Look What Came in the Mail - Part II

I first learned about the Franklin Arts Center Resident Artists Gallery from a call for artists on mnartists.org. I got accepted into their Spring Exhibition, Lush Vibes and then had the amazing honor to have my work featured on the exhibition flyer.

Recently, Martin Nelson has stepped down from his role as the gallery's Director/Curator and created a final exhibit, Collective Remix. I was invited to be part of this exhibit and was again honored to have two of my pieces were accepted, Wesselman with Flowers and Bashful.

Thank you for the opportunity Martin Nelson and best of luck. What is extra exciting for me is that both pieces hadn't yet seen the light of day outside the studio. Welcome to world lil' paintings!!

Bashful , Oul and mixed media on canvas

Bashful, Oul and mixed media on canvas

Wesselman with Flowers,  Oil and mixed media on canvas

Wesselman with Flowers, Oil and mixed media on canvas

Collective Remix runs from December 11, 2015 to January 16, 2016 in fabulous Brainerd, Minnesota, where all the hotels have waterslides!! 

  Collective Remix , Franklin Arts Center Resident Artists Gallery: December 11, 2015 - January 16, 2016

 Collective Remix, Franklin Arts Center Resident Artists Gallery: December 11, 2015 - January 16, 2016

I just received the exhibit flyer in the mail and I'm proud to say that Bashful made it to the post: 

Cold Start now available via Tiny Showcase

I am excited to announce that Tiny Showcase is offering both framed and unframed prints Cold Start. Check out Tiny Showcase!

Cold Start, Oil and mixed media on canvas

The curator from Tiny Showcase penned such a stunning description of my work, I wanted to share it here: "Her paintings, although loose and impetuous-feeling, are held together by a scaffolding, sometimes more hidden than overt, but always there to guide the movement and the overall impression. Who can't relate to that? Seeking the sublime and transformative without losing the reigns, the ability to steer, the opportunity to return to control, the morning, the desk, the office, one foot in the spontaneous while keeping the train running on time and on its course?"

Thank you Tiny Showcase!

Buy the print here: tinyshowcase.com

More information about this painting can be found on a previous blog post: New Painting

New Painting from the Line and Sky Series

Sketches in Line and Sky is a collection developed from sketching directly from nature on to a series of artist’s linen. My intention for these paintings is to document the emotional experience I have being in nature. Each work starts with a field drawing done in pencil. That outline is then accentuated as I build up layers of color in an attempt to illustrate the full atmosphere of the landscape.

The paintings in these collection are all 5"X7"

Additional paintings in this collection can be viewed here: Line and Sky

Kick Stand, Rider, and Open Water

I am excited to add three new paintings to my North End series! This series involves using vintage photographs I've inherited as the source material. This formula always proves to be a challenging one. As much as I want to focus on the composition and not create a likeness to figure in the photo, the challenge is always too tempting. I find myself painting and repainting the minute details of the facial features for each project in the series. I am however, very happy with the likenesses with each piece, as well as their composition! The three new works were made in succession of one another and subsequently have a connecting color palette, style, and tone. All three also have a subject matter where I feel the person's imagination at work. Whether riding a horse, a-float on a dingy, or about to fly through the neighborhood on a bicycle, there is a sense of freedom and open possibilities with each scenario. I am happy to introduce my three new pieces in this series: Kick Stand, Rider, and Open Water!

Rider Oil and mixed media on canvas

Kickstand Oil and mixed media on canvas

Open Water Oil and mixed media on canvas

The Clouds Have Parted

For month I have been agonizing over a painting. A good size piece, but I repeatedly labored over the postage stamp size portrait in the center of the canvas, only to wipe it complete off and start over again. Wipe it. Restart. Again and again! In an attempt to interrupt this frustrating, probably unhealthy, process I decided to just put the piece away and revisit my Line and Sky series.

The series has a smaller scale than I usually work at about 5 x 7", so I can easily take the pieces of un-streched linen and sketch directly from nature. Using only the initial sketches and my memory of the site, I finish each work by building up layers of paint, washes, and drawing. The images below are two recently finished pieces in the series.

And a third piece is in the initial sketch phase!

Even though they are small, the two works lifted the feeling of defeat that had been hovering over the studio. And, I am happy to say the painting that was giving so much grief is now in its final stages. I hope to post the finished work soon!

GREEN Thumb Rings at Egg Plant St. Paul!

I am proud to announce my GREEN Thumb Rings are now available at Egg Plant Urban Farm Supply!

Egg Plant is an amazing local Store in St. Paul. I had a blast taking my rings through the store on a photo shoot. Of all the photos, the winning one had to include a cameo from the Garden Gnome surrounded by Rosemary Topiaries (two of my favorite things)!

Check out Egg Plant for your holiday shopping when you are looking for that special something for someone who, I don't know, has a GREEN Thumb!

Did I mention Egg Plant is were I got my three chickens? Have I not mentioned I have chickens?


Follow MGrillPainting on Instragram for more pictures of Goldie, Lulu, and Seahorse (the above chickens) and a few paintings as well.


For this entry I wanted to showcase one of my favorite paintings, Lucille.

Lucille Oil and mixed media on paper

This was one of the first pieces I completed after we moved in our new home. The house was previously owned by my grandparents. With the signing of the paperwork came rooms full of my grandmother's items, ephemeral things that reminded me of her, and smells that brought back memories I had long forgotten. My grandmother's name was Lucille. Lucille, the painting, is an attempt to document the emotion that comes with 'the things' that remind us of a loved one.

For example, in the lower left of the painting you can see the outline of plant stakes. We found these all over our the yard and even buried in the soil. These are the little plastic cards that come with 4-packs of annuals and are the remnants of the gardens my grandmother grew.  One of the more noticeable elements in this painting is the bird mid-composition. Thought by some to be a crow, it is actually a vulture. The image is from an old alphabet set that was always a fixture on the porch. Vulture of course is for "V."

Lucille Grill

This painting is about the things that remind me of my Grandma, but also the experience of living the house that she did. We both looked at the same patch of land from our kitchen window. I often try to image how the landscape has changed. Not everything has changed; we both have had to deal with Box Elder Bugs. One of them even made them in the painting. Look slightly down and to the left of the Vulture.

Living in her house has made me feel closer to her than I had in a long time. It is truly an honor to inherit her world.



I have finally finished my most recent painting in the S White series, Bashful.

I have actually "finished" this painting several times in the past two years. Here are a few of the examples I could find of this painting when it was "done" previously.


I believe this latest version of this painting made a dramatic improvement. I am biased, but I think the piece has a greater depth. To me, the line quality in this work pays homage to the beautiful illustrations from the film I find so inspiring. Also, I just like looking at it and in the end that is ultimately my goal as a painter; to create something that is interesting to look at.

Bashful makes the eighth painting in the S White series. I love working with this subject matter. It is challenging to create a piece based on a Disney movie without simply making a piece of fan art. My hope is this series reflects the magic of being in nature and feeling like you've just walked out of the iconic film.

Here are few images of two works from the S White series exhibited at the Franklin Art Center's Lush Vibes exhibit earlier this spring.

The Story Behind an Untitled Painting and a Portrait of a Hoarder

My studio is small. It is a 8 X 16 foot area converted from a porch on the south side of my house. The space is packed full of random scraps of material that at one time I deemed might make a good art project.

Untitled I

Down the Great River; Embracing An Account of the Discovery of the True Source of the Mississippi by Captain Willard Glazier

Down the Great River; Embracing An Account of the Discovery of the True Source of the Mississippi by Captain Willard Glazier

The piece is divided into two parts and instead of creating a single composition with a break, I took the task making the project in 2 parts. I feel they are two separate works of art that reference the same source. To aptly depict the mighty river, I alternated layers of articulate illustration with more atmospheric washes of diluted color. I worked on each piece simultaneously, using the same painting style, but approached them individually with a slightly different palette and application of painting. I think of them as a series of two. Two sisters: one from the north, the other from the south.


I often feel the need to purge the precious square footage of the salvaged table tops and rusty pieces of tin, but then every so often I'm able to take something that has been sitting around and turn it into a great piece of art.

Untitled I and II, recently exhibited at Council Member Amy Brendmoen's Office, started as two rough scraps of Masonite. Two scraps that I slapped with a layer of gesso and then set aside. Fortunately, the urge to throw out the things in my studio was just that. Nearly a year later I found my self drawn to a unique old book that had a pull out map of the Mississippi River. It was then that my tireless devotion to hoarding paid off. Idea met medium. The Masonite proved to be the perfect dimensions to recreate the vintage illustration in my 1891 copy of Down the Great River; An Account  of the Discovery of the True Source of the Mississippi.

Untitled II


Art at WARD 5


W5 Featured Artist Reception

Wednesday, May 21st from 9:30-10:30am

Join us for an Open House at Councilmember Amy Brendmoen's Office in St. Paul's Historic City Hall. 

W A R D   5

Landscapes by Margi Grill

I am so excited and truly honored to have my work displayed at Councilmember Amy Brendmoen's Office in St. Paul's historic City Hall. Please join us for an open house Wednesday, May 21st, 9:30-10:30

15 West Kellogg blvd, Suite 320-A, City Hall, St Paul, MN 55102-1663
651-266-8650, ward5@ci.stpaul.mn.us
More info about Margi Grill
The Car Painting
Oil and mixed media on canvas by Margi Grill, 2014

Now on view at the Ward 5 Office of Amy Brendmoen in St Paul's City Hall


Margi Grill Jewelry NOW available at Your Enchanted Florist

I'm so excited to announce that the Trapezoid collection and a NEW collection of Thumb rings with the text GREEN hand stamped are now available at Your Enchanted Florist in St Paul! This is an amazing local Flower shop please check them out.

GREEN Thumb rings at Your Enchanted Florist

Trapezoid Rinds at Your Enchanted Florist

Trapezoid Rinds at Your Enchanted Florist

GREEN Thumb rings at Your Enchanted Florist

GREEN Thumb rings at Your Enchanted Florist


After individually scanning 34 individual 3" x 5"cards, I am happy to say that I have officially added my 2005 collection of gouache pigment linoleum prints, Ruminate.

Ruminate 28 Gouache pigment linoleum print

The series is printed on discarded card catalogs from the Wilson Library at the University of Minnesota. I was an art student at the U of MN, when I noticed one day that the scratch paper the librarians had distributed had type-written text on the back and have a hole punched through it. Being the ephemera enthusiast that I was, and still am, I took this opportunity to run (literally, as I assumed there would be other art students with the same idea) from station to station and collect the lot of these beautiful relics of libraries past.

History of the Land in Yellow

I hung on to the cards, waiting for the perfect project.  I began working on a painting History of the Land in Yellow (left) where the finishing touch was an image of a buffalo lumbering out of the composition. (click for larger image)


Also, around this time received a scholarship to the Split Rock Arts Program Printmaking; East Meets West, where I studied the Japanese tradition of woodblock printmaking with gouache pigments. Cottonwood (right) is my favorite example of the prints I created during this workshop.

The combination of these two projects inspired the framework for the series that would be worthy of my treasured discarded card catalogs.

Ruminate is one of my favorite collections. The sole buffalo compliments the archaic typed and stamped cards. As a series, the repetitious herd forces you to ruminate the layers of text and pigment.


The entire series can be view here.


New Painting

In preparation to be the featured artist at St Paul's Ward 5 office, I have just put the final touches on the my new 32" x 38" oil and mixed media on canvas painting that will make its debut at the exhibit!

I am still working on a title, but have long since referred to it as "the car painting."

Any suggestions for a title?



Many thanks to Nate Kaselnak for help with the custom-made frame and to the many friends who were subjected to my impromptu art critiques. 

The images in the painting came from a number of old photographs that I acquired when I moved into my house. These are some of the snapshots that provided the inspiration and source material for "the car painting."


UPDATE: The Untitled Car Painting is now entitled: Cold Start

Cold Start was recently awarded Honorable Mention at the Extremely Minnesota Exhibit at the Robbin Gallery in Robbinsdale, Minnesota.

Prints of Cold Start are now available via Tiny Showcase! Purchase Prints here: tinyshowcase.com