Watercolor painting by Dan Mondloch
Above: Watercolor painting by Dan Mondloch

Fine Art Today had an exciting opportunity to sit down with Minnesota watercolorist Dan Mondloch, who allowed us insight into himself as a father, husband, and artist. This is a beautiful story!

Whether it’s our hometown or a beautiful space visited while travelling, all of us have experienced a powerful connection with certain locations. For Saint Cloud, Minnesota, native Dan Mondloch, personal connections with all things Midwestern and family tradition have allowed him to blossom into an accomplished watercolorist — with his best seemingly yet to come.

Mondloch is a third generation painter, will his son Jack be the fourth? (Photo: 2016)

Mondloch’s father, Jim, is also a talented watercolorist, and his mother holds a degree in art education. Both have always supported Dan’s pursuit of an artistic career. “I love retelling the story of how my interest in art began,” he says. “I can remember mentioning to my dad in the 9th grade that I might be interested in trying this painting thing. The next morning, I woke up to the kitchen table filled with everything I needed to get started — plus some. So it began.”

Dan Mondloch, "Off Street Parking," 2016, watercolor, 12 x 16 in.
Dan Mondloch, “Off Street Parking,” 2016, watercolor, 12 x 16 in.

Mondloch never looked back and has been hot on the trail of artistic success ever since. He is quickly gaining regional and national attention for his skillful ability to capture the character and identity of locations en plein air. For Mondloch, painting is a method for capturing his personal experiences with particular spaces.

“It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that draws me to a scene,” he says. “I’m sure it’s a number of both technical and intangible things, such as composition, large value shapes, light, and often that unexplainable spirit you feel from a space. I paint to re-create these connections, and, of course, if my viewers are able to see and feel that as well, it’s a great moment.”

Dan Mondloch, "Ice Fishing - Red Light," 2015, watercolor, 11 x 15 in.
Dan Mondloch, “Ice Fishing – Red Light,” 2015, watercolor, 11 x 15 in.
Dan Mondloch, "St. Cloud Hydro-Electric Dam," 2016, acrylic, 12 x 28 1/2 in.
Dan Mondloch, “St. Cloud Hydro-Electric Dam,” 2016, acrylic, 12 x 28 1/2 in.
Dan Mondloch, "Ice Fishing, Evening Shadows," 2015, acrylic, 12 x 28 1/2 in.
Dan Mondloch, “Ice Fishing, Evening Shadows,” 2015, acrylic, 12 x 28 1/2 in.

There can be little doubt that Mondloch’s choice of medium is perfectly suited to his artistic goals. “The fluidity, translucency, and vitality of watercolor is ideal for capturing a fleeting plein air moment,” Mondloch suggests. “I love the light, character, and texture I can get with watercolor; it’s simply the best for me. It’s amazing how the tone and character of a place can change within an hour — or even a few minutes! Watercolor is a perfect medium to capture these moments.”

Although Mondloch has isolated watercolor as his preferred medium, the artist also has a studio practice that allows him to on occasion work in acrylic. For now, he keeps his plein air and studio processes separate, but he admits there’s an interest in pursuing new and challenging working methods.  Recently, the artist has ventured into the three-dimensional, using watercolor paper to construct both abstract and representational forms.  Once completed, Mondloch then embellishes the paper sculpture with a watercolor painting – the resulting works are incredibly dynamic and original.

Dan Mondloch, “Lake Cabin,” 2014, paper sculpture with watercolor, 24 x 24 in.
Dan Mondloch, “Lake Cabin,” 2014, paper sculpture with watercolor, 24 x 24 in.

The sky seems to be the limit for Mondloch as his burgeoning career continues to ascend.

To learn more, visit Dan Mondloch.

This article was originally featured in 2017 in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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