Breakfast on the misty river

    • Oil on Canvas
    • 36″ x 48″
    • $6900
    • Giclée (Digital) Prints, Signed on Archival Paper
      Small (12″ x 16″ w/ 1″ border)  $295
      Medium (24″ x 32″w/ 2″ border)  $495
      Large (30″ x 40″ w/ 2″ border)  $750


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.

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

Scarlet Tanagers, Walnuts and Pears

20″ x 16″
Oil on Linen
Contact the artist.

A tug pushes a barge on the river with sunlit clouds reflected in the water. Two young girls wave to the bargeman. The male Scarlet Tanager balances precariously on a pear, piercing it flesh. The female stands on the silver bowl camouflaged against the sky. A gentle breeze lifts the tablecloth’s skirt except where it’s held by the cook’s towel. Other bird paintings I’ve done that are similar to this, i.e. Chickadees and Coffee, Nuthatches and Walnuts, Beneath the Surface,  tend to have an ‘other world’ feel because there is no human presence, only an indication of it. Add two waving young girls and the place in the painting becomes more comfortable.

Nuthatches and Walnuts

January 25, 2010

Nuthatches and Walnuts

  • Oil on Masonite
  • 36″ x 12″
  • In a private collection

The painting began as an exercise in trompe l’oeil, deceiving the eye. An early American painter, Raphaelle Peale, came from a family of gifted realistic painters. I’ve always enjoyed one of his paintings,  “Venus Rising from the Sea, a Deception” at the Nelson Museum of Art in Kansas City. Peale’s painting draws on an ancient Roman story of two Greek painters in competition to see who was the better. Zeuxis painted grapes that attracted birds to his canvas. He turned to Parrhasios and asked him to remove the cloth from his painting. The painting of the drapery was so realistic, it had fooled Zeuxis.

The nuthatches are playful. The top one has knocked a walnut off the table and leans over to watch, hanging onto one of the pears. The low light casts long shadows and illuminates the clouds.

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


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.