Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Winter Prairie Musing

This is somewhat of a double posting from the studio, but not completely cut and pasted per-se.  It really hasn't seemed like a "long" winter here at Prairie Hill Farm.  Georgie and I have been extremely busy and that helps, doesn't it?  But the Tallgrass has been on my mind nearly every moment, I just can't, nor want to shake it.  

My seed from last year's harvest is waiting patiently to stoke up the road ditch this spring.  I wanted to get it in last fall but the weather was very uncooperative!  I hope this spring planting works as well as the last...sometimes I find the fall seeding to come out the best.

Most of my time has been spent painting or drawing the prairie, and doing studio business.  This summer I have a solo exhibit over in Spencer at Arts on Grand, I'll send out more info on that down the road.  It has put me under the gun to produce this winter; the exhibit title is "From the Tallgrass" and I'm working with the prairie as I have the past several years.

"Tallgrass Songster"
8X18" color pencil rendering
© Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)

I finally finished a piece that is about the third attempt to an idea I first got 6-7 years ago.  The "star" of this drawing is a male Dickcissel belting out it's name, in song form, among the Tallgrass Prairie in bloom.  The bird is taken from a study I did, which is now in the permanent "drawing collection" of the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin.  I have been trying to find a "home" for my study and this is my first "finished" attempt to see if I have!  The foreground is a mix of forbs in a prairie remnant near us that Georgie and I often explore.  The Echinacea (purple coneflowers) are of our county's true native population - Echinacea angustifolia, or "Narrow-leaved Purple Coneflower".  The male Dickcissel is proudly belting out it's name, the call from which the bird was named (virtually sounds like Dick, Dick, cissel).  This is a larger piece for me with color pencil...I find the medium can be exasperating at times and generally stick with small studies instead...but I persevered and finished it this week.

"The Ritter Elevator"
11X19" oil painting
© Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)

Another work finished earlier, was an oil painting that was "kind of" different for me; it was a commissioned work done for a client commemorating (if-you-will) her trips to the grain elevator with her father, back when she was a child.  The elevator is one I'm very familiar with, have driven past and around it for 30+ years.  What I didn't know were some of the history and stories behind the "Ritter Elevator" - was fun to research and depict the elevator during the early 1950's!  The red IH box truck was my client's father's truck.  I took the rest of the vehicles from the area and other sources...the red tractor is my neighbor's father's Farmall "M" and their flarebox wagon (did repaint that a different color though).  I do like doing work depicting the agricultural environment/landscape and felt this was actually a good fit.  I've said it before and will likely again - the Tallgrass Prairie made this state what it is today and without that natural heritage, we would not have that "black gold" the prairie gave us - the soil.  After handing the painting over to it's new owner, I asked her if I could have permission to share it with you here - she was very happy to!

My first "Morrison's Studio Newsletter" (Vol.1, No.1) went out this week!  If you'd like to sign up for it, there's a link to the form right along the sidebar to this blog...if you get this blog via e-mail you can go directly to the form by way of this link -

The Tallgrass up here is still under snow and ice!  I'll just keep working on it here in the studio...makes the time I can be outside all day come quicker!   Hope yours is thawing and growing soon! 

See ya on the Tallgrass!