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Mapping my home territory

  • 12” x 24”
  • Acrylic on Ampersand Gessobord, .5” birch cradle
  • $899

Here is a map of the territory I cross often, cruising from Kansas to northeast Missouri and Illinois. Theoretically, I could drop a boat in the Kansas River near me and float across Missouri then up the Mississippi River to my hometown area. Having walked and biked a bit along the Kansas and Missouri Rivers, the option of floating is appealing. But going against the current on the Mississippi River, watching for river traffic and running headlong into floating debris, is a different story. That’s where guides are nice. The Kansas River fortunately has an official Riverkeeper, who protects and teaches about the river. And you can also kayak with them. The organization is called Friends of the Kaw.

A list of places marked on this map painting are:
In Kansas: Lake Perry, Clinton Lake, Lawrence, Oregon Trail, Santa Fe Trail, Kansas City, Kansas River, Leavenworth, Lansing and Atchison.

In Missouri: Canton, LaGrange, Palmyra, West Ely, Hassard, Monroe City, Indian Creek (Swinkey), Moberly, Kansas City, Ft. Osage, Arrow Rock, Boonville, Columbia, Jefferson City, Hermann, Weldon Springs, St. Louis, Clarksville, Louisiana, Hannibal

In Illinois: Quincy. Alton

In Iowa: Keokuk

Mapping the Mississippi

January 17, 2018

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The Mississippi River and floodplain from Saint  Louis north to Iowa

  • 12” x 36”as a triptych or (3) 12” x 12” individual paintings
  • Acrylic on Ampersand Gessobord, .5” birch cradle
  • $450 for an individual painting, $1200 for the triptych

Maps offer an approach for learning about a place. With an exhibit scheduled in Hannibal, Missouri, next summer, I’m studying this mid-western region. This set of three paintings connect the Mississippi River and its floodplain from southeastern Iowa to the confluence of the Missouri River just north of St. Louis. Some area towns are noted.

A Water Map

January 17, 2018

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Confluences of the Mississippi, Illinois and Missouri Rivers

  • 15.5” x 11.5”
  • Watercolor
  • $350 – unframed, $450 – framed

Midwest rivers carry valuable silt to the Gulf of Mexico making them thick and brown. Jokingly, we say “almost thick enough to plow”. Therefore it is with artistic license that I have painted the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois Rivers as crystal clear streams in this water map.

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Turkey Vulture

16.5” x 34.5” in the frame
Watercolor and ink on Watercolor paper
$950 framed

That naked red head, which resembles a turkey’s, allows this bird to eat carrion and not have any of the meal adhere to it. Their Latin (scientific) name is Cathartes aura meaning “cleansing breeze”. Large, but lightweight, these birds are able to fly high (airline captains report seeing them at 20,000 feet), soaring for hours without flapping their wings. The sight of this bird brings death to mind, and allows an appreciation for being alive.

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The Raven from Leadville, CO

  • 14” x 34” diptych, unframed
  • Charcoal on paper
  • $800, unframed

Ravens, scientific name Corvus corax, “raven croaker”, live 15-20 years in the wild, 20 – 40 years in captivity. Somewhere in my posts, I’ve written this story, but as Grandpa would say when reminded that he’d told that story, “I like telling it.”

Years ago I started asking random strangers if they had a bird story. The grocery checkout clerk said “No” but a young man behind me in line said “I have one”. He had recently returned from living in a small Alaskan village where he had observed ravens huddled for warmth around the village street light during the day. A solar eye only allowed the light to come on at night. But the ravens, understanding this, took turns covering the solar eye with a wing. He said a “raven shift” would last a few minutes, then another raven would take his/her place keeping the warming light on for others.

Naturally I wanted to draw a raven, but I had no access to specimens. The University of Kansas Natural History Museum contact could not have been nicer when I asked if I could draw a raven from their collection. I expected a posed, life-like bird, but instead I was led down a narrow corridor with floor to ceiling flat storage drawers filled with tagged raven specimens. I chose this one from Leadville, CO.

The Mississippi River near Hannibal

  • 12” x 36”
  • Oil on Ampersand Gessobord, 2” birch cradle
  • $3900
  • Giclée Prints, 10″ x 30″ –  $395++ or custom size can be ordered.

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.

Seeking inspiration

January 14, 2017

Seeking inspiration for a drawing

    Seeking inspiration for a drawing
  • 11″ x 8.5″ approx
  • Pencil and Colored Pencil
  • Was auctioned in Baldwin City, KS Lumberyard Art Center

Art auctions are hard on galleries and artists’ incomes. When you can buy a work of art at below market value, folks often wait for the next auction. But exceptions are made, and here’s one. This drawing was available for purchase at the Lumberyard Art Center’s 2017 Chocolate Auction in Baldwin City, KS.
Pictured is the artist’s hand working on sketch ideas for the Lumberyard Auction as the inspiring chocolate donut and coffee sit nearby. The coffee mug features a mug of abolitionist John Brown (the pre-Civil War Battle of Black Jack was waged nearby) as the yellow brick road rolls off over the hills.

Whispers

July 13, 2016

Whispers_med

  • Watercolor plus mixed media
  • 14” x 34”
  • $1250
  • Giclée Print, 10.5” x 25.5” $395

Whispers is a painting of Eighth Street storefronts in Baldwin City, Kansas. Maple leaves float through the air, freshened after a passing storm. The contemporary street scene shows folks going about their business, enjoying life. Then there are images of the past. Vaguely visible are fossils, Native Americans, activity on the Santa Fe Trail, John Brown as depicted by J.S. Curry, Black Jack Battlefield in 1856, women’s bridge, historic Baker University building, Bibles, bison, log cabin, quilters and the open prairie.

Reflecting balls

April 7, 2016

  • Hand w ballsColored pencil, pencil on bristol board
  • 11″ x 14″
  • $495

My portrait is in this drawing 3x, once with sunglasses, one with glasses and one so small it would be hard to tell. My 4 year old granddaughter found all 3 images in a snap. In my paintings “Vessel with Oriole” and “Champs” you will also find portraits on a reflective surface.

Ant Pot Drawing

June 25, 2014

Image

  • Pencil on bristol board
  • 12″ x 10″ approx
  • $450

An M.C. Escher inspired drawing of a Mata Ortiz ant pot by Mexican artist, Yoly Ledezma. The artist created a surreal image playing with size, perspective and value.