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.

Miles, 1 year

March 1, 2016

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Miles, one year

  • Oil on Ampersand Gessobord
  • 16″ x 12″
  • In a private collection

At one year, Miles’ smile is shy, sly, bashful, endearing, precious and encouraging. He juggles the earth, moon and sun, surrounded by our planet and deep space. A small figure of Miles floats in space tethered to his rocket ship near an asteroid mining operation. Mars, Saturn, Jupiter and multiple asteroids can be found. Animals in the painting are moose, bison, fox, deer, rabbit and bottle-nose dolphins. Besides space there are a northern landscape, wetlands, prairie, ocean with schools of fish and an underground den. Prairie flowers include butterfly milkweed, blazing star and echinacea.The birds are the sandhill crane and red-headed woodpecker. Trees are birch and black cherry. Bugs are the earthworm and the pollinating bee.
Two of my many wishes for Miles is that he enjoys learning and sharing that joy.
The varied perspectives of this portrait were inspired by MC Escher’s “Other World”.

Our dog Sal

January 5, 2013

Sal at the dog park

Sal at the dog park

  • Mixed Media on Canson Watercolor Art Board
  • 16″ x 20″
  • In a private collection

This is mixed media portrait of a favorite pet in one of his favorite places. He sits in a winter landscape at sunrise with a flock of geese flying overhead, headed for for the lake.

Olivia, one year

December 29, 2012

Image

Olivia, one year

  • Oil on Ampersand Gessobord (masonite)
  • 16″ x 12″
  • In a private collection

When I paint a portrait of a child, I not only present their likeness, but offer a window to the world of which they are a part. My work is about symbols and I’m a believer in their power. If the symbols in the painting help to give rise to Liv’s curiosity in life, I’m a happy artist.

Clara

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.

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.

Flint Hills Revery

June 14, 2009

Approaching Storm
Revery in the Hills

  • Oil on Canvas
  • 22″ x 22″
  • In the collection of B/S N

Last night the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra (Symphony in the Flint Hills) played on the Upper Turkey Springs pasture between Florence and Cedar Point, KS. Thousands of us sat among prairie grasses and flowers listening to compositions that complemented the land and sky. The work of composers such as Copeland (the Red Pony), Dvorak (In Nature’s Realm), Bernstein (Theme from the Magnificent Seven), Barry (Dances with Wolves Suite) created a wonder filled evening.

Revery in the Hills is a prairie painting that combines plein air with studio work. The images are meant to evoke sensual romance with the sunlit picnic. This pleasant repast is obviously disturbed but there is also the exhilarating energy that comes with an approaching storm.

To make a prairie it takes a clover
and one bee…
One clover and a bee,
and revery.
The revery alone will do
if bees are few.
Emily Dickinson

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.

Chickadees and Coffee

Chickadees and Coffee

  • Oil on Canvas
  • In the collection of D/SM

Whether I paint them or not I enjoy collecting bird stories. “Do you have a bird story?” is a question I might pose to a complete stranger. The following was told to me by a guy behind me in the check-out lane at the grocery. While in Alaska, he’d watch the ravens in winter take turns covering the solar cells of the village lights with their wings, which kept the lights on, providing a warm perch.

There is an other worldly feel to Chickadees and Coffee. A landscape and still life combination which is surreal, yet I don’t think uncomfortable.  A dreamscape combining two curious chickadees, a dramatic  sweep of clouds, an eclipsed moon that lets you know it’s a chunk of rock floating in space, and windblown prairie with fresh oranges, coffee and eclairs. The viewer has lots of elements to draw on for a story.