Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Winter Work at the Studio

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

I'm still here plugging away in the studio!  I finally finished a piece that is about the third attempt to an idea I first got 6-7 years ago.  The "star" of the show 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 today!  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 -

Hope your work has been going well this winter!  Stay safe!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Nice Respite!

(Detail from pencil study "Spring Song, American Robin")
© Bruce A. Morrison

 What a great week of weather - a nice respite from the past couple months!  Word's out that we're heading back to "normal" winter stuff, but that's OK - we've been doing alright!

We had our first Robins of spring in the yard here yesterday!  That's kind of a nice shot in the arm for spring fever!  American Robins are always welcome, but there have been population pockets just a few miles south of us, along the Little Sioux River valley all winter...in fact the past few winters.  That didn't used to happen but about a decade or so ago the Waterman Prairie area and south, along the river, began holding flocks of Robins, Cedar Waxwings, and Eastern Bluebirds through the winter months.  They apparently live off of the Eastern Red Cedar berries for one thing.   But I still think of Robins as a harbinger of spring, if not only for old time's sake!

I don't know if I ever posted the image at the blog header before or not? (I'm pretty certain I have.)   It's a detail from a large graphite piece I did years back.  You can view the whole piece by clicking on the small image below of the entire rendering.

"Spring Song, American Robin"
pencil original © Bruce A. Morrison
(from a private collection)

Another wonderful development the past few weeks is a pair of Bald Eagles have built a nest south of here!  We're holding our breath in hopes they'll stay and actually use it; a pair had built a nest just 1 mile south of us along Waterman Creek 3 years ago, but they abandoned it after a couple months.  Hopefully this pair will follow through.
I guess we're not the only ones in the neighborhood with spring fever!

Just wanted to make mention - in the last blog I said I was going to begin a newsletter...a marketing effort on my part from the studio here.  It will be an informative bimonthly newsletter, to keep my collectors, and folks interested in my work, abreast of the newest and latest work, projects, insight on works and subject matter, as well as exhibits and events I can be found at.  You may sign up for the newsletter on my web site...you only need provide your e-mail address...the form to sign up is on this page - http://www.morrisons-studio.com/Newsletter%20page.htm or just click on "Newsletter" in the header of the web site.  Thank you!

Take in some sunshine today and enjoy!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

In the Middle

Sun Dogs here at Prairie Hill Farm
(click on image for a larger view)

We're in the middle of many things here at the studio and Prairie Hill Farm - winter for one!  A couple days ago our digital thermometer went offline...it stops at 19 below zero fahrenheit.  It popped back on again at 19 below a little after 8 a.m.  I'd been out in the yard filling feeders for the birds and squirrels...it can get a little oppressive for them, out in the open in this weather.

I stopped before going into the studio and took just a quick shot of the sun dogs across the valley...nothing elaborate, just using my small camera.  I've often wished I could find the perfect landscape "nearby" to photograph sun dogs!  

We've also been in the middle of a lot of snow removal lately...that happens at this time of year!  I remember a neighbor speaking to me about the winter snow issues in the valley here a few years back.  He eluded to the fact that since we moved here, we hadn't had a bad winter...I took all the credit with a grin!  :)  Well, that ended last year and we've since gotten pretty good at moving snow on our own.

 Winter Goldfinch at the studio
(click on image for a larger view)

I'm hoping that this is the break in our winter weather for the duration ahead, a nice weekend appears to be a reality!  Any day in the 20's or 30's (faherenheit) is great winter weather!  (I know the birds would appreciate it too!)

I've been in the middle of painting and drawing projects as well.  Some have been extremely taxing...I hate to move onto something else when a piece is unfinished but that is a reality at times.  Sometimes a fresh "face" can help recover from painters block.  Oh ya...it happens.  :P

I've also been in the middle of marketing and business planning.  This is not something I relish but a necessity for any artist that is working out there as a freelancer - a full-time studio.  I am planning on beginning a newsletter in the near future...this is for my collectors and other clients that have purchased work here at the studio or other galleries I sell through.  If you are someone that would be interested in being included as a studio newsletter subscriber, watch for future news about this.

"In the Middle" is a time of transition or just a place you find yourself often as you move through life.  Here's hoping you're in the middle of something very good!