ASBA Staff Bio - Denise Walser-Kolar

by Myra Sourkes

Denise Walser-Kolar was born in Grand Forks, ND. Her family moved around a bit, including a few years living in Germany, before settling in Rochester, MN, where she still lives with her husband, Scott and her Golden Retriever, Echo. She has a son, a daughter, and two smart and beautiful granddaughters.

Growing up, her favorite painting was Albrecht Dürer’s Violets. Her dad is from Vienna, Austria and the first of many trips to museums was going to see the Dürer paintings there. The Large Piece of Turf, Praying Hands and the Violets are all in the same room with many of his other pieces painted on vellum. That room is also probably the reason she loves vellum - everything looked so old, wrinkled and beautiful. A post card of the Violets had a very prominent place on her bulletin board throughout most of her childhood; she still has the post card and still goes to see the Violets whenever visiting relatives in Vienna.

Denise always loved to draw and to draw detail, evident even in a work completed at age 4, a drawing of a pilgrim. He has shoelaces, grommets for the shoe laces, and even teeth on the zipper of his pants!   She became a graphic designer and worked in the graphics department at the Mayo Clinic and then in her own graphic design business. In her spare time, she has worked on the Boards of two non-profits, the South Eastern Minnesota Visual Artists (SEMVA), an artists’ co-op, and the Reading Center/Dyslexia Institute of Minnesota, dedicated to serving the needs of people with dyslexia.

Her first Botanical Art class at the Minnesota School of Botanical Art in 2003 was a birthday gift from her parents. “It was a magical, teary moment when I first realized that Botanical Art is what I meant to do.” Based on her many exhibition awards, her inclusion in the Hunt Institute and - hot off the press – her receipt of the prestigious ASBA Diane Bouchier Artist Award for Excellence in Botanical Art this year, her self-appraisal was correct!

She says modestly “I have gotten into shows and have gotten rejection letters from shows. Now as a teacher and more experienced botanical artist, I encourage my students to join the ASBA, come to the conferences, enter the shows, and take advantage of all that the ASBA has to offer. I love botanical art, I love the ASBA, and I am so proud to now be working for them.”