Piece of the Week: Serene Serendipity in the Mid-West


The Lonely Side of the Lake (30”X40”), a serene meditation in acrylic paints, depicts a barefooted woman, wearing a mossy green printed dress, relaxed with no straps and a homespun feel, overlooking a rustic lakeside town.

Artist Glenn Quist, a resident of Elk River, Minnesota – a small town just beyond the Twin Cities metro area, found the inspiration for The Lonely Side of the Lake last autumn while on a weekend drive to Taylors Falls. Taylors Falls is situated on St. Croix River, the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin. The valley area has all the badges of a scenic, Mid-Western beauty: meandering roads, precipitous cliffs, glacial lakes, quiet towns.

One of these quiet towns is Lindstrom. “Very Scandinavian” says Quist, endorsing the town’s catchphrase of “America’s Little Sweden.” Lindstrom typically attracts fishing and tourism weekenders. But for Quist, on one particular fall weekend while driving through the hills, it marked the beginning of his painting.

“The roads wind up and down hills and just over a hill that comes into the town I noticed these two buildings. Vintage 20’s or 30’s I’d guess” said Quist.

Quist rarely works from a photographic reference but did for The Lonely Side of the Lake. He took a picture of the scene he found from a hill. The buildings were exceptional.


The buildings – a dreamy portrait of lakeshore next-door neighborliness – share similar features: a sand, green and white color palate, simplistic long-frame, asymmetric images, minimalistic doorways, etc.

Yet, despite the family resemblance, the kinship was coincidental; it was a case of perspective serendipity. “The little one, I think, is a Laundromat and the other is a house but from a certain point on the road they look connected,” says Quist.

He started painting in the early winter and created a first version. But the canvas sat in Quist’s studio.

“I liked it but I didn’t love it.” There was something missing.


He began to make more sketches of a woman reclined against a tree in solitary observation of the scenery. By adding a figure, he enlivened the composition and gave it new warmth.


“Adding the figure improved the composition and added a bit of mystery and the painting became more intriguing,” says Quist.

See more of Glenn Quist’s art on UGallery