Saturday, March 17, 2007

Oil on Canvas
14 x 24

One last view of the wetlands and we'll move on to something else.

Friday, March 16, 2007

More wetlands

Oil on Canvas
24 x 24

More wetlands on a rainy day, actually the same day as the last post just a bit down the road. Many of the farmers around here will flood their bottom land in the fall after harvest to create wetlands for the migrating birds. Before the levies were built the land probably would have flooded anyway, now they are realizing that is not such a bad thing. They drain them again before spring planting, but all winter, late fall and early spring the land reverts to the natural wetlands. Here the river is just to the left and the flooded fields are to the right. Keep your head down during hunting season, there's duck blinds over there.

Wetland Series continued

Oil on Canvas
8.5 x 16.5

When I think of the wetlands this is usually how I picture them in my mind. The sun shines there too, but the foggy, wet days seem to fit them better to me. Maybe it has something to do with duck season, or maybe those are just the kind of days that call me there. The last picture was more of a manufactured wetland, created from a depression and flooded well away from any natural river flooding. It captures the basic spirit, but it's just not quite right. It feels too isolated. This is the real deal. The Illinois River is just a stone's throw away.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Wetland Series

Oil on Canvas
18 x 31

I mentioned the farmland last time, we also have a lot of rivers. There are the big rivers like the Mississippi and the Missouri, and smaller rivers like the Meramac, Big River, St. Francis and about a dozen others. Along with the rivers come wetlands. Normally you might think of the wetlands as a place only for the migrating ducks and geese, and the wetlands do fill up with birds during migration. Duck hunting is very big around here as you might have guessed. But the wetlands have other purposes too, not the least of which is to provide a buffer during floods.

When the ducks have passed through and the duck blinds are empty the wetlands can be a pretty cool place to wander around in. The ducks and geese give way to the wading birds like herons and egrets. Some of the places where the water is stiller will have water lilies growing in them like this one at the Shaw Nature Reserve.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Flowing Fields

Oil on canvas
13 x 30

There's a lot of farm land around here. At first glance it may appear to be rather boring, relatively flat fields with little else. If you look a bit more closely though, it can be quite beautiful.

This particular scene is just outside of Femme Osage, a very small town with a church, antique store and a couple houses. It sounds like a French name to me but the area was inhabited by German immigrants because it reminded them of the Rhineland. It's also the heart of Missouri wine country. No grape vines on these hills, but there is a quiet beauty here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Story Teller

8 x 8

A post or so ago I mentioned that ink, silverpoint and pencil were my favorite drawing media, so it occurred to me that maybe I should post a pencil drawing. So here's a pencil drawing.

This guy has a great face. It just cried out for a character study to be done. I took a few pictures of him one day while he was telling stories and making arrow heads (he's a flint knapper actually, but I liked the stories). We were sitting under a tree on a nice fall day having a fine time, and it never occurred to me that the bail of hay I was sitting on might be full of ticks. Well, it seems I took a few of them home with me along with the reference photos.