The Kansas River is rising tonight. Our son, Nat, is the boatman for the University. He spent the afternoon at the boathouse preparing for high water. Growing up on the Mississippi River, I’ve seen floodwater bend the spine of a storage silo once standing at perfect attention. Every ten years or so that mighty river would break through the Corp’s levy system and reclaim some of the territory it once seasonally replenished with new soil. I’ve always appreciated the power and loved the beauty of the rivers.
Still Life on the Kansas River is a view of downtown and north Lawrence, Kansas, from Burcham Park. Lightning bugs, butterfly and a snail share space with a universal night sky, a sunset, moonflowers and sunflowers. Human companionship and simple pleasures are saluted. But there is an edginess to the painting because it’s hard to tell exactly where the water ends and the fabric begins in the still life.