Still Life on the Kansas River

stilllifeonkansasriversmall1

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 was rising. Our son was 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; watched as a tug towing barges lost control rounding a river bend north of Hannibal, MO. The boat hit the railroad bridge and broke apart. A man stranded on one of the barge cars swept by yelling “Get me a boat!” (Tugs from further south tied up their loads and collected him along with the rest of the barges.)  Every ten years or so the mighty Mississippi 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 loved the beauty of the rivers, but appreciated their power. There are plenty of pictures around of the Kansas River flood in the 1950s. It is wise to honor the power and unpredictability of water. Later, when I asked our son how his day went, he replied, “Well, I almost died today.”

Still Life on the Kansas River is a view of downtown and north Lawrence, Kansas, from Burcham Park, the location of Kansas University’s boathouse. 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 uneasiness to the painting because it’s hard to tell exactly where the water ends and the fabric begins in the still life.

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