Wednesday, November 16, 2016

All Hail November!

 "Autumn Near Dog Creek's Mouth - preliminary study"
oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison

You just can't beat this November's weather...I am hard pressed to remember a November this mild or warm!  Now word is out that we may get some wet/slightly white weather in a day or two...well that's bound to happen - it is November after all!

After this nice Autumn color and weather, I've been working on ideas for art work and printing some images as open edition photographic prints.  I finished a small oil painting a few days back - this small painting was worked up as a guide to work from for a larger painting that I'll hopefully get to yet this fall before winter sets in. The location is on some county land in SE O'Brien County...its of Dog Creek just a few yards before it dumps into the Little Sioux River.  This little creeks runs through some pretty territory for a very small stream - a neat unassuming little stream.

With the Holiday season now approaching, there are a couple art exhibits and shows coming up that I'm taking part in!  One is currently at Arts on Grand in Spencer, Iowa - their "Christmas in the Gallery", which is currently running and goes through December 27th; a lot of really nice Christmas related gifts and seasonal artwork!

Also, there is the "Holiday Open House" coming up in Peterson, Iowa!  This yearly event will be taking place at Barb McGee's Gallery in downtown Peterson.  A great little town in a picturesque setting - a great gallery and a top notch assortment of artists!  Enjoy some good treats and good conversation and great art!  That's on Saturday December 3rd from 9am - 5pm!

Happy Thanksgiving coming up next week - enjoy November!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Part of the Process

"Little Sioux River Valley Autumn Bales No.1"
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)

I have been stuck in the studio "processing" all the image files from a week and a half ago; that was a busy and productive week for autumn in our "area".  Most folks don't realize all the post production work there is when working from "Raw" files...most of us shoot RAW, not JPG or TIFF...doing so preserves all the information that a file has to offer.  But a RAW file doesn't usually present the image as you would print it or use for a blog such as this or for publication, so some computer "darkroom" work is in order.

I spent many years in the darkroom professionally, way before digital imaging was even a flicker on the horizon; actually working mostly in B&W, then doing color printing and transparency film processing for roughly 30 years before I took the leap early into the digital fray. 

"Back in the day" darkroom work was inevitable - no way around it!  But even now, with digital imaging on the professional level, image processing is a necessary part of the process from exposing the image to print or publication. 

It's been overcast, damp and windy here the past 4 days, so its perfect "darkroom" time.  I would prefer to see a blue sky again soon though as I'm feeling couped up!   

A good side effect during this inside time is I get many ideas for future artwork while going through image files...paintings and drawing ideas come to me and get me even more excited!  Lets hope I can get some Autumn artwork ideas to get me through part of the Winter ahead!  

Oooh, did I just say the "W" word??!!!  Oh well, it's all part of the process! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Autumn Is Good!

 "Autumn on Yellow Avenue in SE O'Brien County, IA"
(photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison)

The days are shortening and the color is good...the air is crisp, yet the sun is warm; this is a neat time of year and as with the harvest, there is much to be thankful for.  

 "High Water Color on the Des Moines in northern Webster County, IA"
(photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison)

We don't live in New England or where colors are breathtaking with reds, yellows and oranges shared among hardwoods like hard maples, but we can occasionally get lucky with autumn when all the cards fall just right, and this was such a year!

 "Electric Blues on the North Raccoon in southern Sac County, IA"
(photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison)

 Georgie and I drove the back roads here and in this corner of the state. taking in the transient scenery - a chance to get away from the daily tasks and reflect.

 "Below the Rapids on the North Raccoon in northern Sac County, IA"
(photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison)

We miss the river roads and streams of past journeys - they were dressed in colorful attire, preparing for a good rest from the past year.

 "Quiet Color near the Washta Access in southern Cherokee County, IA"
(photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison)

Some places were bright and noisily passing the day away, while others more somber and reflective.  It's been another year of new experiences, of life's sorrows and joy; it's now a time to rest and regain one's bearings, and to be grateful for those blessings that have come our way

Have a great Autumn season and be good to one another!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Coming This Weekend!

We're gearing up - its coming!  The Artisans Road Trip weekend studio tour event will be here this weekend - Saturday October 8th and Sunday October 9th!

 (Morrison's Studio at Prairie Hill Farm)

This is the 13th annual weekend A.R.T. event and it should be a great Autumn weekend! Saturday (October 8) kicks off at 9 a.m. and runs through 5 p.m., and Sunday (October 9) starts at 12 Noon and runs through 5 p.m.  

We've been working toward this weekend all year with many new original works of art such as drawings and paintings, many new open edition/signed photographs and several new Note Card boxed collections as well as new Greeting Cards - did you know we have the largest variety and collection of boxed note cards and greeting cards of NW Iowa found anywhere?!!!  Come and see for yourself!

But don't neglect the view from the studio deck and even take in a walk on our mowed native pasture trails...or just relax with some refreshments here in the studio!  Have any questions - please ask, we'd love to talk with you...this is a great place for conversation as well as browsing or purchasing artwork, or just taking in some of the valley's crisp Autumn air!

Hope to see you this weekend!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Too Fast!

 "Anvil Across the Valley" 
oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison

Too Fast!  Time...that's what.  It just turned summer and we're already into August!  Frustrating isn't it.  I'm blaming deadlines, appointments and other inevitable things that make time blow by like it didn't even happen.

I've been trying very hard to balance time in the studio with everything else and although it hasn't been easy, have managed to finish a couple things.

The top image was something with some years behind it...first as a panoramic photograph about 6-7 years ago - then a small oil pastel "study" 2 or 3 years, finally I've done a larger completed oil painting version of the scene!  This is looking due east from our acreage and across the valley in front of us.  A late May/early June evening  with the light casting long shadows and the stubble out front still showing through a new emerging crop.  The anvil of a distant late spring thunderstorm dramatically lit by the late sun...a beautiful sight!

I had a beautiful dark expresso stained plein air style frame custom made and handcarved for it - it's perfect!

"Showy Tick-trefoil (Desmodium canadense)"
color pencil drawing - © Bruce A. Morrison

The color pencil drawing of the Showy Tick-trefoil was inspired this spring when I was out in our pasture photographing new plants coming up - these guys are always a treat to see new and I couldn't resist trying to depict one arching back and supporting new blossoms...the leaf structure teamed with the budding flowers was very attractive!  These flowers are easy to procure seed from later in the summer - just walk through a stand of them with a sweatshirt on and the seeds stick tight to the clothing...then sit and watch TV while you pull them off and save in a paper bag for fall planting!  They are very easy germinators as well and the plants can be very beautiful in mass!  

So much more to get done this summer - but its flying by, literally.  If something doesn't change around here, I'll be staring at the late summer and fall asters soon! 

Hang on before its gone!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Summer on the Tallgrass

photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison
I've been trying to document the native plants on the pasture; spring has gone by so quickly and the spring forb (wildflower) blooming has zipped by too quickly! 

Two evening ago I was out after the wind finally got manageable for photographing and was shooting some video and trying to get still shots when I could.  There was a Monarch flying around quickly here and there but I didn't try chasing was just to animated and would hold still for me.  When I was packing it up and heading back to the studio I walked past a Viceroy nectaring on, of all things, Brome grass!

Well I wished it'd been a Monarch but it was so cooperative I took several shots and did some video of it as well.  I hate admitting there is brome in the pasture but there isn't a prairie that hasn't struggled against that common/nasty cool season (Eurasian) grass the farmers embrace for grazing/haying.

You can almost always tell a Viceroy from a Monarch by its size - its about a third smaller than a Monarch.  Also the Viceroy's hind wing has a line that intersects horizontally through the vertical veins - not seen with Monarchs...the resemblance is remarkable though, and even I have to stop a look more closely when they show up here...they're fairly common here every summer.

I was taken a bit by surprise with a butterfly this size nectaring on a grass in flower...maybe its not uncommon, it is just something I haven't seen before.  I have seen small Skippers and those small Blues, along with Hover flies and such nectar on grass florets but this was new for me!

I'll insert a video of this Viceroy (The link is on You Tube at - if this blog doesn't show it for you) 
Have a great summer out there and stay cool!!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Late Spring on the Prairie!

"Passing Prairie Showers"
oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison
June never seems to let us off out here on the prairie.  We sure appreciate the rain but high winds, lightning and hail are the things that keep us on our toes.  As I type this blog entry a good thunderstorm with high winds is passing through the valley.  A few areas of tornado activity are forming NW and NE of us - nobody needs that!
But this painting I just finished really depicts the "normal" passing showers that are so common out here in that great openness of the Tallgrass Prairie.  I used our south pasture as the "model" and borrowed some patches of Golden Alexander in bloom, from the north pasture to place in the shadow cast in the foreground during the late afternoon.
Late Spring and Summer paintings can be difficult because of the overwhelming greens out there so I like to take some artistic license and warm up the image with the late afternoon sunshine and neutralize it a bit with foreground shadows.  It was a bit warm the day I laid this idea out but even hotter (mid-upper nineties) while I painted in the studio - thank goodness for air-conditioning!
Hope you're staying safe and keeping cool out there!