For almost as long as she can remember Pearl Ziegenhagen has been interested in art. She was very active as a high-school student, and she even took correspondence courses following graduation. In that time as a young woman she married and had children, setting down art for a long while.

“My family really became my full time job,” Ziegenhagen of Clements said.

Her kids grew up and her husband passed giving her the motivation to throw herself back into artistry. She took additional classes to improve her craftsmanship and learn new things; Ziegenhagen gained a deep appreciation and skill for watercolors.

Her skill really shows through, and she has won a number of awards for her paintings. In addition to a variety of smaller awards, she recently took grand champion at a show in Springfield and has even been invited to the Minnesota State Fair which is no small feat given the number of possible entries. 

Ziegenhagen has had the benefit of traveling abroad on many art tours both in the United States and in Europe, including England, France and Italy. Italy really is her favorite place to paint, and she would certainly return given an opportunity.

“There’s just something about the colors and the design of their architecture,” she said.

Many of her displayed watercolors are labeled with the places where she painted them and bear the names of these European locations. Inspiration is a funny thing, and she admits that sporadic nature of art. She might sit and paint several pieces in a row, or she might take long breaks.

“The summer gets very busy,” Ziegenhagen said, “although it is the best time to paint floral pieces.”

Watercolors, such as florals, take a different technique, she explained as she talked about her usual method of painting. Often, she sketches her art first with a marker or other black ink to provide an outline and then fills it in with colors – sometimes much later, using a photograph as a guide.

This was how many of her paintings from her travels came to completion. She sketched a landscape or objects onsite and took a photo for later reference when she finished the piece.

She also uses other techniques in some of her paintings including pressings, gauze imprints and collage techniques to fill out her works with distinct results. She does the occasional art show still, but fewer in recent times, and some of her favorite pieces aren’t on display – they aren’t for sale – though many of her paintings adorn the walls of the local library.

Ziegenhagen’s art show, which includes mostly watercolors but also a few acrylic paintings, is sponsored in part by Tatanka Arts organization and will be on display at the Redwood Falls Public Library until the end of August.