In 2013, after living in Europe 20+ years, Peter and Solvei Stohl moved back to Minnesota and settled in Saint Paul. During those earlier years they served in eastern Europe and central Asia as Christian family counselors. From 2005-2013 they lived in Kaunas, Lithuania and worked with the Lithuanian Family Center.
In Kaunas Peter and Solvei were inspired to return to their former styles of drawing and art photography. (They believe their art has kept them sane.)
PETER: Ink & Watercolor Drawings
PETER does ink and watercolor drawings. He studied art and art history (St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN 1973-77) and studied one semester in Florence, Italy. He was very much inspired by the paintings, sculptures, architecture, and beauty of the city. He likes realism and likes to work on paper. He developed a technique of combining watercolor and ink hatching. He likes the texture of the ink hatching, plus he can achieve rich, dark tones that he cannot create with watercolor alone.
“In Kaunas I was so inspired by the beauty and clutter around us that I started drawing again. We lived in the Old Town and I created a series of drawings of scenes from our neighborhood. I like to portray everyday life and I often see my scenes as still lifes. I am drawn to the design, color, lighting and shadows of a particular scene. It is refreshing for me to recreate this atmosphere or mood on paper.
Now that we live in St. Paul, I am discovering new subject matter and creating new drawings.”
SOLVEI: Photography & Linocut Printmaking
SOLVEI shoots digital photos and has her favorites made into giclee prints. She studied painting and design as an art education major in college (Augustana University, Sioux Falls, SD 1974-78). She began doing black & white photography at that time.
In 1982 Solvei studied more B&W photography and worked for a small business printing photos by hand. From 1987-2005 she took a lot of color slides and photos, primarily documenting their work and travel. However in 2007 she decided to get back into art photography, which she enjoyed in the early 1980s. Now she shoots color digital images.
“I was inspired by our surroundings in Lithuania and did a lot of street photography, which I came to love. While living in Kaunas, I took a lot of art photos of the center and Old Town. I was fascinated by the textures: the cobblestone streets, the brick, stone, and stucco buildings, the rooftops with multi-vented chimneys, and ivy. Now that we live in St. Paul I am still attracted to such things.
When photographing people, I like to catch the moment of action where there is a strong sense of design and rhythm, or when I see an expression that is genuine. I am drawn to the lighting and design of a scene, and am truly satisfied when my finished print looks more like a painting. I enjoy discovering ‘paintings’ ready to be captured.”
In 2019 Solvei began doing Linocut printmaking. One reason for this change is that photography trends on social media, along with practices of altering images, are moving away from classic photography. She also likes to draw again and to work with her hands. She finds Linocut printing fun and challenging. (Solvei is not finished with photography but is devoting more of her attention to work in a new medium.)