Ingunn Milla Joergensen lives in town and has found a special place in our love community. Even though she was not born here, she has chosen Maine to call home, or maybe it is more like Maine chose her.
“Growing up in the southern parts of Norway, I was that child who always spent time creating something, that is, if I wasn’t wandering around in the woods picking wildflowers,” Ingunn shares. “I remember waking up thinking, ‘Today I will make a masterpiece unlike anything anyone has ever seen.’ Then I’d venture off to my granddad’s wood workshop next door to hunt for treasures to use.”
She was allowed to explore and create through her childhood and school. “I am still grateful for all those teachers who let me go on with my ideas,” she remembers. “Frequently, they were things other than what we were assigned to do. Maybe that is why I later became an art teacher myself.”
For many years, Ingunn enjoyed teaching her students and still painting when she had the moment to steal. Then, fifteen years ago, she moved to Maine.
“What was supposed to be a two-year stay has become more permanent now – a house, a huge garden, another dog, and numerous chickens later.” Ingunn was finally in a place where she could focus solely on her work. “Quickly, I fell deeply in love with the place and its kind and friendly people,” she shares. “Each a little rugged, very resilient, and so authentic.”
The beauty of the Maine landscape, the constantly changing elements, and the ocean are a never-ending source of inspiration for all of Joergensen’s art and design work. “It is the little things that catch my attention, a piece, a fragment, a texture, a thought, a word. Sometimes taking it all in is so much, it is almost overwhelming,” Igunn shares. “One little shell tells the story of the ocean. A piece of wood tells the story of lived life. Beauty is found in the most unexpected places.”
Joergensen has met and worked with many inspiring and talented people. Her road trips around the state searching for beautiful barns to paint have led her to the most interesting conversations. She tells the story of an older gentleman and his lovely old horse farm.
“Windows were broken, roofs were sagging, and he was having difficulty keeping up. The barn swallows were cheerfully flying around while rays of sunshine streamed through the ceilings. He still had a few retired horses and much evidence of a proud life. We spent hours chatting,” says Ingunn. “A few weeks later, I returned with an invitation to my show. He saw his barn on the invitation’s cover and started to cry.”
This and many similar stories make Joergensen grateful to live and paint in Maine, yet her gratitude does not end there. She has a deep appreciation, profound thankfulness, and great humility, not only when it comes to her ability to paint but also when paintings have found their “forever homes.” All across the United States, from San Diego to Seattle, Florida to Maine, Ingunn Jorgensen’s work can be found. She may be lucky to have this life, but her talent and hard work have brought her to where she is now.