Emerging Artists | Dan Mondloch

Painting it forward

Dan Mondloch, Bright Light, Cleo Street, oil, 16 x 20.

Dan Mondloch, Bright Light, Cleo Street, oil, 16 x 20.

This story was featured in the June 2019 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art June 2019 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

LIKE MANY other landscape artists, Dan Mondloch loves painting outdoors, from being able to glean first-hand observations of his subjects to chasing the ever-changing light. But for Mondloch—a third-generation landscape painter—perhaps the best part about it is the opportunity to engage passersby in his process as he captures their everyday world at his easel. “I was trained as a contemporary art student—my school was more [about] conceptual [art],” says the St. Cloud, MN, native. “So, after college, I asked myself how a landscape painter can be relevant today, and plein-air painting was the answer for me. It brings people into the fold of the arts.”

Mondloch began his fine-art journey in ninth grade, when he set out to learn everything he could about watercolor painting. He pored over the instructional books in his father’s studio, and the pair frequently sketched the Minnesota countryside en plein air. At home, he routinely escaped to the cellar, where he’d sit on a five-gallon bucket and paint to the hum of the water heater, lured by “the magic of being able to make something look the way it does in real life.”

Creating authentic representations of the world around him is still his goal today, but—like his friend and mentor, watercolorist Andy Evansen—Mondloch simplifies his imagery by depicting “the 10 percent that really matters,” he says. And while watercolors remain his mainstay, he also works in oils. Last fall at the prestigious Laguna Beach Plein Air Painters Invitational, he snapped up the Best Architecture award for his exquisite oil painting BRIGHT LIGHT, CLEO STREET. “When I look for subjects, I look for areas that capture the spirit of the place,” he says.

In the process, Mondloch often captures the hearts of viewers. A few years ago, as part of a project he called Paint It Forward, he completed 50 paintings around his St. Cloud community in 30 days. He gave half of the works away, on the spot, to people who had personal connections to the places he depicted. “There was a turning point during the project where I realized I might be benefiting more than the recipients,” says the artist. “Seeing the look of joy on their faces gave me that sense of fulfillment with my work that I’m always searching for.” —Kim Agricola

representation
Ripple River Gallery, Aitkin, MN; Seasons on St. Croix Gallery, Hudson, WI; Paramount Gift Gallery, St. Cloud, MN.

This story was featured in the June 2019 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art June 2019 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

MORE RESOURCES FOR ART COLLECTORS & ENTHUSIASTS
• Subscribe to Southwest Art magazine
• Learn how to paint & how to draw with downloads, books, videos & more from North Light Shop
• Sign up for your Southwest Art email newsletter & download a FREE ebook

COMMENT