The Mississippi River near Hannibal

  • 12” x 36”
  • Oil on Ampersand Gessobord, 2” birch cradle
  • $3900
  • Pre-publication Rate for Giclée Print on archival paper, 10″ x 30″ image size – $199, plus tax and shipping. Publication Date – September 30, 2017
  • Giclée Prints will be $395++ after September 30, 2017

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.

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.

Grands 2016

July 13, 2016

Grands, colored pencilGrandchildren – 2016

  • Colored Pencil on Illustration Board
  • 16″ x 20″
  • NFS

A snapshot in time using a Josef Albers color exercise. Albers’ teaches us to step out of the comfortable and allow for insight. This piece plays with gravity, space and perception.

Image

  • Oil on Canvas
  • 9″ x 7″
  • $595

In listening to Dennis Dutton’s Ted Talk on Beauty, I found that he describes my landscapes very accurately, except for the food part. According to Prof. Dutton we are all, no matter our current location in this world, attracted to the Pleistocene savannah on which our ancestors evolved. His description of an appealing landscape includes open grassland, stands of trees (apparently we also prefer them with forked trunks low to the ground), a body of water and a path, road or shoreline leading to the horizon.

Valentine’s Day is soon upon us. It’s a time to salute love, beauty and a sense of adventure. This little painting gives a nod to those and in one of my favorite parts of the world. Mark Twain placed Tom, Huck and Joe on Jackson Island for one of their adventures. The viewer sits above the Mississippi River at sunset celebrating the moment.

Breakfast on the misty river

  • Oil on Canvas
  • 36″ x 48″
  • $6900
  • Giclée Prints
    12″ x 16″ image size – $395
    24” x 32” image size – $495

As the river meanders towards the horizon the warm light of the sunrise colors the mist. Clouds echo the river’s trail, partially covering a low lit moon. Bountiful food, savory and sweet, and coffee make for a morning
feast. Soft breezes blow, lifting the table’s skirt revealing butterfly milkweed, a prairie plant.

It is said to never under-estimate the importance of encountering wild things during moments of solitude. The artist forsakes solitude for companionship and offers up lots of wild things:
A butterfly glides toward the table, one clings to the billowing cloth while another sits astride a macaroon.
Caterpillars crawl on cloth and a milkweed plant, where a chrysalis hangs.
A buck and doe stand alert.
Great Blue Herons fly through vaporous ribbons of mist.
Ducks are startled and erupt in flight from the river’s edge.
Turkeys swim and scurry up the bank.
An eagle soars.
A ladybug sits.
A crystal rests on the table.
Hummingbirds flutter and feed around the zinnia and turkey feather bouquet.
Planets, the Milky Way, comets, galaxies and the morning star hint at the bigger, cosmic picture.

Sisters skipping rocks

  • Oil on Linen
  • 16″ x 20″
  • In a private collection
  • 16″ x 20″ signed  Giclée (Digital) Prints Available, $395

This note has been attached to the back of the painting, “Skipping Stones in the River”.
Painted in 2011 by Nancy Lehenbauer Marshall. Nancy is the first cousin,
twice removed of the sisters in the painting. The sisters spent much of
their childhoods near the Eno River, which was about a mile from their home.
This spot is near the remains of the pump station.
The pump station provided water for Durham, North Carolina from 1887 to 1927.

On Target

  • Oil on Ampersand 2″ Cradle Board
  • 48″ x 24″, diptych
  • In a private collection
  • 24″ x 12″ (image size) digital prints available for purchase – $395

Whenever I drive through Hannibal, Missouri, I like to take the time to savor some part of the place. If I’m lucky, it is time with a friend, but there are many pleasures including spectacular views of the Mississippi River and it’s eastern valley. On one occasion I was at the lighthouse when I noticed a sign inviting me into a neighboring artist’s studio. The woman was a weaver and with every shuttle thrust to weave the weft, she spoke the intention that the patron had requested. Many created works are full of intention. “On Target” was created as a representation of gratitude for life’s blessings and a visual representation of future goals. There’s power in visualizing our intentions and I appreciate the opportunity to create paintings around them.

The Gargoyle’s Visit

March 22, 2010

The Gargoyle's Visit

“The Gargoyle’s Visit” was created with master printer, Mike Sims at the Lawrence Lithography Workshop when it was based in El Paso, TX. This lithograph is an attempt to create an atmospheric, yet naive or childlike drawing to accompany a child’s fairy tale. The lithographs are hand-colored and each is different. In this particular print, the gargoyle is still changing from flesh and blood to stone.

When a print is ordered, you receive a hand colored print, a copy of the fairy tale and a block printed cover sheet with a gargoyle image.

The Tale:

The Gargoyle’s Visit

You should know that in this enchanted country, once every century the gargoyles that sit in the tall castle towers come to life and wander the land. Despite their fierce appearance, the gargoyles aren’t evil. They are the protectors of their villages as well as keen observers. During their centenary nightwalk the gargoyles can decide to re-enter society by choosing someone to take over their watchful guard, someone who would benefit from 100 years of watchful silence.

Garrison Read (G.Read) waits for his next meal while sitting at his dining room table. Outside storm clouds engulf the setting sun, their dark shadows slinking across the fields and forests of the broad valley. Nestled against the darkening forest, a cluster of cottages and shops are dwarfed by an old castle with it decaying tower. Poised on the highest precipice of that weathered tower is a small gargoyle, the village guardian. G.Read resides within that old fortress. At one time he was a generous and happy man, but he, along with the other villagers, had grown fearful and isolated. Decades before a violent incident had embedded fear and suspicion in them, causing their hearts to close along with their doors. Visits between neighbors are short and to the point. The only person G.Read sees with regularity is his housekeeper and cook, Anna Sistant. She arrives after sunrise and leaves before sunset. After dark, there is an uneasiness in the village although the reasons are unexplained. The isolation has caused the old stories of magic and miracles to become faint dreams, so G.Read has little premonition that on this night his life will change forever.

The storm continues to rage through the deserted streets as G.Read sits alone in the castle dining room, having finished another huge meal. There is a knock at the door. Opening it, a wet and dirty dwarf-like man stands and asks for food, “Perhaps just a bit from your table.” The fearful and indignant G.Read shouts, “Away with your!”, slamming the door in the man’s face. Shortly thereafter the storm abates and the castle is enveloped in thick swirls of fog carried on a cold wind. Full to bursting from his meal, G.Read sits the slice of pear on the table and rests his head in his hands as a cold chill runs through his body.

At sunrise, Anna enters G.Read’s castle, but he is nowhere to be found. Her search reveals everything in order: the table set as she had left it the night before, except now sitting upon the checkered tablecloth among the wine, walnuts, pears and cheese, is a curiously familiar gargoyle.

Later that morning Frederick Read (F.Read), a brother of G.Read’s, arrives. A friendly fellow, F.Read asks Anna to plan a banquet for the whole village. Meanwhile, he begins repairing the old stone castle, first by setting the new gargoyle in the sentry position in the tower.

by NLMarshall

The Davis’ Grandchildren

January 4, 2010

The Davis’ Grandchildren

  • Watercolor and Gouache on Aquabord
  • 20″ x 36″ diptych
  • Limited Edition Giclée Print on archival paper, 10″ x 18″ image size – $495, plus shipping
  • Contact the artist.
  • In the Davis Collection

This commissioned portrait of the grandchildren shows the Davis home and playground. Aquabord is meant for watercolors but it doesn’t act like watercolor paper. Gouache was used on the chairs therefore the color is more saturated. The painting was sprayed with a fixative followed by a polymer varnish.

Remembering Family

June 19, 2009

MikeWell
Remembering Family

  • Oil on Canvas
  • 24″ x 36″
  • In the collection of M/CW
  • Digital Prints available, 12″ x 18″ image size, $395, Contact the artist.

Remembering Family was commissioned as a gift. The client liked the Winds of Time with pictures floating through the painting. The memories include two old friends (Dad and Uncle) remembered. When they were together, they enjoyed Chianti wine with cheese and apples. There are parents, young and old, a young child, a championship dog, a westie, echinacea, the city park that the family had established and the family farm.