Along the Way

April 9, 2018

Along the Way, April 8, 2018 - Copy

Along the Way

  • 30” x 30”, Oil on Ampersand Gessobord
  • $3500
  • Prints:

Small (12″ x 12″ w/ 1″ border) $195
Medium (20″ x 20″ w 1″ border) $295
Large (30″ x 30″ w/ 2″ border) $450
Extra large (40″ x 40″ w/ 2″ border) $800

Along the Way” only exists because this canvas was wounded. A commissioned portrait fell off the easel, denting a corner. The damage reminded me of old treasure maps. Following the idea, I began researching stories (our dearest treasures) from my home area around the Mississippi River and along the way, this painting developed. In the upper left of the panel the Upper Mississippi River Valley is illustrated, including Great Lakes Superior and Michigan. The stories are rooted in the highlighted area of the map. They are the myths, legends, histories, experiences, ideas that came while the painting developed.
The viewer brings another point of view to the painting.Images include:

  • A flock of migrating Mallard ducks seen from above as they fly over the
    rhythmic patterns found in farm country
  • The unpredictable wind demon, the tornado
  • Red outlined Native American burial mounds found north of Canton, MO
  • A bison overlooks a flooded plain
  • The West Quincy floodplain shows a home, silo and a Spam truck, stories
    from the flood of 1993
  • S.H. Tuley’s steam powered thresher with crew and horses at work
  • Migrating snow geese fly throughout the painting
  • Migrating Monarch butterflies are found throughout the painting
  • Potawatomie Native Americans “Trail of Death” walk from IN to KS in the fall of 1838
  • Sites of toxic industries
  • Hannibal, MO before settlement
  • Fire and prairie with Butterfly Milkweed
  • Mark Twain Lake and portions of the Salt River before it merges with the Mississippi River
  • Samuel Clemens birthplace, a state historical site near Mark Twain Lake
  • Images of slavery. The red (out)lines indicate some current policies that restrict advancement
  • The Picture Cave, on private land, the cave walls are filled with images. It was a sacred place for Native Americans who once lived here
  • The Missouri River cuts across the lower left corner of the map
  • Some crops raised in this region: apple, soybeans, corn, wheat, grapes
  • Rhythmic patterns of cultivated land
  • Trains travel along the waterways, one carrying a future energy source, fins of wind turbines
  • Checkerboard pattern indicating a large city
  • At the top center is an image of Mormons crossing the Mississippi River in the winter of 1838 and 1839 under threat of death from Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs
  • The Copper Trail follows the Mississippi River. Native Americans created beautiful objects from the material
  • Ice Age hills
  • Woolly Mammoth
  • Catfish is eagle’s dinner
  • Birch-bark canoe and me on the water
  • Old ferry boat
  • Tug pushes barges up the river
  • Lincoln-Douglas debate in Quincy, IL
  • Potawatomie blanket, a robe of fine dress, beautifully crafted
  • Soapstone pipe, Native American
  • Mama bear and cub
  • Buck
  • Trail through a sun dappled old-growth forest
  • Coyote howls at the full moon as it rises above the river
  • Native American Stone River Map
  • Rock with a pictograph of a water panther from the Native American tradition
  • Nettle plant with roots
  • Paddle-wheeler ruins buried in the soil
  • Male turkey
  • Native American Mound Village. Cahokia tells a good story about this civilization.

Wedding Couples

January 15, 2013

Brad and Lana

Brad and Lana

Joe and Kaela

Joe and Kaela

Casey and Eric

Casey and Eric

These drawings celebrate the couples on the occasion of their weddings. They represent some part of their story and are drawn with best wishes for the newly weds.

Food, Fabric and Romance

November 11, 2009

Food and Fabric
“Reflection”  Romance Series

  • Oil on Canvas
  • 48″ x 48″
  • In a private collection

Intimacy, companionship and romance are conveyed using fabric and food. This was an early painting in the romance series. Looking at this painting is like looking at a favorite quilt. All the fabrics hold memories for me. Corn and croissant were often used in my still lifes from this period. Oranges remain a favorite, as does coffee.

Sunday Morning

October 20, 2009

Sunday Morning
“Sunday Morning”

“Sunday Morning” as it should be; lazy, loads of treats and lots of possibilities.

Corn and Beans

June 9, 2009

Maize And Beans
Maize’n Beans

  • Oil on Canvas
  • 24″ x 30″
  • In the collection of D/SM

Plants put me in a state of awe and, yes, the title Maize’n Beans, is meant to say that. This year we planted the “trinity” in my son and daughter-in-law’s garden; corn, beans and squash. They are growing companionably and healthfully well together.

Hiking down Salt Creek outside of Canyonlands National Park we stood in amazement looking at squash plants growing outside of ancient dwelling, abandoned hundreds of years ago.

Corn Painting

June 9, 2009

Autumn Harvest

Autumn Harvest

  • Oil on Canvas
  • 24″ x 30″
  • In the collection of KH

Ogallala Siren

June 9, 2009

Ogallala Siren
Ogallala Siren

  • Oil on Canvas
  • 72″ x 24″ diptych
  • $7900
  • 30″ x 10″ image size digital prints – $395 plus shipping
  • Contact the artist.

My neighbor was writing a play about water in western Kansas beginning with the Mennonite settlements in the 1800. Most of the water in western Kansas is underground in the Ogallala Aquifer. The play’s first readings offered inspiration and this painting developed. One of several veins of story found in this work is the Greek myth, The Odyssey, in which Odysseus plugged his sailors’ ears with wax and had himself tied to the ship’s mast so he could hear the deadly Siren’s song.  This Ogallala Siren‘s lure is so powerful that there is nothing for it, you must have what she offers. It is your only truth. She is giving you what you need now, to hell with the price that might be paid.  In the painting, she is presenting you with an empty glass of water while holding a cheeseburger on a plate of golden corn. Water is so cheap that we use the aquifer to grow corn in country suited to prairie or dry land farming. The western Kansas farm likely raises genetically modified corn for biofuel or to feed to beef, which the cattle have difficulty digesting. The mythical siren has the moon nimbus behind her head and crop circles in the background soil. A seemingly endless supply of water flows from her robes. There is no blame placed on ancestors who took advantage of the aquifer’s resource. But now we know much more about the tenuous nature of the aquifer and the value of it. Flying over western Kansas and eastern Colorado the  ubiquitous crop circles dot the land horizon to horizon. Irrigation techniques have improved, but the Ogallala Aquifer’s limited supply of water should cause us to think critically about how the Aquifer’s water  is used. Genetically modified crops and mono-cultures are also important topics for discussion.

A Water Story: In 1985 my family attended a Wilderness Society Camp in and around Rocky Mountain National Park. I signed up for the water program, which began in the tundra and followed water down the mountain to Estes Park, CO’s water treatment plant. During the program we were asked how much water we used in a day. Only two people in the group of 20 could answer. One gentleman lived in northern California and carried in his water to a secluded forest home. The other gentleman was an eastern CO farmer who used more water in a day than the city of Estes Park used in a year.

Writer, Julene Bair, has a new book out about the Ogallala Aquifer titled “The Ogallala Road”. Viking Penguin Press is the publisher.

Corn Rhythms

June 4, 2009

Corn Rhythms

  • Oil on Canvas
  • 12 paintings each 12′ x 9″
  • In multiple collections

Corn Rhythms is one of a number of corn paintings I’ve produced. The plant fascinates me.

Random thoughts about corn:
A vivid memory as a kid is riding past a cornfield, watching the animated legs created by speeding past corn rows.

Corn is the crop my father coated with atrazine when he started a crop spraying business in 1967. A practice that took his life in 1969.

If you’re interested in learning the place of corn in our modern food system, read Michael Pollan‘s Omnivore’s Dilemma. Besides the patenting of life issue, Pollan explores corn from it’s humble beginnings as a grass to it’s dominance in food supplies.

Summer meals of corn on the cob and tomatoes are an ecstatic experience.

My husband makes popcorn often. Years ago I had my grandfather’s popcorn seed. It was a small, multi-colored variety. I have a few ears. I bet it will still grow.

GMO/Pharmacrops are grown in KS. Shock and horror was expressed by a professor at our land grant university when corn was pharmacropped. There’s no controlling corn pollen. Now GMO rice for diarrhea is grown here. Missouri wouldn’t allow it. As my grandson says, “What could they be thinking?”

As I hike USA’s western wilderness areas, I explore ruins of ancient ancestors. Occasionally I see corncobs and mano and matates; the limestone grinder and grinding stone for corn. The limestone in the corn caused the teeth to wear. A story is told of finding a mummy with a whole bird in the stomach. The person finding it too painful to chew, swallowed the bird whole.

Almost 40 years ago I detasseled corn in the fields along I-70 just east of town. Every year since, only corn has been grown in those fields. What’s wrong with that picture? Again, I recommend Pollan’s book.

A few years ago as a citizen scientist for a state university I was given a test kit to check the ph, turbidity, atrazine levels, among other tests, in water of one of the main feeder creeks for our town water reservoir. The atrazine registered at the toxic level in May and June. Whether the data we collected has had any impact on requiring riparian strips between cropland and waterways or chemical usage policy, I have not heard.