April 9, 2011

Clara Brooke Marshall

  • Oil on Canvas
  • 14″ x 14″
  • In the collection of N/AM

Clara’s 9 month portrait includes symbols the natural world. She holds the earth in her hands, fingers under the clouds. A small section of prairie with butterfly milkweed sits above the earth. Monarch butterflies capture Clare’s eye as they head toward their overwintering homes in California and Mexico. The Monarch caterpillar, pupa and butterfly milkweed cover her shirt. A few blocks from my home is a beautiful, fanciful, fun butterfly garden outside the Monarch Watch building. My hope is that Clara will become very familiar with it as she grows. At least that is the intention of her two grandmothers. The moon, our closest neighbor in space, rests above the prairie.  The constellations illustrate the time of Clara’s birth.  Great Blue Herons have had a rookery on our farm for years. Clare will be able to join us to watch them circle above the sycamore trees, returning home just before sunset with a full belly. She enjoys water so much that I decided to stand the heron in water and include a water flower among her symbols, the lotus.

Sister Cities

August 19, 2009


  • Oil on Canvas
  • 24″ x 30″ approx
  • In a private collection

Lawrence, KS, my hometown, currently has two sister cities; Eutin, Germany, and Hiratsuka, Japan. “Sisters” was commissioned for a fundraiser held by the organization that supports the program. The painting is a still life of symbols of  the three cities. Behind the still life is the Kansas River’s Bowersock Dam and the grain elevator in North Lawrence. Stan Herd‘s rock mural is the table’s centerpiece . The tablecloth is the earth as seen from space. A right to left sweep of the sky shows night’s shadow following the light of day from east to west.  The moon is a uniting symbol because all of us see it no matter where we’re standing on our planet. Because the fundraising event was held at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, I chose Native American symbols to represent the US. Besides  corn on the cob and popcorn, sushi for Japan and pretzels for Germany, there is beer, which sits on coasters representing some aspect of each culture, i.e. for the USA there is the 20 friends basket weaving pattern found in the Southwest US.


Still Life on the Kansas River

  • Oil on Canvas
  • 24″ x 36″
  • $4975
  • Limited edition of 500, archival paper, 12″ x 18″ digital prints – $395,  plus shipping
  • Contact the artist.

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.