This Renaissance Woman actively pursues her environmental ideals centered on water in all her activities! No wonder she finds watercraft entrancing in her art as well! Karlyn Eckman explains that the jaunty L.L. Smith Jr was a tug before it was turned into a research vessel.
No wonder she finds watercraft entrancing in her art! About “Rust Buckets'” image, she says, they were two of three decommissioned tugboats at the Fraser Shipyards in Superior, Wisconsin on Lake Superior: the Troy L. Johnson, the Phil Milroy, and the R. Murray. Later they were cut up for scrap, something painful to recall.
An intriguing family artistic legacy is her father’s profession as sign-painter, back when this was a demanding craft–essential to every store and office in town! She recalls the occasions of his activities around the Twin Cities area. Read online her own reminiscence about her parent’s occupation!
The story within each of these painting’s’ colors and shapes drew me to her work. And I found she has a tale about each one. For example “After the Storm” while imagined is based on a small wooden craft in dry dock that she found in Rice, Minnesota. Rice Boatworks produced several painting ideas for her.
“Casey’s Boat” shows a working tug Eckman found docked at Ashland, Wisconsin. I relate to her wandering the coasts in search of regional inspiration, much as I have done myself. (And would continue to do if I were not becoming too nervous to travel alone anymore and unable to find others willing to go with me.) Her moody northerly palette stands out as well as her studied ease in painting the boats themselves!
Even before kindergarten, Eckman learned how to handle a brush and do lettering from her father, the professional sign painter. No surprise then that she became an art major in college, but one with strong interests in natural resources as well. Environmental activist and professional, this woman has pursued her ideals actively in Somalia and headed up a project on women, irrigation, and nutrition for the UN in Asia and Africa.
Closer to home, she has worked on saving the Kasota Ponds in her own St. Anthony Park neighborhood. Her day job is being a member of the faculty and staff in water resources at the University of Minnesota.
VENUES. Currently her studio is listed at 8-204, Artblock complex, 2010 East Hennepin, Minneapolis, Minnesota; and public venues include Golden’s Deli in Saint Paul, Minnesota.