A box of tissues has been thoughtfully placed on the second floor of the Redlin Art Center in Watertown, S.D. I didn’t think I’d need it when arriving at the brick and columned building perched on a hillside off Interstate 29. The museum beckons travelers with free admission and an expansive collection of wildlife painter Terry Redlin’s work, which has graced Boy Scout popcorn tins, calendars, puzzles, wine bottles and the walls of wildlife art stores. His familiar style — homey subjects, warm tones and glowing light — has been dubbed “romantic realism,” but even if you arrive slightly jaded, Redlin’s personal story and the stories that his artworks tell tug at the heartstrings.
Hence the tissues. A streaming video shows Redlin talking about his “An American Portrait: A Collection of Heartfelt Firsts.” It depicts milestones such as a boy’s first friend (a puppy), his first day of school,