Iris in a Glass
- Oil on Canvas
- 12″ x 9″
- In a private collection
Hearty marigolds, mums and nasturtiums are the only flowers now surviving autumn’s chilly nights. Objects of summer outdoor living are disappearing into storage or are being covered for protection against the ravages of the coming season. Inside, soup simmers on the stove and the furnace hums. Where did the summer go? In looking through my portfolio, this piece carries me back to the beginning of summer. A single object painting is like fishing; a meditation of observation in which there is no time, just the pleasure of being.
“Sunday Morning” as it should be; lazy, loads of treats and lots of possibilities.
“Thinking of Rita”
- Colored pencil on illustration board
My CA sister-in-law, Rita, died in August of 2008. A few months before I’d sent her this drawing, which she called to tell me she loved. She liked the wind blowing through her hair, beautiful hair that chemo had made disappear. She was a California blonde beauty who loved water and swimming with ocean animals. A lover of life, I depicted her as Botticelli had his Venus, while daylight moves into night, and the stars are echoed in her dress. (sigh)………she is missed.
- Oil on Canvas
- 12″ x 16″
- In private collection
Inspired by another lonely and desolate blues song by Patsy Cline, titled something similar to this. The phone dates the piece. A phone my grandchildren would not recognize as one.
This is a poem I wrote to accompany the painting.
You could get along nicely without me, you’d said.
Let’s forget this day ever happened, I replied.
You’d left for one of those long walks
you take when you want nothing close.
I sit in this hazy low lit room
down to my last cigarette,
Cornfield in Winter
Moonrise Hill in the Flint Hills
In a recent mailing from the Land Institute, there is introductory material for a 50 Year Farm Bill that has been submitted to our Sec. of Agriculture in Washington, DC. After reading the proposal, I recalled “Cornfield in Winter”, which was painted decades ago. The heavy harvesting equipment had cut deep ruts in the foreground. No ground cover has been planted to protect the soil from erosion. I consider this a tragic scene. Various folks made some money and little thought was given to preserving the soil, fossil fuel use and the cost associated, toxins in soil and water, etc. in this technology led model of farming. In my “Corn Rhythms” post I tell of working on a corn detasseling crew along I-70 in the early 1970. I have, to date, never seen any other crop but corn grown on that land. That’s 37 years! When a friend was writing a play on water and the settlement and history of Kansas (which inspired my painting “Ogallala Siren”), he asked an area seed corn farmer if he could shoot some irrigation footage to use in his set design. The farmer refused, showing, perhaps, that he gives some thought to his farming practices. He’s just “getting his”, before preservation practices change. Current practices should support crop diversity, healthy soils, appropriate crops for the area and strict water conservation.
Contrast “Cornfield in Winter” with a Flint Hills prairie painting. This land was saved from the plow due to its shallow soil and for that reason remains one of the last remnants of tallgrass prairie in the world. The prairie is providing the laboratory for the Land Institute’s research. Their purpose ” is to develop an agricultural system with the ecological stability of the prairie and a grain yield comparable to that from annual crops.”
The 50 Year Farm Bill is a proposal for a gradual, systematic change in the way we grow our food using 5 year farm bills as mileposts. Check out the Land Institute’s proposal, contact the powers that be and help turn agribusiness back into agriculture. The Land Institute’s director, Wes Jackson, states, “The social stability and ecological sustainability resulting from secure food supplies will buy time as we are forced to confront the intersecting issues of climate, population, water and biodiversity.”