Art of the prairie

In the past, Granite Falls artist Bradley Hall said he just did one show a year – the annual Upper Minnesota River Valley Arts Meander.

Last year, he did 13.

One of his first shows for this year is “Portraits of the Prairie” through Jan. 24 at the Marshall Area Fine Arts Council’s arts center in downtown Marshall.

Hall said this exhibit includes a lot of his new paintings.

“I do 12 new images every year for the (Meander) calendar,” he said. “The new handpainted, handframed prints are selling like hotcakes.”

Hall said that he and his brother take apart old barns and buildings for the frames, and he makes the frames himself. The images he captures are country scenes from around southwestern Minnesota.

“About as far as my truck will take me,” he said.

He’s been building up stock for the last three to four years, Hall said, and images include barns, a tractor or an old truck.

And his work has been selling well in the metro area, Hall said. A year ago, he had exhibited at the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council’s gallery, and that started things off.

“It’s been an incredible journey,” Hall said. “I got into some big shows.” A couple of those shows include the Stone Arch Bridge Festival and the Powderhorn Art Fair.

“People were fighting over my stuff,” he said. “I think I’m really lucky because my work is different.”

In creating the linoleum block prints, the process consists of transferring a sketch onto a linoleum block from a reference photo, according to his artist statement. Then he hand carves the linoleum block. Hall prints the block with 140-pound Hot Press watercolor paper on a 6-1/2-by-10 inch 1957 Chandler and Price tabletop pilot press.

The linoleum block prints are also sold as black and white greeting cards and calendars.

Printmaking is a new category gaining in popularity and is being recognized in larger shows, he said.

This coming year, Hall said he’s concentrating on doing larger art shows. He’s working on larger pieces this winter to prepare, he said.