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Anybody with the will to be an artist can be

Carol Morken, formerly of Rugby, is an artist-in-residence

May 21, 2011
By Terri Kelly Barta

Carol Morken is an artist-in-residence for the Fargo Public School system. She has her own studio, teaches art classes to home-schooled children, writes children's books, and shows and sells her own art work. She is a 1979 alumna of Rugby High School.

Although she is a very talented lady, she has not missed out on life's challenges. Morken has Parkinson's Disease to work around. And work around it she does.

"When I get into a zone my hand doesn't shake," said Morken, reporting on an unusual phenomenon others have reported as well.

Parkinson's Disease is a condition of the part of the brain that controls movement. One of the common symptoms is a tremor in the hand or elsewhere. When Morken' s brain is focused on her artwork, she loses the tremor, temporarily.

Morken has been drawing all her life. As a child, she wanted to be an artist.

"My dad always drew little animals and other things and I would watch how he did it," said Morken.

She credits Mr. Kreklau, her junior high and high school art teacher, and an art teacher at Minnesota State University Moorhead, Mr. Oltzvedt, with encouraging her career in art.

Her favorite medium is chalk pastels. "I enjoy pastels the most," she said.

Silhouttes have regained popularity in recent years and Morken enjoys making them. She and her mom were shopping in Rugby and noticed some silhouettes in one of the stores. Her mother, Theresa Brossart, reminisced about how she made silhouettes as a little girl in the 1930s. The kids would save their shiny candy wrappers to put behind the silhouettes.

In today's world the internet can be used to find patterns for silhouettes or the artist can make a pattern herself. Morken uses sparkly silver cardstock instead of old candy wrappers for her background.

Silhouettes of the bride and groom are starting to be popular at weddings, according to Morken,

Another project that Morken is interested in is making paper out of iris leaves. She is planning to do this project herself.

Currently, she is working on a project with water color. She is painting each letter of the alphabet in water color and then plans to make flash cards out of them.

"They kind of have a retro-look back to Dick and Jane (primary readers of earlier days)" said Morken.

Morken has her artwork on display in various locations around Fargo. For Nicole's Pastry in downtown Fargo, Morken made cakes into artwork and displayed her work there.

Morken is married to Jim Morken and they have three grown children:Justin, 27, and his wife Ashley, Kristina 23, and her fiance Kevin Lau, and Jonathan 19. She was kept busy raising her children for 13 years and just got back into art in more recent years. Since she was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2007, she has really been busy with her art. She was concerned about eventually losing her movement to the extent she couldn't do her artwork so she has done a lot of art since her diagnosis. It opened new horizons for hew to consider.

For awhile she and her husband, would go to Nicaragua to help with childcare and build schools for children.

"I did portraits of children there," said Morken. "I put Jesus in their eyes," she added. During this phase of her life she learned the language, as well.

Morken loves to paint, draw and she has a side business in interior decorating. She has an art studio in her home.



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