|Kurt Plinke, Artist and Naturalist|
Kurt Plinke and Sewell Mills
Been in Maryland for a While Now
Kurt Plinke has been observing and depicting nature for over fourty years. First studying watercolors in Ohio with Leland McClellan, Kurt has been a student of water-based mediums ever since. In College, Kurt considered becoming a biologist, and studied both art and biology at Wilmington College and Bowling Green State University. Later, Kurt studied egg temperas and painting at Towson University.
Chance landed Kurt and his family in Maryland, where he was taken with the diversity of life along the Chesapeake Bay and it's Eastern Shore. Since moving to the shore, Kurt has spent years studying and observing the myriad of intertwined ecosystems there, depicting what he sees in his detailed watercolors. He often becomes fascinated by the overlooked; those little creatures hiding underfoot or overhead. Many of his watercolors reflect this, paintings of insects, amphibians, and moss-covered rocks. Other paintings look at natural patterns and rhythms. Kurt loves to identify patterns in nature, be it as simple as the veins of a leaf or as complex as the repetition of migration and movement. These paintings may be some of his favorites, as they at first appear simple, then gain in complexity as they are considered more deeply.
Other paintings by Kurt Plinke are abstractions, making sometimes subtle and sometimes blatant statements about the interconnections between man and nature. Societal life forms such as bees, ants and some birds populate these images, often out of scale and context. These all explore how man may suffer the same fate as these small societies. Some of these more abstract images look at the historical connections some species have with people. Crows, Toads and social insects such as Honey Bees are among his favorites in these paintings.
Plinke's landscapes are mainly painted en plein aire, on location. Some are painted in a matter of moments, a gestural impression or interpretation of a fleeting scene. Others take a little more time, focusing on texture, pattern and value.
In all of his work, Kurt Plinke is a patient observer and recorder, intertwining his views and thoughts as he recreates images as he sees them. While you examine his work, look for the messages hidden among the detailed imagery. Some are obvious, some are well-hidden.
Sewell Mills Studio & Gallery
Not Just a Dot on the Map...
Sewell Mills Studio & Gallery, a Great Gathering Place
to Find Fine Artwork, Painting Advice and a Little Bit of History.
Sewell Mills has been hidden on Maryland's map since the 1700's. First used as a mill and a portage location, the area has a rich history. The dwelling at Sewell Mills was originally built in 1751, as the home of a mill owner. At the bottom of the hill, near the confluence of Little Gravelly Branch and the Choptank River, a mill was located for grinding grain. The winding dirt lane, Red Bridges, served as a haul-out point for cotton barges bound for the Delaware Bay and Philadelphia. The river became shallow at that point, and bales of cotton from the south, shipped up the Chesapeake and the Choptank, were loaded on wagons here, to be made into fine thread and fabrics in Philadelphia.
Prior to the Civil War, Abolitionists used the spot as a stop on the Underground Railroad. The home was a welcome way-point, a respite as escaped slaves made their way farther north.
Allegedly haunted, the home has served many functions and families throughout it's long existence. Currently a classroom, gallery and studio make up the first floor of this early Federal structure. Here Kurt Plinke creates his artwork, explores the second-growth wooded swamps, bogs and highlands, and teaches his many workshops and classes.