2006 Artist-in-Residence Kirsten Brat
Kirsten Brat, Artist-in-Residence, August 2006
Painter Kirsten Brat originally painted a watercolor painting on site in Howes Prairie. She later painted the encaustic in the studio. Below she explains her painting experience at the national lakeshore.
But the emersion into nature is an important component in the process. After a short hike on an unmarked trail, I sat down in the company of the birds and insects, with no reminders of the civilized world in sight. The view chosen is from the basin looking up a hillside covered in grasses and wildflowers. The blazing stars were in full bloom mid-August when this piece was created. The watercolor took three hours to complete. During that time, not a single person crossed my path. Time lapsed without worries, without the pressure of schedules and deadlines. Having a three-week residency to do nothing but focus on creating art was a marvelous escape.
The prairies and woodlands are not landscapes immediately associated with the Indiana Dunes, though they constitute a large portion of parkland. For that reason, I find it important to represent them through my painting. It is my hope, that this will prompt the painting’s audience to explore the park’s interior, and gain an affection for its diversity.
The Howes Prairie encaustic is now part of the national lakeshore's artist-in-residence collection.
Kirsten Brat was in residence during August 2006. She made watercolors, sketches, and charcoals while visiting different areas of the national lakeshore. Later, she converted some of those works into encaustic paintings. The encaustic process involves using pigment suspended in hot wax that is then laid onto canvas. This process typically takes 15 - 20 hours per piece of work.
Did You Know?
Without fire, there could be no prairie at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Non-prairie plant species would crowd out native prairie grasses. These rare grasslands are maintained through periodic controlled burns.