Herald and Journal, August 17, 1998

Local group of artists plan show


"I'm going to be an artist," wrote Angela Lachermeier of Waverly, on the back of a picture she drew for her art teacher, Charlotte Laxen of Winsted, when she was in grade school.

Lachermeier and Laxen will be two of the local artists involved in an art show and sale Thursday, Aug. 20 at the home of Helen Mosher of Howard Lake on Lake Mary from 6 to 9 p.m.

At least five artists will showcase their talents with this free exhibit:

· Lachermeier, watercolors and etched glass pictures.

· Charlotte Laxen, watercolors, both fullsize and miniatures.

· Helen Moser, colored pencil drawings.

· Antoinette Ollig, Winsted, digital art.

· Michael Ollig, Winsted, Kirlian photography.

Lachermeier started with grade school art classes and hand made all her graduation announcements in watercolors.

She has been an artist ever since, learning about her medium, making her own statement.

"Watercolors are usually gentle and soft," said Laxen, "but Angela uses strong, bold colors. It is her style."

Lachermeier may have picked up her style from Laxen when Laxen worked at Holy Trinity Schools as an art teacher.

Laxen said, "I can't work loose and fluffy, like some artists. I like detail."

She said watercolors are not so much what you see, but what you don't see.

The miniature watercolors Laxen produces are almost part of what you don't see, they are so small.

Measuring only an inch square, the frames are larger than the pictures, by far.

A trip to France each year produces photos to work from and some site landscapes.

"Some of my paintings from Europe have cyclists in them, and they sell well over here," said Laxen.

Southeastern Minnesota, around Lanesboro, reminds Laxen of the areas in France with the deep valleys.

She paints there also, but she said people can be a problem, interrupting her concentration to ask questions.

One artist told her to wear headphones, even if she wasn't listening to anything, to discourage the interruptions.

"It works," she said.

Mosher, who is hosting the exhibit, works in colored pencils, giving texture to her work by using a special, museum quality paper.

She usually has photographs made of her work and has them framed by Foxfire Gallery in Buffalo.

It takes, sometimes, three to four months to complete a picture, said Mosher.

She went to Brown Institute to be a graphics designer from 1992 to 1994, but got into the colored pencils after taking a workshop in California in 1996.

The group is working out of her home, and she said, "We hope to provide an intimate setting, where people feel free to ask questions."

While the women always knew they would be artists, Michael Ollig said, "I kind of stumbled into this, doing Kirlian photography."

He started out to prove that atoms moved around in a college class.

"Kirlian photography is recording electricity passing through an object, organic or inorganic," he explained.

It records the image of that object on film, he said.

"It is what people are talking about when they speak of auras, the colors surrounding a person. Some people claim they can see the auras," said Ollig.

"It is all done in a darkroom, and the total cost of my equipment is about $80," Ollig explained.

He learned about this type of photography and how to do it from the Minneapolis Public Library.

"The most interesting piece I did was broccoli. It was red and green and kind of glowy," he said.

The two 65-volt batteries used to send current through a subject are low amperage, so they won't hurt anything, said Ollig

Ollig said he is trying larger format films now. He makes slides of his subjects and shows them, because prints seem to lose too much resolution.

About 15 of his best slides will be on display at the exhibit, and he will be available to answer questions, as will the other artists.

When asked about a name for their group, they said there wasn't one yet.

Ollig laughed, "Maybe we should be known as the local artists, formerly known as prints."

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