Rosemaling by Teresa Ann McCue

Rosemaler Teresa Ann McCue took her first rosemaling class in 1989 and has been sharing the Scandinavian folk art ever since.

“After my first class, I was totally hooked,” said McCue, who has a booth in the Touchstone Energy Heritage Center in Copenhagen Hall at this year’s Norsk Hstfest. McCue has been coming to the Hostfest for 16 years.

Rosemaling, which means “decorative painting” in Norwegian, is a folk art that originated in the rural valleys of Norway. McCue said each region has its own distinctive form of painting. She first learned the Rogland style of rosemaling, which is more symmetrical, but later learned the Telemark style, which better suits her artistic talents.

“It’s more free and spontaneous,” she said of the Telemark style, and allows her to show more spontaneity while still staying in the framework of the traditional style.

McCue, who now lives in Westminster, Colo., grew up in a large Scandinavian-American community in northern Minnesota and was immersed in the Scandinavian culture, even though she didn’t learn rosemaling until she was an adult. That’s given her a sense of the importance of maintaining culture. Rosemalers should never stray too far from the roots of the craft, said McCue.

“I feel tradition is very important,” said McCue, “not only to know where we are going, but where we are from.”

She said it’s important for the colors in a piece of rosemaling to belong to the same family. Norwegian rosemaling often uses earth tones, she said. She often lets the time of day or season of the year influence her choice of color palate.

Second and third generation Scandinavian-Americans are often proud to display rosemaling art, she said.

McCue is glad to work on commission and even will travel to different locations to do a work. Her rosemaling decorates the ceiling of a bed and breakfast in Duluth and a silo in Decorah, Iowa. She has painted motorcycle helmets and quilts as well as the more traditional big, round decorative plates and violins.

“I do interiors, work in homes and businesses,” she said, adding that it’s probably unusual these days for an artist to travel the country and climb ladders to paint commissioned art.

McCue has studied rosemaling in Norway as well as at the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum in Decorah, Iowa.

McCue’s website can be found at (www.rosemalingteresa.com).