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Emily Rudolph at Huiras Lake State Natural Area

Emily Rudolph: Artist in Residence at Huiras Lake State Natural Area

September 5, 2023  |  Topics: Articles

The Natural Realm presents Emily Rudolph, who is among 12 artists participating in a year-long residency program called ARTservancy, a collaboration between Gallery 224 in Port Washington and the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, River Revitalization Foundation, Milwaukee Area Land Conservancy, Tall Pines Conservancy, and Lake Michigan Bird Observatory. The mission of ARTservancy is to promote the visionary work of both the artists and conservationists. Each artist has selected a preserve to spend time in and to engage with.

Artist Statement

Huiras Lake State Natural Area captivates and inspires me in numerous ways. Each time I visit, the first thing I notice is a field of dispersed trees leading to a denser forest. The branches crisscross and weave, creating intricate black patterns against a vivid blue or stark gray sky, depending on the time of year and the weather. In my work, I depict the abundancy and intricacy of the vegetation at Huiras Lake State Natural Area.

The crisscrossing limbs in a stand of sumacs are an inspiration.
The crisscrossing limbs in a stand of sumacs are an inspiration. Photo by Eddee Daniel.

The drawings and paintings I create depict the patterns I notice within nature. I am inspired by the repetitive lines of grass, and I want to draw every blade. I see the thousands of leaves and I feel compelled to draw each leaf. Even as the seasons change, abundancy remains with the branches, dried stems, and evergreens. I also see repetition within natural forms, in seashells and in leaves and in the bark. I create patterns utilizing the patterns I have found at Huiras Lake State Natural Area.

The repetition of natural forms also inspires the artist. Photo by Eddee Daniel.

Change, especially in color, is another inspiring aspect of the land and appears throughout my work. I am intrigued by the drastic color variations I see each time I visit and how they vary by day and by season. My work highlights this contrast, not only between different paintings but also within a single painting.

Emily Rudolph on prairie trail. Photo by Eddee Daniel.

There is variety at Huiras Lake also in the range of valleys, forest, meadow, and lake. My work also varies with a wide range of mediums, from acrylic paint and ink to gel pens and colored pencils. The experiences I have at the land instill in me a sense of peace, awe, and wonder, which I seek to translate through my artwork.

Huiras Lake. Photo by Eddee Daniel.


Windswept, 11″x14″, pen and ink on paper. First work from Huiras Lake State Natural Area.
Untitled. Scratchboard design inspired by Huiras Lake State Natural Area, an exploration of medium.
Untitled. Work in progress for an installation piece inspired by Huiras Lake.
Detail of above.
Huiras Lake lily pads, a pattern study.
First sketch for a piece to be entitled Huiras Lake Forest.
Garden Gown, 9″x12″, pen and ink on paper, from a body of work entitled “Garden People.”
Secrets, 36″x28″, acrylic on canvas, from a body of work entitled “Garden People.”
Overgrown, 32″x42″, mixed media on paper, from a body of work about people and their relationship to nature.
Folly Field, 32″x42″.
Gardenia, 40″x42″.
Huiras Lake Dock. 9″x12″. Ink on paper.
Garden Chameleon. 32″x40″.


 I received my BA from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and my MFA from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a focus in painting and drawing. My work mixes both painting and drawing mediums, ranging from gel pens to acrylic paint.  Patterns and color play a major role in my work, depicting people’s complex relationships to each other and the spaces they occupy. I have shown in galleries across the Midwest and have artwork in private collections in the US and Europe. My work most recently was on view in Madison, WI at the Art and Literature Laboratory and at the Miller Art Museum in Sturgeon Bay. I have a studio in Sheboygan, WI and enjoy being an artist, educator, and scenic painter.

This residency is sponsored by Ozaukee Washington Land Trust. To learn more about Huiras Lake State Natural Area go to our Find-a-Park page.

Related story:

Cynthia Lorenz: Artist in Residence at Huiras Lake State Natural Area.

This is the latest in our series of featured artists, which is intended to showcase the work of photographers, artists, writers and other creative individuals in our community whose subjects or themes relate in some broad sense to nature, urban nature, people in nature, etc. To see a list of previously featured artists, click here. The work of the 2022-2023 ARTservancy artists in residence is currently being exhibited monthly at Gallery 224. To meet the other ARTservancy artists in residence, click here.

All images courtesy of the artist, except as noted. The featured photo at the top of Emily Rudolph in a field of Queen Anne’s Lace is by Eddee Daniel. Ozaukee Washington Land Trust is a project partner of A Wealth of Nature.