In the Shadow of the Bluff, Oil on linen, 24 x 36"
In a couple days, River Sojourn will open at the Anderson Center in Red Wing, MN. I am looking forward to the reception, conversing with folks, and hoping everyone enjoys the collection of paintings. I'm expected to say a few words, and that has me thinking. How does one condense the experiences of over two years of painting the Mississippi Blufflands into a few words? What really matters? Why do I paint, and what winds up of meaning on the linen surface?
This exhibit brings to the forefront the natural beauty we have here, how precious and diverse it is, that taking care of it through conservation ensures future generations the opportunities to enjoy it as we do, to have clean water and air, and retain the aesthetic qualities of the region.
As one walks around and looks at each painting, perhaps you will think of the same things I think of, things that make you glad to be live in this landscape, things you sometimes barely notice: the wind that stirs the tall prairie grasses and the clouds, the rain that gives the lushness and variety of greens to the trees and fields in summer, the hot summer days that are reflected in the distant blue hills, the chill in the shadows of the snow, the dampness of the morning fog, the calls of frogs and toads in a valley pond.
I think about the inner peace I have gained from spending time alone in this landscape, a peace that comes from connecting to something that is so much bigger than me but also connects us to each other, something timeless, ancient, and rhythmic. I am lucky to be painting here, and my awe grows deeper as does my knowledge. It is, well, just so cool to be alive and be a painter!
River Sojourn opens at the Anderson Center, Red Wing, MN on Friday, January 30th. The reception begins at 7pm, and is free and open to the public. Stop on by if you are in the area!