An artist by nature

Illustrations courtesy of Nordic Folklore The watercolor painting “Children with Apples and Fjord Horse” captures a moment with young children harvesting apples and sharing the bounty with their faithful friend, the gentle Fjord horse.

Sharon Aamodt shares her artistic talent and strong connection to heritage with Nordic Folklore

By Jess Larsen

Norwegian American Weekly Intern

Sharon Aamodt, an artist by nature, has a way of bringing the beauty of Norway and its culture to life in her stunning paintings. Her art is not only of Norway but also shows the traditions and picturesque scenery of Scandinavia as a whole.

“My parents were Swedish and Norwegian (we call that mixed marriage) and I had always been very immersed in that culture,” said Aamodt, explaining her ties to Scandinavian culture. Her grandparents, a main factor in introducing Aamodt to Scandinavian culture, were immigrants from Norway and Sweden. Over the years they exposed her to vivid stories of the Vikings, traditional foods, and dances from Scandinavia. These stories and traditions are what spurred her lifelong interest in her heritage and Nordic folklore, which Aamodt loves being able to share with her children and grandchildren today.

Aamodt attended the Art Academy in Denver, Colo., Woodbury University in Los Angeles, Calif., and did graduate work at the Art Center College in Los Angeles, Calif. It was at school in California that Aamodt met her husband Bob Dexter.

After college, Aamodt got her start in fashion drawing and it was not until later that Nordic art became her primary focus. She first was attracted to Nordic art by the beautiful colors of the bunad. “I went to a Scandinavian Festival at Cal Lutheran in Moorpark with Bob in 1983,” said Aamodt. It was then that Aamodt was truly inspired by Nordic folklore and decided to take the plunge to focus on this specific type of art.

Besides creating beautiful paintings of people in traditional Norwegian bunads with beautiful backgrounds, the Fjord horse is another common aspect of Aamodt’s artwork. Having owned one as a child, her love of the Fjord started at a young age and continues today. “I love drawing their sensitive and affectionate faces,” says Aamodt describing why she likes to include the Fjord in her paintings.

Nordic Folklore Paintings is not merely a one-person show, as Aamodt works closely with her husband Bob Dexter, a modern computer artist. Dexter is an artist in his own right who started out creating pieces using oil inks. These materials were not the safest to work with and as a result Dexter had to stop using them. Fortunately Dexter was able to find a new way to let his creativity flow when computers hit the scene.

The two went to Norway in 2001 where they were able to visit family and experience the beauty of Norway. “We took lots and lots of pictures and they find their way into many prints as backgrounds,” said Aamodt. Dexter’s mastery of computer art makes adding these stunning pictures from Norway into wife’s paintings possible.

The two live on a five-acre farm in western Washington to be close to their grandchildren. Their heritage is still an important part of their everyday life as they are members of Daughters of Norway Prillar Guri Lodge #30 and Sons of Norway Hovedstad Lodge #2-094 in Olympia, Wash. The two also love spending time with their grandchildren and sharing their love of art with them.

The beautiful art created by the Aamodt and Dexter shows the traditions and heritage of Norway and other Scandinavian countries. To contact Nordic Folklore, visit, email or call (360) 832-1244.

This article originally appeared in the April 27, 2012 issue of the Norwegian American Weekly. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (800) 305-0271.

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The Norwegian American is North America's oldest and only Norwegian newspaper, published since May 17, 1889.