Nov. 27, 2006

Making something new out of the old

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Monica Tenhoff of Cokato indulges her creative side by turning old furniture, mirrors, and saw blades into works of art.

Tenhoff always enjoyed doing artwork and coloring as a child, but it wasn’t until her seventh grade art class she realized she could actually make something out of her art.

Now, she is busy painting oil and acrylic scenes on anything old that she can get her hands on.

Tenhoff particularly enjoys painting old windows, mirrors, saws, kettles, and teapots that she finds at auctions.

Tenhoff has even painted an old medicine cabinet and an early 1900s kitchen table.

For mirrors, she focuses on acrylics because they have more staying power on glass than oils do. She leaves the oils to the saw blades, Tenhoff said.

Her mirrors and other glass items are usually painted with flowers, vegetables, chickens or roosters.

“Roosters are a hot item right now. I can’t make them fast enough,” she said.

She is currently working on a large, round saw blade with a scene of Split Rock on Lake Superior. Many of Tenhoff’s scenes come from photographs she has taken. For example, another saw blade she has done is of the Crow River near Kingston.

Tenhoff explained how many painters complain about not being able to paint pine trees.

“To me, they’re easy,” she said.

It’s about observing and paying attention to what things look like, she said. It’s also important to identify the light source.

With seven children, Tenhoff has found it hard to find time for her art in the past.

“I’ve always had little fingers in the way so I’ve put it on the back burner until the past few years,” she said.

For her, painting is a hobby. It’s not an expression, like many artists claim. She says, if she wants to express herself, she will use her voice.

Tenhoff, instead, paints for others. Many of her work is done by request or for craft sales.

She rarely keeps an inventory, partly because she doesn’t have the storage and also if it is hanging on her wall too long, she will likely get attached to it, Tenhoff said.

“I’d like to [paint] more, but there is laundry to do and gardening that I spend most of my time doing in the summertime that makes it hard to make time,” she said.

“I wish I could do it all day long, but it’s mostly something I do after all the kids go to bed,” she said.

To request art work, contact Tenhoff at (320) 286-2516.

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