By Darla McCammon
The first time I saw work by Terry Redlin, it took my breath away. We were on our way to our favorite fishing haunt in Ontario, Canada, when we stopped at the border crossing at International Falls.
We usually made a pit stop at a local shop because of their monetary exchange as well as their famous fudge. But they had another attraction: a huge art gallery taking over the entire second story of the lodge-like structure. Artwork by Terry Redlin was on display and I became smitten with it.
Terry Avon Redlin was an American wildlife artist famous for his twilight scenes and excruciatingly beautiful lighting effects at sundown. Redlin was born in July 1937. “U.S. Art Magazine” held annual surveys across the continent in the 1990s. Redlin invariably came out on top as “America’s most popular artist.” Redlin hailed from Watertown, S.D., so he had access to amazing scenery his entire life. He did not originally plan to be an artist, as he had his sights on a job as a forest ranger. At age 15, he was disabled after a bad motorcycle accident. He switched gears, gained a degree in art, married at age 19 and had three children.
He had quite a career as an illustrator, graphic designer and art director. He became more famous when his painting titled “Winter Snows” made it to the cover of Farmer Magazine in 1977. His career took off and for nearly 30 years he entertained art lovers around the world with his hauntingly beautiful artwork. He won many honors including a hall of fame and several Duck Stamp awards, including the Federal Duck Stamp contest.
Redlin favored old cabins, evening light with reflected sun and settings that included animals. The painting I selected for this written piece is titled “Old Logger’s Trail.” It was painted in 1978. If you have ever read my first book “Diamond Bait,” you will remember the Ruffed Grouse noisily taking flight and Mattie’s surprise and disappointment that it was not a vehicle coming to rescue her. Redlin’s work on this painting could easily have been my inspiration for that part of “Diamond Bait” had I known about it at the time.
Redlin, unfortunately, died from Alzheimer’s at the age of 78, in his beloved Watertown. In 1997, the Redlin Art center was built with free admission to see his works. In 2010, the Terry Redlin Environmental Center of Watertown opened. Redlin was recognized for his contributions toward conservation. Ducks Unlimited received a record $28 million of his largesse. Another South Dakota city also favored him in 1998 by naming The Terry Redlin Elementary School in Sioux Falls after the artist.
If you would like to exhibit at Warsaw City Hall, call (574) 527-4044 or e-mail [email protected].
- The Gallery at Rua in Warsaw will display Steve Sult’s “Sitting on the Fence” collection now through Sept. 18.
- The Lakeland Art Gallery featuring Marcy Mitchell’s pastel works will be on display through August, followed by a Robert Hudson exhibit through September.