I was raised in rural northern Minnesota in a place called the Iron Range, a place best known for it’s sub-zero temps, Fargo-like accents, Finnish culture and saunas (it’s pronounced sow-na, not saw-na, by the way), and it was home to the young Bobby Zimmerman, more commonly known as Bob Dylan. In my mind, MN is best known for it’s quiet, contemplative beauty, it’s still waters mirror-like and mystical in the morning mist and salmon sunrises, the haunting call of the loon over the splash of a beavers tail…all in harmony with the constant buzz of mosquitoes and the chirping of frogs. Aurora Borealis. Skinny dipping by moonlight, followed by a steaming-hot sauna. Flaxen-haired Scandinavians, the roll of an R off my grandmothers Finnish-speaking tongue and Ole and Lena jokes. Snow sparkling diamond-like in the morning light, breath visible in the frigid air, frosty eyelashes and frostbitten toes, lake waters frozen thick and the exhilarating resonance of its cracking beneath bladed skates. Nature. Beauty. Home.
My first series of figure paintings were self-portraits in the river that runs in front of my childhood home. This series was cathartic to me as I left my childhood home, as well as my childhood, behind. I had an intimate relationship with Rice River. My family and I swam and fished in it, canoed and skated on it, and simply enjoyed it’s ever-changing beauty. I titled the final painting in that series Surrounded by Forever as if painting myself in the river would in someway preserve my experience there.
After graduate school I moved to Colorado. I honed my technical skills while teaching and learned to paint en plein air to improve the landscape aspect of my figural compositions. I also met my husband and we started our family. We lived at almost 8,000 feet in the high desert country of the Gunnison Valley. Geographically speaking it wasn't a fit for someone who loved the moist, wet, boggy land of Northern Minnesota. While in Colorado I developed a curious fondness for old trucks and cars. My work changed. It seemed so vastly unrelated to my previous works. I then realized there was a connection. The cars were solo images in a landscape, melding into the land, becoming nature, much like myself in the water paintings. Again the concept of death or loss (rusty, retired vehicles that spoke of a bygone era) was present. The Ophelia connection in many of my figurative works mustn't be denied. Unlike Ophelia, however, there is always hope present in my paintings, in a way depicting a paradox between life and death.
My current work focuses on my experience of motherhood, the immense joy and boundless love I have for my children and the fear that goes along with my desire to protect them.
My family and I now call the beautiful Berkshires home. I am thankful to live and paint in a place that resonates with my spirit. Once again nature inspires me with her misty mornings, warm evenings, fire flies and my favorite color, green. Mossy-rocks and maiden-hair ferns for me and mountainous horizons for my co-adventurer in this life, my husband. Our three children inspire me beyond measure and have expanded my heart to experience limitless love.
Casey Krawczyk (b. 1978) earned her B.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Superior and her M.F.A. from the New York Academy of Art, Graduate School of Figurative Art. She taught academic drawing and painting for 8 years at Western State Colorado University before pursuing painting and parenting full-time.