Tuesday, March 13, 2018

7 Days!

"Mid Day Summer on Diamond Lake"
oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view) 

Yup - 7 days!!!  7 days till Spring!   It seems like this winter won't end but really it hasn't been all that bad.  BUT - I am ready for Spring!  Now!  Am I being too unclear about all this?  Ha!  

I can't rush time (and we really shouldn't wish time away), but I can visit warmer days on canvas and that's exactly what I did this past week here in the studio.  The painting above is a small landscape study depicting a hot/humid summer day along a marshy area about 45 minutes north of the studio.

This was a little challenging as I'm attempting to show a bright back-lit landscape - looking right into the sun as it diffuses through clouds building in the mid-day sky.  It was painted with a slightly limited palette compared to most of my paintings...trying to help support a sense of a humid afternoon.

Ya just a week of winter left!  I can get real used to the idea as we are still in the snow pack here - bring it on Please!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

One Last Stab at Winter!

"Winter at Broken Kettle Grasslands"  
oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)

3 weeks till Spring!  Can you tell I'm counting the days?!  Ha!  Well I really do not want to wish my days away so I'm not being quite that crazy - just looking forward to what the season change will bring.

But in the meantime I thought I'd work on a winter landscape that had been on my back-burner for several years; I don't do winter paintings or drawing that often and I thought what better time to get one done then before winter ends outside the studio.

The landscape is of a Nature Conservancy Preserve about and hour or so south and west of us - the Broken Kettle Preserve...an amazing place to visit if you have never been there!  This 3000 acre tallgrass prairie preserve has many native species that are usually only found west of the Missouri - extremely rare or unusual finds in Iowa.  It is the home to the largest 100% pure blood American Bison herds in Iowa as well as possibly the last place in the state with a breeding population of Prairie Rattlesnakes.  A really cool place!  Thank you to the Nature Conservancy for preserving and maintaining such a treasure!!!

Many years ago I did a quick painting of this preserve, more in an alla prima style (wet into wet) and I'll post that painting below.

"Broken Kettle Winter"  
oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)  

Winter is noticeably waning now with the increased length of daylight and the snow melt that we're experiencing.  I'd say this really reminded me of winters back in the 50's and 60's when I was a kid...we had some January and February thaws and many snow events...also some pretty frigid temps off and on.  But now we're hearing rumblings of early migrations building 2-3 hours south of us and did actually have a small flock of geese pass by this morning!  Oh I love this time of the year with changes taking place and something new every day!
"Male Red-bellied Woodpecker"  
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view) 
The only drawback to all this is I am too easily distracted and have trouble staying on task inside at the easel!  A couple days ago was no exception with the bird traffic outside the window.  This nice Red-bellied Woodpecker thankfully sat still long enough for me to get a picture!  Looking forward to more distractions in the yard in coming weeks!
Enjoying the warmup, hope you are too!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

From the Drawing Board

"Bald Eagle - Portrait" 
color pencil drawing - © Bruce A. Morrison

Its been...how shall I say this?  Winter!  Ya...snow...cold...ha!  Well you know how it is; winter is a time I used to go sledding, have snowball fights, cross country ski or snowshoe - but that was eons ago! (At least the sledding and snow ball fight part!)

But we've been making the best of it, staying warm and enjoying the critters we usually see more of this time of the year.  The Deer herd in the valley, and the yard...the birds around the feeders here, and the Bald Eagles flying through nearly each day...occasionally even fence post or tree branch sitting here too.  Just a couple weeks back Georgie and I were heading out to visit the area nature center (the Prairie Heritage Center) and as we drove south of here we passed a harmless Bald Eagle melee - 15 or more birds just having a wee old time playing around (and eating)!

I had toyed with the idea of doing a Bird Portrait of a Bald Eagle for some time.  I have a few photos in my files but the pictures I've taken of Bald Eagles are from the ground and I wanted to portray a more "formal" look, up close and more personal.  There is a Bald Eagle on display at the nature center and I look at this beautiful bird every visit.  I just recently finished the drawing seen above here.

With past "Bird Portrait" drawings I've usually concentrated on doing all those little passerines - perching/songbirds in the yard, but decided to change it up a bit; as in my past Bird Portraits, this too is drawn approximately life size. 

"Wenasaga Bald Eagle"
oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison

Many years ago I did a small oil painting of a Bald Eagle along a Canadian river we used to spend a lot of time vacationing at, but have never done a closeup like this before.  A very majestic and cool bird, whether up close and personal or at a distance!

Hope you're staying well this winter!  Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Thinking and Working Warm

"Wooded Lane, No.3"
oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison 

My first post of 2018...where does time go?  A perpetual question I know I'll have on my mind until my last breath...

It's been drier than usual and fairly cold the last couple weeks, but all-in-all not really so bad for winter here...oops should not say this out loud!  I have been trying to start work once again in the studio, I guess you could say I've been goofing off - too many things to distract me, but I have been earnestly trying to decide where to begin and what to start.

I have a yet "unofficial" solo exhibit coming up in 2019...to make this work I will need to be productive this year and into the next!  I say unofficial because the invitation was given me and a date has yet to be set or even officially agreed upon. But right now I am proceeding with beginning the process that this requires.  I last had two solo exhibits in 2012 so haven't been pressed with this responsibility for a while.

I began my work toward this process with the above oil painting, still drying on the easel as I write.  "Wooded Lane, No.3" is a small oil landscape painting of a location about 10 miles south of us, as the crow flies.  It is the same location I painted at for a plein air show last August.  This was done from some photo studies I took at that time.  

My wife asked me a very pertinent question when I talked of posting the image on social media, one I had already contemplated.  That was "Should you be showing your work before your solo exhibit?"  Good question and as I mentioned, given a good deal of thought.

I guess I replied something like this (don't remember my exact response) - "If I show no work on social media for the next 18 months it would be like dropping out of art...if I am an artist, I think I need people to know I am still working; although I am taking an 18 month hiatus I shouldn't give former collectors and clients (and  friends) the idea I have "quit" working all together.  I really feel that once all the work I endeavor to produce over the next 18 months hangs together in a gallery/museum setting, the work should take on a new life.  Besides - seeing work "in person and in the flesh" is much more interesting than the paintings, drawings and photographs "teased out" online over the next year and a half!"

Also I need to let people know that these works are for sale, as always...I don't collect my work, I do it because this is my profession.  But obviously things have to be worked out in sales of this painting or any other works produced for an exhibit 18 months from now - so please do not hesitate to express your interest in any artwork I am creating at this time and into the future!

I hope you enjoy seeing what I'm up to...that means the world to me!  Please stop back and visit this blog when you have a moment, and better yet - don't ever hesitate to visit the studio and check in on me!  I love to visit with folks who soon become my friends, its a blessing.

I hope this painting helps warms you now in mid January!!!  Take Care.


Thursday, December 21, 2017

Wishes During the Winter Solstice!

Here we are in the shortest day of the year!  Its all downhill from here!  With this late fall and early winter season being so unusually pleasant, we're all pinching ourselves and less distracted from the Holiday Season approaching.

In the spirit of this season we would personally like to wish each and every one of you and your families a very Merry Christmas and the Best of New Years!  God Bless -  hope to see you next year!

Monday, December 11, 2017

Two Months!?!!

"Mountain Bluebird - Portrait"
color pencil drawing
© Bruce A. Morrison

2 months!?!!  Two months since my last post!?  That's just crazy...that thing called "time" is definitely on its own schedule...like a nasty bug, it infects all of us and erases days, weeks and months!  Where was I?  Well...I was still here, honestly!   

I guess I've just been enjoying myself.  Since the Artisans Road Trip event in October I've been taking some time off and just being a bit more laid back than is probably normal for me.  This was the last year I'll be participating in the Artisans Road Trip and when I resigned from the board I think I've begun to just spend time on other things instead.  

But life didn't stop or anything like that - I've been filling orders here in the studio both from the Artisans Road Trip event and from requests and customer commissions.  One example being the little "Mountain Bluebird - Portrait" color pencil drawing illustrated above.  And I am enjoying a "hobby" for a change...not that I don't have other interests...like birding and prairie restoration and antiquing...I guess they could be hobbies. But a more latent interest raised it's head about 2-3 years ago and I'm enjoying it ever so much more now with the help of a mentor...more on that some other time.

The fall bird traffic seemed early but then maybe that was the weather?  We had a cold damp autumn early on in October.  Not bad really, just a bit nippier than usual.  Our very first day of Indian Summer (any day reaching into the 60's after a hard freeze) wasn't until November 24th!  That is VERY unusual here...October is normally full of them!  We had just 3 days this fall now that qualified, but all-in-all it hasn't been too bad - we're usually blanketed with snow and in the deep freeze for the winter by now and we're not.

Sharp-shinned Hawk
© Bruce A. Morrison

But we've had great fall visitors here, like this sub-adult (transitioning) Sharp-shinned Hawk.  This guy was doing the "Veloci-raptor" moves with the birds around the feeder - running around on the ground chasing down it's quarry - fun to watch!  
We've also had the usual sparrow migrants go through, this year hanging onto a few Tree Sparrows and some Juncos hanging around as well.  Cedar Waxwings already giving our viburnums a taste test, a great flock of Blue Jays have moved in for the winter too - 15-20 birds at a time, quite a show!  And loads of the usual variety of woodpeckers and nuthatches...it looks like the winter residents have now set up shop.

I hope your Fall season has been going well and that the Holiday season will be what it should - full of Loved Ones and Good Cheer!

Till next time...and who knows when that'll be!!!???  All my best!

Friday, October 13, 2017

This Is It!

The 14th Annual Artisans Road Trip is about to begin!  Saturday October 14th from 9am through 5pm and also Sunday from Noon through 5pm!  And we're ready here at Morrison's Studio on Prairie Hill Farm!  Ready with a warm place out of the weather if needed, great treats, hot cider, and always a great view and artwork!

Come and see a working studio and art gallery perched on the hillside above the Waterman Creek Valley.  In 2004 the Artisans Road Trip began with regional artists opening their studios and galleries to the public.  We originally had to show our work out in the corn crib of all places and it was a bit chilly out there to put it mildly!

Well in 2008 we completed a remodel of our out building that formerly served as a sheep barn until the mid 1990's and as a brooding house (chicken coup) prior to the mid 1950's and now have a nice cozy indoor studio and gallery to host our work and visitors - with a great view from our deck!  Come in and sit in comfort, have a nice warm beverage and look through our paintings, drawings and photographs of the region in which we live!

Rain or shine don't miss out on traveling through the NW Iowa countryside for a great view and experience - thank you for supporting the local arts and artists and bring something home to cherish for a life time, whether it simply be the experience or a beautiful piece of artwork to cherish!

For more information on this great weekend - visit the 2017 Artisans Road Trip web site at 
http://www.artisansroadtrip.com/!  Check out the artists on the Galleries page or go to the Map page and plan a weekend area artisans road trip!

Enjoy the weekend - hope to see you!!!