The Mississippi near Hannibal, MO

June 3, 2017

The Mississippi River near Hannibal

  • 12” x 36”
  • Oil on Ampersand Gessobord, 2” birch cradle
  • $3900
  • Giclée (Digital) Prints, Signed, on Archival Paper
    Small (6″ x 18″ w/ 1″ border) $195
    Medium (10″ x 30″ w/ 2″ border) $395
    Large (13.33″ x 40″ w/ 2″ border) $750

The river town of Hannibal, MO is my birthplace. The spirits of Samuel Clemens and Molly Brown, among others, contribute to the character of Hannibal, which sits nestled among the bluffs of the Mississippi River. It’s a place where stories pique the imagination, soothe, scare and tantalize. Perhaps a reason is the unpredictable rise and fall of the river which creates an uncertainty as to where you might be able to stand tomorrow. The hospital where I was born is now abandoned and boarded up. My old high school is an elementary school. Things change during a lifetime. But the bluffs above the town change in geologic time, letting you know how brief our lives are and at the same time allowing for a sense of timelessness.

The painting blends many images relating to the area’s past and present. Downtown Hannibal sits in a valley at sunset with the iconic lighthouse above the river. A floodgate system now saves part of the town from the ravages of spring floods. I show workmen closing the gates as the water rises. Bison are imagined as having once wandered down the maple forested bluffs in autumn with hills made golden by falling maple leaves. A blackberry thicket grows along a bay inlet where a kayaker can harvest to her heart’s content. A water snake, turtles and catfish rest nearby while the startled frog leaps. A dragonfly hovers above the mud bank and an eagle glides above. The middle panel shows Mark Twain’s statue standing in Riverview Park at sunrise. The right panel shows the channeled, but still wide river, used as a transportation artery; the paddleboat, the barge and faintly, canoes are indicated on the eastern bank. Our culture has chosen to try to control river flooding with levees, locks and dams. Native Americans used mounds as a solution for living with the breathing river. Interpretive centers for the mound cultures can be found throughout the country. Cahokia Mounds is nearby in east St. Louis. The river is an important flyway for migrating birds indicated by the ducks headed up river. A Great Blue Heron flies above fellow birds nesting in trees along the shoreline. A Native American of the Illini tribe gazes at a Monarch butterfly that has landed on his hand. A male Monarch flutters near the blooming butterfly milkweed where a chrysalis hangs. A rabbit hides under a sumac. A couple stands on Lover’s Leap which is painted with artistic license to resemble the Birger figurine, an ancient pipestone sculpture found south near the river.

9 Responses to “The Mississippi near Hannibal, MO”

  1. edna said

    Nancy, You have done it up right. Amazing Writing of History, Hannibal, Mo. I Love your Art Work. Your paintings & Description of them is awesome. Keep them coming. Love Ya’

  2. nlmstudio said

    Always counting on the family fan base to encourage me. Thanks and lots of love, Nancy

  3. Janet Ishkanian said

    Lovely piece of work and I like the story almost as much as the painting.

  4. Jodie said

    Wow Nancy! This might me my favorite painting of yours yet. The description and painting captures all of the uniqueness of Hannibal. Brings back fond memories! Thank you for your creativity and sharing it with all of us. Jodie xoxo

  5. Jay said

    Hey Sis, I love it, certainly stirred up some memories. You have made your family proud.

    Love You,

    Jay and Bonita

  6. Carol Rothwell said

    As others said, the story is as beautiful as the artwork. This should be in Hannibal in a museum or city hall. I haven’t been there since I was 15, but having just shared Tom Sawyer with my Aussie granddaughter, I’ve been thinking about another visit.

  7. Trish said

    I agree with Carol’s comment. Hopefully it will be purchased just for that purpose. This is a wonderful piece of historical work!! Our little town of Kearney is getting an Art Gallery. I met the artist who is opening it. Chris is a very nice individual. He plans to feature a new artist monthly, as well as his own works. I promised him one of your business cards. Any chance you can send one my way? Love you, Trish

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