Saturday, May 31, 2008

Artisans Road Trip 2008 - Preview Exhibit

"Summer Pasture" Oil on Canvas, one of the pieces at the A.R.T. Witter Exhibit

An exhibit featuring the 2008 Artisans Road Trip artists is being hung this weekend at the Witter Gallery in Storm Lake, IA. Artists participating in the 2008 A.R.T. were to select 2 pieces of work from their collections to take to the Witter show.

A.R.T has been ongoing since 2004 I believe...I've been in all except last year's when we were into our studio building project. The weekend of the showing last October was the same weekend we had the entire roof off of the building and it was raining! That was actually the first rainy weekend of A.R.T., it has usually experienced some pretty weather.

The Witter Gallery is a very nice place to view artwork of regional/area artists...I believe the first year I exhibited down there was back in the 1980's.

The A.R.T. exhibit runs from June 3 -27, and admission is free to the public. The exhibit is being sponsored by Paxton's Jewelry of Storm Lake.

The gallery hours are -

Tuesday/Wednesday/Friday - 1:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m.
Thursday - 1:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. (Summer hrs.)
Saturday - 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m

Take it in if you have a chance!

Saturday, May 24, 2008


I finally got to my first painting in the new studio this week...ya I know, it's about time. I guess I've just been too busy finishing up old projects and paying bills.

I haven't even thought of a title yet...and it may not even be fully complete, I'm just not sure. But it certainly feels good getting back into the "studio" and not just the office!

The subject matter is one I've had an idea for some time, and one I've tread on before - a large sky of summertime clouds with a Red-tailed Hawk banking into the scene. I've fixated on Red-tails before, in fact I've fixated on them since I was 10 or 11 years old. I used to spend summer vacation afternoons out along the hills west of Fort Dodge along the Lizard Creek valley, lying on my back in someone's hillside pasture watching the clouds form and the Red-tails catching thermals and become tiny specks in the sky. Those were the days!

Fall migration was also a favorite time to watch hawks, and the other raptors pass over head. The pencil above (Fall Migration, Red-tails") was of an area near here that experiences wonderful episodes of hawks, falcons and eagles each autumn.

Well now that I have the paint out I'd better keep with it...I'm feeling rusty after the long winter of construction!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Help it's Spring and I Can't Keep Up!

I'm sure anyone can relate to the sentiments of the title for today's blog! much to do, so little time!

Every year I say, next spring I've got to do this, get there, see these, take this photo, do this painting, and on and on. The problem is I'm not getting any younger and "next spring" opportunities should be taken less and less for granted.

I managed to get a small start on one item on the list this morning...I've been so distracted by the American Wild Plums about the place here and in the valley. The scent waifing through the air around here is almost intoxicating and the wonderfully flowered trees have been as well.

The venture out this morning was quite different than some photography work I do, I'm concentrating on "examples". I need to do a "Plum Painting", and if there's one thing that never lasts long enough in the spring, it's the plum blossoms - they fade and are history before you know it (it seems).

At the moment I'm taking a short break from some website work I'm behind on - to write this blog. As I look out the window I see Georgie working hard in the gardens, she just finished tilling them all! I do believe I'd better keep the plums in the back of my mind for the time being and get back to work!

Hmmm, that smell...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Dusk Chorus

My last post was the Dawn Chorus - I'm heading to the opposite time of the day here!

If you remember my post from a few days back "Little Friends", this is my little friends in the valley here singing it up and lulling us to sleep at night. The American Toads start singing when the water starts warming into the 60's and that has just begun this week here.

I've recorded nature audio since the mid 1980's and often run the tracks while I'm working in the studio. I do it mostly in the winter when I need a pick-me-up from the short days and cold nights. I also listen to them because they are a wonderful music from our creator!

If you haven't got a connection any faster than dial up, I'm afraid you'll likely want to skip this, but it is a short piece I just added to the NW Iowa Watchable Wildlife site on the videos afield page if you can visit later with a better connection.

Enjoy creation, its a gift!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Dawn Chorus

One thing I look forward to so much in the spring is the dawn chorus. And it is also the first thing I feel a bit sad to hear come to an end.

I once did a piece to celebrate the dawn chorus, it was an American Robin singing from an old neighbor's tree. I did the image first as a pencil rendering, then transfered it to several (25 actually) screens and printed a small edition of 60 prints as a serigraph.

We have been so happy that the evenings have finally warmed enough to sleep with the bedroom windows open. Last night we went to sleep serenaded by Chorus Frogs and American Toads, We haven't slept so well in months! The morning's "dawn chorus" was equally as wonderful of a tonic! Some people complain about all the birds singing so early but we find it soothing, a wonderful comfort, and just great music that lulls one deeper into a restful slumber.

The first birds we usually notice singing are American Robins. They usually start around an hour before sunrise. They are my favorite dawn chorus bird but Mourning Doves can be equally pleasant to listen to.

I've stated more than once in the past that I like using what I've experienced in my work and this piece is no exception. It is something I look forward to throughout a long hard winter and is something we'll cherish here at Prairie Hill Farm until late July/early August when the chorus subsides again to not return till next spring.

Pencils were the study piece for my serigraphs in the past but the pencils could stand on their own merit and sometimes I felt like I shouldn't need to go further. All these pieces are in private collections now, and this particular serigraph edition is nearly sold out now (with only 4 prints left). If anyone was interested in this hand pulled print, it can be purchased online at - or from the new Studio/Gallery here.

The deck is completely finished now and we're working on the really fun and important things for a change!

Crack the window tonight and listen to the music!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Completion Closer?

Georgie and I brought the deck very close to completion on Saturday. It's surprising that the rails would take so much time for a small deck like this but all the leveling and support work were very time consuming.

We still have the rail for the stairs, the door threshold for wheel chair accessibility and some grading, landscaping and planting work to do, but all in all it's ready!

In keeping with the building theme (ag-related) we've enclosed the deck with hog wire. Ya, sounds weird but it works great; I'm not a hog loving person but it definitely fits the theme of agriculture. We've also placed an old watering unit in the corner past the steps...we'll be working on plantings around the deck that will be drought tolerant.

The ramp is on the traffic side of the building and we made it as long as the property's access requirements would allow. We have access and egress requirements for farm machinery to pass by and into the field behind us so had to keep the required clearance between this building and the barn.

We sat out on the deck around 8pm last night to enjoy the late view. It'll be real nice this summer when people stop by for a chat or whatever... hint, hint :)