathe turnings, games, and functional pieces). The Pottersmiths will give tours of their wood-fired kiln and demonstrate wheel thrown pottery and experience by request.
  5. A Artscape Studio and B Three Havens Artworks - 101 Three Havens Drive NE, Alexandria. 5A Kathy Grundei (watercolor, collage, mixed media journals and cards); 5B Linda Gaugert (oil, watercolor, mixed media). Location 5B is not open Sunday.
  6. JT Maui Designs - 613 Quincy St., Alexandria. Jon Thompson (jewelry with mixed metals and semiprecious gemstones) Not open Sunday.
  7. Becky Albright-Gyotaku & Fiber Art - 2605 Aga Dr., Suite 9B, Alexandria. Becky
    becky albright.jpg
    Becky Albright captures fish images in a Japanese print-making process called gyotaku.
    Albright (gyotaku fish printing and fiber art). Demonstration of gyotaku technique and nature printing with found objects – weather permitting.
  8. Turning Lake Designs - 4365 County Road 82 NW, Alexandria. Merodie (Mimi) Seykora (Stoneware, Raku pottery, and jewelry); Bill Seykora (wood-turned bowls, lazy Susans, charcuterie boards, more), Katherine Bockelmann Fine Arts (drawings of figures and nature in graphite and charcoal). Turning Leaf Designs will demonstrate pottery wheel throwing by request.
  9. Handcrafted by Noni - 5601 County Road 21 SW, Alexandria. Naomi (Noni) Bjorklund (oil paintings, portraits, jewelry, and Ukrainian eggs); Wolf Run Pottery, Emily Wolf (functional pottery inspired by nature) Not open Sunday.
  10. Kron School Studio - 18541 County Road 1 NW, Evansville. Calvin deRuyter (watercolor and mixed watermedia paintings, life drawings)

If you go

What: Art DeTour organized by the Alexandria Art Guild
When: Friday, June 17-Sunday, June 19
Time: Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Sunday, Noon-5 p.m.
For more information:

Reporter Karen Tolkkinen grew up in Plymouth, Minnesota, graduated from the University of Minnesota with a journalism degree in 1994, and was driven by curiosity to work her way around the United States.
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