By Al Parker
Kaye Krapohl finds the perfect view atop Sleeping Bear Dunes, pulls out her gear and settles in to interpret the stunning scene before her.
Heres my very technical approach to painting, she says with a laugh. Get a clip board, gessoed paper, or piece of wood, grab whatever paints will fit into my Oryana cloth bag, roll brushes up in a dishtowel, grab a small china plate and water in a water bottle. Get on my bike or travel to a nice location and paint. I take a backpack, sit on a rock and do my little sketches.
Then she returns to her in-home studio in Traverse City and turns those little sketches into 24x36-inch or 38x38-inch things of beauty. Her favorite medium is oil on wood with very thin washes.
Nature dominates Krapohls works, mostly landscapes of stunning appeal and accuracy. Her acrylics, oils and watercolors capture clouds, rivers, lakes, marshes, streams and sunsets from across northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.
I do landscapes because its there, she explains. You can always expect my work to give a sense of being there in the present. The greatest compliment anyone could give me is I can hear the snow crunch or I can smell the river.
Krapohls works are on display at Gallery 22 near Suttons Bay, at Kuhlhaus Gallery in Harbor Springs and at The Good Work Collective in Traverse City. Starting June 5, an impressive collection of Krapohls landscapes will be on display at Hanna Bistro in Traverse City.
I am showing my new large bay/cloud paintings and river paintings- a combination of local rivers and the large paintings resulting from a Two Hearted (River) trip at Hanna Bistro over the summer, she explains.
About 15 of her paintings will be displayed all summer at the popular eatery, with works switched out in July and August.
Each month it will be like a visit to a new area while you enjoy Hannas amazing food, she adds. The work is all for sale with prices listed and 10 percent going toward the Watershed Center, an organization that works to keep the bays and river clean.... without these watershed features I would not have a subject!
Asked about her favorite local artists, Krapohl is generous in her praise.
Bill Hosner is a world reknowned pastel artist and Angela Saxon is a wonderful local landscape painter, she says. I also like the works of Richard Kooyman, Glenn Wolff, Joan Richmond, Charles Murphy and sculptor Bob Purvis.
Krapohls interest in art began early downstate in tiny Napoleon, near Jackson.
I always knew, since I was three or four, that Id be an artist, she recalls with a laugh. I always painted. I remember being in the third grade and we had no art class. I talked Mrs. Lathrop into letting me teach art. So I taught the class to draw a horsie.
Krapohl sold her first work of art a watercolor chickadee at the age of 11. She earned a BFA at the University of Michigan, then studied printmaking in London, England. Her works have earned dozens of awards at juried competitions and is featured in select corporate collections, including the U-M Presidents Collection, Traverse City Chamber of Commerce, Munson Medical Center, Foote Hospital in Jackson and the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa.
Shes been the recipient of the Hallmark National Gold Medal, National Endowment of the Arts Award and a Governors Resident Artist Award. Last year she was National Sleeping Bear Dunes Lakeshore Artist in Residence.
An avid cyclist and cross country skier, for many years in the 1980s and 90s she was a perennial winner/participant in the White Pine Stampede and VASA races.
The public may recognize her as the founder of The Womens Winter Tour, now in its 14th year as a cross country ski event. The tour has raised more than $100,000 for local charities such as Madelines House and Zonta House, both operated by the Womens Resource Center.
My essence as a person is to give back to my community, she says. My love of skiing, hiking and biking have all led me to want to express how incredibly beautiful the landscape (of northern Michigan) is.