Profile: Mary Jo Van Dell

Artist Profile

Mary Jo Van Dell

Across, 46 x 48", Oil, © Mary Jo Van Dell 
Across          48 x 46"          Oil          © Mary Jo Van Dell

Mary Jo Van Dell carefully distills the raw northern plains landscape into its essence in her powerfully evocative paintings. Her images are created from years of hiking and exploring the land, experiencing the dramatic light and moods of her native Minnesota. We asked Van Dell to tell us about her evolution as an artist, her inspirations and her work processes. Van Dell is largely self-taught with works in the collections of the Minnesota Historical Society, the National Park Service and the U.S. State Department Art in Embassies program and a painting included in the 100 Years of Marine Art exhibition at the Minnesota Marine Museum. We asked her to begin by telling us about her creative background.

   I had a healthy imagination as a child. I loved to color and draw and to dance and I was not afraid to take lead roles in school plays. I believe my parents recognized a talent, but growing up in a large family without a lot of means meant I had to find my own way as there was not an opportunity for any arts-specific education nor was there much conversation or credit given to art. To be honest, we girls were supposed to find a good man and get married.

   Like many artists, I am self taught. I did take painting lessons from an artist in her home when I first started. I was using acrylic paint until she insisted I was an oil painter. She recognized my style and desire to blend and I am thankful for that early advice. I’ve worked by myself for most of my career but I am inspired by other artists, their studios, process and work and would like to take a workshop at some point.

Hinterland, 36 x 48", Oil, © Mary Jo Van Dell
Hinterland          48 x 36"          Oil


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All artwork copyright Mary Jo Van Dell


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We are artists, authors and teachers with over 40 years of experience in painting the world's beautiful places. We created The Artist's Road in order to share our knowledge and experiences with you, and create a community of like-minded individuals.  You can learn more about us and see our original paintings by clicking on the links below.
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