An Untimely Death

Portraits, scratchboard
Daniel Kent Lehenbauer 1959 – 2021

There were several events of note happening on January 20, 2021. One bringing hope, the other, was pure tragedy. Joe Biden was inaugurated as President of the United States and my brother, Kent, died of COVID-19 pneumonia. I do blame the administration of Donald Trump for treating COVID-19 as a public relations problem, and not the pandemic it is. Policy leaders in 2020 caused too many folks to dismiss the necessity of taking COVID-19 seriously. I heard several people say, “If I get the virus, I don’t think I’ll get very sick.” Even if that was true, s/he was not giving a thought to a more vulnerable person to whom they could carry the virus. Kent must have received a heavy dose of the virus during an event. Having difficulty breathing, he entered the hospital’s ER and had a bed in a hallway for several days before being transferred to the ICU where he spent the final days of his life intubated, fearful and alone. It was not a good way to die.

His dedicated caregivers were overworked and probably exhausted; constantly in danger of catching and spreading the virus themselves due to lack of safety supplies. The CDC as of today, April 20, 2021, reports 545,750 plus Kent’s death, on death certificates listing COVID-19 as the cause or a contributing factor. The vaccine, once herd immunity is reached, will allow us to return to public places. Does the safety of the community play into a person’s refusal to be vaccinated? The last administration did a great deal of harm to reputable organizations that we rely upon during a health crisis. Would folks refusing to be vaccinated also have refused the polio vaccine? How does it benefit media outlets to put out false reports on the pandemic? There are a lot of unanswered questions belonging to this tragedy.

This wonderful man, Kent, loved by many, is gone in circumstances that could have been avoided. He was one of those guys who paid attention, made you laugh and created fun. He went to the trouble of hiding lots of stuff (including his bowling ball w/ initials) in his friend’s mulch pile; covering his brother-in-law’s name on the coffee mug with masking tape after being chided for drinking from another’s mug; acting as my re-po man when 2 paintings stolen from an Aspen gallery were located in Santa Fe. The stories are many, as were his interests. A regret is that I didn’t do a portrait of Kent during his life. Here I attempt to show not only his handsome face, but his love of life; the open road, biking, water, airplanes, the Sandia Mountains (where his ashes will be scattered) to name a few. The pandemic has provided many lessons, primarily, take nothing for granted. Please get vaccinated. Don’t spread the virus. Perhaps Kent’s untimely death will save others from the same kind of death.

The Flint Hills Maps Project, High School, Middle School and Elementary

Ampersand, Animals, Art and Science, Birds in Paintings, Flowers, Flowers in Paintings, Illustration, Insects in Paintings, Land Use, Links, Paintings, Paintings & Verse, Story or Poem

Living on the edge of the prairie offers an escape to a place of wonder. Wendell Berry, author and bioregionalist, says, “If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are.”

The largest remaining stand of tallgrass prairie is found in the Flint Hills of Kansas and Oklahoma. The Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation has created the Maps in the Schools project. The maps will hang in the schools of the Flint Hills showing their particular location and, depending on the grade level, speak to some special aspect of the place, the life, the history and/or the science.

The Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation has honored Emily Connell, Project Director, and Annie Wilson, Project Coordinator and High School Program Educator, by naming them 2020 Friends of the Flint Hills. Since in-person gatherings are limited due to the pandemic, a film was produced by Dave Kendall and Laura Mead. Others (and definitely not all) folks working on the project Pam Collinge – Middle School Educator; Molly Wold – Elementary Educator; John Dunham – Mapmaker; Laura Zimney – Graphic Designer. If you are interested in knowing more about the project, contact the Flint Hills Discovery Center Map and Education Program.

High School Flint Hills Illustration

The Flint Hills Maps in the Schools, High School Illustration

  • Original Artwork – Oil on Ampersand
  • 31” x 17.25” illustration
  • Copyright by The Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation
    and Nancy Lehenbauer Marshall

Flint Hills Maps in the Schools, High School

The Flint Hills Maps in the Schools, High School Map

  • Print on Paper
  • 31” x 17.25” illustration size on a 48” x 48” map
  • Copyright by The Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation

Flint Hills Maps in the Schools Project, Middle School

The Flint Hills Maps in the Schools Project Middle School Illustration

    •  Original Artwork – Oil on Ampersand
    • 31” x 17.25” illustration
    • Copyright by The Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation
      and Nancy Lehenbauer Marshall

There are over 50 things to identify in this Middle School illustration. An ID chart will be available in the educational materials that accompany the maps.

Flint Hills Maps in the Schools, Middle School Illsutration

The Flint Hills Maps in the Schools, Middle School

  • Print on Paper
  • 31” x 17.25” illustration size on a 48” x 48” map
  • Copyright by The Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation

Flint Hills Maps in the Schools Project, Elementary Illustration

The Flint Hills Maps in the Schools Project, Elementary Illustration

  •  Original Artwork – Oil on Ampersand
  • 31” x 17.25” illustration
  • Copyright by The Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation
    and Nancy Lehenbauer Marshall

Flint Hills Maps in the Schools, Elementary

The Flint Hills Maps in the Schools, Elementary

  • Print on Paper
  • 31” x 17.25” illustration size on a 48” x 48” map
  • Copyright by The Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation

If you would like to support this project, please contact The Flint Hills Discovery Center Foundation.

Illustrations for a story

Children, Drawing, Drawing Portrait, Flowers in Paintings, Gardens, Illustration, Insects in Paintings, Miscellaneous, Mixed Media, Na's class presentation, Pen and Ind, Portraits, Watercolor

Last year presented numerous opportunities for illustration. These are some of the drawings done for a writer of a children’s story about flowers and butterflies. Part of the story’s message is that all of us should take the time to appreciate the abundance and variety of exquisite life that surrounds us.

Girlfriends dancing to airport crp (438x380)

Girlfriends dancing to the airport


Watching a miracle


The Costume Tea Party with Butterflies

A Family Adventure Story, Part I

Birds in Paintings, Drawing with Kids, Illustration, Mixed Media, Na's class presentation, Rivers in Paintings, Story or Poem, Watercolor

Bikes to Canoes, Page

Clink on this link Family Marshall Trip Part 1 to follow the Marshall family through the woods and down the rivers, around the Gulf and the Florida panhandle on a travel adventure. The final panel shows a NASA shuttle blasting off. Guess who is on that ship? Follow their adventures in Part II

  • Watercolor and Ink on Moleskin Watercolor Paper
  • 3.5″ x 10″
  • In a private collection

Hansel and Gretel Dollhouse

Birds in Paintings, Dollhouse, Illustration, Insects in Paintings, Mixed Media, Na's class presentation, Paintings, Woodworking

Hansel & Gretel Dollhouse

Hansel & Gretel interior

Hansel & Gretel Dollhouse, front and rt. side

Hansel & Gretel Dollhouse, side and rear view

Asked to paint a dollhouse for the Douglas County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), I was joined and benefited from the skilled help of family, John and Mindy Huston. My son suggested the theme, and two of my grandchildren modeled. The front facade of the witch lair finds Hansel reaching for a cookie shingle while the witch peeks out the cottage door. Gretel has pulled a gumdrop from the wall to eat. The back side of the house is dark and stormy. The interior has bats, spiders, black cats, a jar of eyeballs and all things creepy. Hansel has been fattened in his cage and Gretel acts to save their lives.

CASA, which benefits abused and neglected children, raises fund by selling chances to win a large dollhouse. To support their efforts, please go to the CASA website. or visit the CASA office, 1009 N.H., Suite B.

The Hansel & Gretel dollhouse, along with other donated dollhouses, was sold in a silent auction at an annual CASA Playhouse Celebration at the Lawrence Arts Center.

The Land Institute’s 50 Yr. Farm Bill Proposal

Land Use, Links, Miscellaneous, Paintings

Cornfield in Winter 002

Cornfield in Winter

Moonrise Hill

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.”

How Deer Antlers Found Their Way To My Wall

Birds in Paintings, Miscellaneous, Paintings

Mike Brewer with Deer Rack and Bluebirds

Mike Brewer with "Deer Rack and Bluebirds"

  • Acrylic on Canvas
  • 20″ x 14″ approx
  • In the collection of MB

Mike and my husband, Rob, spend a lot of time on the farm cutting, seeding and mowing trails and building treehouses among other things. Last winter they came upon a deer carcass and Mike really wanted the rack. So the next time they were out, they cut the rack from the deer skull which was no easy task. A few weeks later, generous soul that he is, Mike showed up with the mounted rack as a gift. This is a painting of the mounted rack along with a flock of bluebirds who also like to  gather on the farm. The strip frame was made in woodworking from Tresa’s mahogany and the turkey feathers hanging from the bottom can regularly be found along the trails or on the prairie.

Visiting the Moon

Links, Miscellaneous, Paintings

July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon. If you wish to re-visit that era of our history, I recommend Ron Howard’s documentary “In the Shadow of the Moon”.

A few years later I lay in a field under the night sky with friends. Our cameras mounted on tripods, we were shooting a time-lapse photo of stars circling Polaris and a total lunar eclipse.  In total eclipse the moon appeared a sienna red color and it looked like what it is, a giant three dimensional rock floating in space. Seeing that rock hang in the night sky and the then recently published images of the earth from the moon, played a part in expanded awareness for many, not just me. The moon continues to be a feature in my paintings. Here is a sampling.


Chickadees and CoffeeChickadees and Coffee

Passages 010Passages

StillLifeOnKansasRiversmallStill Life on the Kansas River

Ogallala SirenOgallala Siren