“Drawing and carving comes natural,” said Nan Kaufenberg in a recent interview at the Redwood Falls Public Library where her artwork is currently on display.
Kaufenberg herself said that she whittled sticks as a child, carved prints in elementary school and started block printing in high school.
“In college I was encouraged to continue with block printing, because that’s what my painting style was like”, added Kaufenberg.
Kaufenberg’s artwork is known as block printing, which is essentially using a carved material covered in ink to transfer an image onto paper or fabric.  Block printing can be done with wood, linoleum, rubber or many other materials. Kaufenberg uses “battleship linoleum,” which is a little more durable and was originally manufactured to line battleships for heat.
Her artwork utilizes water colors and is full of detail, but to understand the time that goes into one painting is indeed remarkable.
Starting with an idea, scenery, a sketch or maybe a photo, Kaufenberg begins her carving. The carving alone on a 6”x9” piece of linoleum takes her an average of eight hours over a two-week period.
The concept is that she carves out of the linoleum what she doesn’t want to show up in black when using her hand crank press.
If Kaufenberg chooses to do something precise as seen by the naked eye, the carving has to be done backwards as the press prints backwards.
Kaufenberg uses an oil-based black ink when transposing that takes a few days to dry, but the oil-based ink resists the water colors she uses and therefore won’t smear when painting.
Once dry and when time allows, it takes Kaufenberg an average of one to two hours to paint each print. If a particular print is going to be framed artwork, Kaufenberg does that herself.
“I like it,” said Kaufenberg. “Something would be missing if I didn’t do it. There would be a hole. I do it just for the pleasure of creating.
“I don’t do my work with the motivation to sell, because I don’t want that pressure. I pay for booth space at art shows and buy my own art and framing supplies, so I don’t even make much per piece.”  
The artwork, paintings and cards that Kaufenberg creates are really collectibles. The carved linoleum can only be pressed up to 20 times and then it becomes unusable.
“I always press 20 prints at a time, but never 20 of the same,” she said. “The carving for me is easy, but I have to go into a zone. The painting is easy also, but for that I have to do a little more thinking.”
  Although Kaufenberg tries to set aside two days a week for artwork, she admits that doesn’t work out some weeks with her busy realtor schedule. She doesn’t do as many art shows as she had in the past, but says she tries to make the Willmar Art Show every September.
Along with her current display at the library, she displays and sells her work in Marshall, Worthington, Luverne and New Ulm.
 “Some people collect my work”, Kaufenberg said, “and I know sometimes my work has been re-donated to art auctions.”
 Her enjoyment of what she does is evident while maintaining a fun and down-to-earth personality and keeping it all in perspective.
“I get a call every once in awhile, and someone I know has to tell me that one of my artworks being sold at a rummage sale,” Kaufenberg said with a laugh.
Nan Kaufenberg’s artwork will be on display at the library through the end of February.