Phyllis Northup

Painter / Jewelry Artist

Born and raised in southern New Jersey – arguably worlds away from the U.P. – artist Phyllis Northup is a traveller. One of choice and of circumstance. She has transformed such majestic places as the Tetons, the Grand Canyon, the beaches of Cape Hatteras and the Smokey Mountains – to name a few – into her backyard and moreover, into her artistic inspiration. Turning these places not only into fodder for her work, but into a home as well, is the result of marrying a National Park Ranger. Fortunately for Northup, art and nature are universal, so with each new move came new observations to take back with her to the easel. Having lived in some of the nation’s most spectacular places, Northup loves the U.P., and has found Lake Superior to be an incredible inspiration.

Her husband served as the Superintendent of Pictured¬† Rocks National Lakeshore, which is what originally brought them to the U.P. Northup earned her BA in Fine Arts and has more than 30 years experience teaching art – in public schools, private school and for community organizations. She even incorporated art into the hikes and presentations she led as a National Park Ranger, only further exemplifying art inspired by nature. It’s clear Northup’s passion for her work runs deep, a trait her grandmother recognized early on. And in sensing this quality, Northup’s grandmother gave her her first oil set at age seven. Her love for art and nature soon followed and intensified. Each new home, our country’s lands, lakes, mountains, have allowed Northup to use her art as a tool for awareness. For Northup, with awareness comes appreciation. If she can continue to paint, to create, and let nature recharge her soul as it does without fail, then her work will hopefully lead to the desire to protect, preserve and care for our fragile planet.

Northup’s camera is never far from her side when she’s out adventuring. This way, she can bring back what she has seen and experienced. Northup then works with her digital images to develop her compositions. Occasionally, she’ll do a quick sketch in the field. Very detailed, her watercolor technique of building layers takes hours – sometimes hundreds – of studio work.

Her Jewelry, inspired by Lake Superior beach stones, incorporates beads made from the same stones such as jaspers, quartz, blackstones and agates. These stones also inspire some of Northup’s paintings.

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