Carl Cedergren

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Carl once said to me, “When I’m painting I would rather be digging up Henry Fonda’s bones than doing On Golden Pond.”

In 2010 he literally began painting in “The Swamp,” feeling that if he could paint in a place of such disorder he would learn to find the bones or raw motif of the places he was painting.

It didn’t quite work out that way and there were many hard lessons learning to find “The Quirk in the Work” He has learned how to handle a brush and knife that works for him in the solitude of snow and rain the last five years. He has said to me “I’ve killed seven water buffalo at nice water holes,” meaning I’ve lost a few paintings along the way. You have to learn to read between the lines with this guy. What he say’s in the context of a conversation many times has a double meaning or sly twist on the subject.

“I’m doing a reverse Ecole’ on contemporary modern art “

My style is basically, Alfred Sisley The French and some Russian Impressionists mixed with the teachings of Joeseph Paquet.

Carl grew up in Spring Lake, a small community in central Minnesota. When he was a child he suffered with severe dermatitis and always had to clench his fists because of the sores on his hands. Teacher’s would sneak up behind him and whack him on the back of his head and hands with a ruler then force them into the proper writing position. He had to wear gloves, long sleeve shirts and jeans at all times. He still holds the pen wrong and wears long sleeve shirts and jeans. When Carl worked with his father who was a masonry worker he tended some jobs in Stillwater. The drive from Spring Lake was especially beautiful as they came into Stillwater with its rolling hills, ponds and lakes. As the sun was setting on the way back he decided some day he would like to move there.

Since 1986 he has drawn a lot of the advertising concepts coming out of Minneapolis for print, television, research, focus group ideas and pitches for new clients. He was mainly at Fallon McElligott / Fallon Worldwide drawing up their ideas from 1986 thru 2000. He had to change up from every category, automotive to the zoo on the fly saying, “ This is what I’ve applied to painting; every place has a different need and feel. So I handle oil painting as I handled markers, loose and get the essence of the place distilled down to the bone”. Of course there is a difference technically but I still look for the raw matter under the concept. Since the digital computer generation began for me roughly in 2000 I’ve known the time is coming and I have to move on.

He says, “I felt bad when the guy with the chain saw knocked off Paul Bunyan in the Disney cartoon. Paul’s mile high stack of wood was beaten by new technology, the chain saw by a fraction of an inch. Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox Babe had to walk off into the sunset. Times change but I will always believe that I’ve been beaten by only a fraction of an inch “,

Carl has a 1913 Hudson 6-54 speedster that he had a ground up restoration by Odyssey Restorations from 1995 thru 1997. It is the highest decorated Hudson in existence and has won at all the major concours in the country. The high point coming in 1998 when he won “Most Elegant Open Car” at the Pebble Beach Concours de’Elegance. That year both prewar and post war were combined, double tap ! He has always expected to win whether it’s a concours or a pitch for new clients though he doesn’t talk about it much.

He unrolled the tux in his backpack and celebrated the year 2000 on the streets and the casino in Monte Carlo. On the first day of the new century he watched the sun set on the beach in Nice France and knew that was as far as he could go alone.

He met Jame’ Sheehan and got married in 2001. Maciah came along in 2005 and he moved his family to a bigger house on the north edge of Stillwater Minnesota. He paints the area where his dad drove. We also have an Australian shepherd named Stella !

“The Raw Energy of a place is all-important to me, not On Golden Pond or Misty Morning Memories.”

— Carl Cedergren