Having grown up on the muddy Mississippi, the first time I encountered a mountain stream I couldn’t believe the clarity of the water. I learned the hard way that clear doesn’t necessarily mean clean. A few years earlier on June 22, 1969, forty years ago now, an abused river became headline news. Ohio’s Cuyahoga River caught fire for the 10th time since European settlement. EPA standards are tougher now, but experience tells us that without advocates, rivers will be abused. The Kansas Riverkeeper and Friends of the Kaw are important advocates for clean, healthy rivers. They help to keep rivers in our consciousness and I am grateful.
If you are interested in purchasing Giclée (Digital) Limited Edition Prints of any of the paintings below click here. The artist will make a donation to Friends of the Kaw upon purchase so be sure to tell her that you saw this offer on our web site.
Water, sometimes as a river, may be found as a feature in my paintings. In “Passages” the viewer overlooks the Mississippi River. Just as that great river has provided a passage for travelers through the ages, it stands as a metaphor for other passages; images in the painting are my grandmother and grandchildren, representing the passing of family generations. Another detail in the painting shows a fossil being uncovered. The painting develops through time. Images are created and change during the process but the final result of this method in “Passages” shows a pleasant repast overlooking a magnificent river and its valley with human and non-human inhabitants.
Beneath the Surface
In “Beneath the Surface” the viewer must look closely to see the water reference. Near the left coffee cup, look under the crane fly and there you’ll see a largemouth bass rising to the surface. Hummingbirds, cicadas, Monarch butterflies and caterpillar join my favorites; coffee, pearls and oranges.
Still Life on the Kansas River
“Still Life on the Kansas River” is a view of downtown Lawrence, KS from the vantage point of Burcham Park. The imagery includes deep space, pearls reflected in a silver bowl, lightning bugs, butterfly and snail, coffee and cookies, moonflowers and sunflowers, the Kaw River and a canopy of clouds lit by a sunset’s glow. The painting was inspired by the opening lines of “Auguries of Innocence” by William Blake:
To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wildflower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,
“Ogallala Siren” was painted while a friend was developing a play about the Mennonite settlement of Western Kansas and the role played by the Ogallala aquifer. Land once grazed, and then dry-land farmed is now irrigated to raise water-intensive crops like corn that is fed to beef cattle or perhaps now, turned into ethanol. Meanwhile the aquifer is being seriously depleted. “Siren” is a reference to the Sirens in Homer’s Odyssey, who lured sailors to their deaths with enchanting music and voices.