Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Christmas!

"Winter along O'Brien No.1 (Waterman Prairie)"
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)

Well, the year is winding down and winter "has" arrived!  We didn't get as much snow as most of the state, maybe just 2-3 inches, but the temps have dropped into low single digits at night.  I'm seeing more birds in the prairie pasture could be just because they stand out better against a white backdrop, or are now feasting on plant-top seed heads.  And the bird feeders are now running full steam...that's fun.

It was a dry year for the prairie here but I have high hopes for the new year. I personally try and throw out words of support for our area's natural resources each year. Many good organizations have thrown their support behind the Tallgrass Prairie in NW Iowa.   The Nature Conservancy, the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, and in our own county of O'Brien - the Prairie Heritage Center.

The Prairie Heritage Center is doing something new and fun this year and I urge you to consider participating!  The PHC is putting out an in-house calendar with a fundraising twist for our prairie heritage.  On the 15th of each month a name will be drawn for a special prize - the names are drawn from the pool of people that actually purchase the calendar.  As an example, the prize winner from the month of January will win $150.00 toward the purchase of any artwork or photography from the studio here!  Each month has other great $100-plus prizes as well, and the proceeds from the calendars go toward acquiring what precious little still exists of our prairies and the heritage it provides
Each calendar will sell for $50. On the 15th of each month you will have the opportunity to win a prize worth over $100! For each calendar, there are 12 chances to win. There are a limited number of calendars available.

These calendars are on sale now. and would make a very interesting Christmas gift that keeps on giving throughout the year for a special person! Or … you could show YOUR support for the Prairie Heritage Center by purchasing a calendar for yourself!

The calendar is currently available at the Prairie Heritage Center and in the next few days they will also be available at your local banks in O’Brien County. If you’re not able to get to any of those locations, one can be sent to you via USPS Mail for an additional $6.00 charge. The Prairie Heritage Center's address is: 4931 Yellow Ave - Peterson, IA  51047.  Phone - 712 295-7200.
("Winter Stubble, Bales" - oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison) 
(click on image for a larger view) 

I want to sign off for the year by wishing you a wonderful Christmas and all my best in the New Year.  I'm looking forward to making new friends and photographing and painting more from the prairie here in the new year as well!  I hope you'll join me from time to time as I have a chance to write about it.

All my best.  Be good to one another, and find 2013 a year of promise!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Wrapping Up

"Red-breasted Nuthatch"
photograph © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)
I cannot remember a post Artisans Road Trip period this busy!  That's a good thing right?!  I'm sure it is.  I feel like the little friends outside the studio window here, scampering about constantly all day long!

I've fed the birds since I was probably 10 years Dad made me my first bird feeder back around 1960.  He set it up on a steel post in the center of the backyard and I was off and running! 

I remember the first bird I photographed on that feeder too.  I set up a burlap blind out near the Mother sewed the blind together for me.  My camera setup was totally manual...I'd purchased the camera with my paper route money after a year of saving every penny.  It was a Practica SLR; I also purchased a Kowa 400mm lens for it.  The close focus range of the Kowa was 29 feet!  Wow...I have a 400mm Sigma today that focuses to 39 inches...what amazing advancements we've made!

29 feet was too far away, especially for tiny birds...even with a 400mm lens; so I also purchased a bellows adapter for the lens.  I don't know if you know what that'd look like but it was unwieldy as all get-out!  The belows adapter is a cloth bellows on a slides back and forth for focusing, allowing much closer focusing distances.  My Dad also got me a used tripod and luckily so...this setup would have been impossible without a tripod.  I'm thinking the whole setup would have been somewhere between 20-24 inches in length or longer!

"White-breasted Nuthatch"
photograph © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)

The first bird on the feeder to be recorded by this awkward setup was a White-breasted Nuthatch.  Not too long afterward, one drizzly fall day, I photographed another nuthatch, a Red-breasted Nuthatch.  None of the images on this page are from those early Kodachromes though, these are from out the studio window and in the yard.   

"Red-breasted Nuthatch (Galloping up the tree)"
photograph © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view) 

The Red-breasted Nuthatch is a northern bird which usually only visits here in the winter months...not usually every year but fairly often.  I love both of these little guys, they are very friendly.

I've been asked what I feed the birds here...almost exclusively dark oil sunflower seed (for the Nuthatches, all woodpeckers, all finches, Blue Jays, Chickadees, and various ground feeding winter migrants), Niger thistle seed (for the finches) and suet cakes (everyone loves them!). 

Any type feeder works and I refuse to worry about the squirrels, I love watching them too!  A tray feeder with a hardware cloth mesh is a good one because a lot of the seed will slip through and feed the ground feeding birds (like Juncos and Tree Sparrows).  I also like the newer heavy wire basket type feeders, because they last so long...the old tube type feeders work great too but stay away from the all-plastic ones, you'll replace them every year or so most of the time.

The biggest mistake I see with people who "struggle" with feeding birds is they do not keep it up...they'll fill the feeders and forget to tend to them afterward.  Often seed will spoil or get soaked - that needs to go...eventually the birds visiting will go elsewhere. Also be aware Niger seed spoils fairly easily - I've seen perfectly dry seed go rancid...after a few trys, the birds will leave it alone.  If you see no one feeding for a week or so - dump your seed and start over.  Feeding birds isn't for the faint of heart though - this stuff costs 5 times more than it did 20 years ago!!!!!  I refuse to keep track of what bird feeding costs is just something I enjoy and that's all there is to that discussion!  If that's a factor for you - don't bother!  (Send them over here!)

Its funny, I didn't start this blog to talk about bird feeding, but there you have it!  But I do feel like I need to slow down here in the studio soon and get back to painting!  Let the little birds out the window keep up their frenetic pace...I need a break!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas in the Gallery!

"Christmas in the Gallery" at Arts on Grand!
December 3, 2012 through January 5, 2013

It is Christmas in the Gallery right now at Arts on Grand in Spencer, Iowa!  There was an informal reception last night during Spencer's Grand Meander, and there was loads of people out enjoying the beautiful fall-like weather in December.  If you didn't get out for the opening night there's still plenty of time to get down to AOG and find some terrific Christmas buys for anyone on your list!  "Christmas in the Gallery" runs through January 5th of next year.

And join me and several area artists for the Holiday open House in Peterson this Saturday at Barb McGee's Gallery!  Another great place to find gifts for the season, and another fun drive through the beautiful countryside in NW Iowa!  We'll be there from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., hope to see you there!!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Woodland Winter"
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison

Its nearly Thanksgiving here!  Its definitely not winter but I posted the image above because it actually reminds me of years past in late November here in NW Iowa!  If you looked out the window or stepped out onto the studio's deck right now you'd either think it was early spring or is so pleasant out!

I took the photograph above at Woodman Hollow, a state preserve south of Ft Dodge, Iowa, along the Des Moines River, some years back.  The shot was from what you'd call a small Goat Prairie along a ridge within view of the river below.  This same ridge in the summer had a nice small compliment of prairie flowers and grasses; its a wonder the timber hadn't yet taken it over.  Looking through the branches and late hanging oak leaves, across the ravine toward the neighboring hillside of timber and sparse openings, creates a very satisfying, and almost "decorative" view of the winter season.

The photograph is also in the spirit of the coming Holiday season, and the exhibits I'm working with during the next few weeks.

Christmas in the Gallery coming to Arts on Grand in Spencer, Iowa on December 4, 2012 through January 5, 2013.

Over 20 artists will transform the exhibit gallery into a decorated shop of art gifts - from small decorations, cards, jewelry, and pottery, to small and large unframed and framed prints, photographs and paintings. The theme is just like it sounds - Christmas, the holidays and the winter season!

"Winter Stubble, Bales"
oil painting -  © Bruce A. Morrison

I'll have several brand new winter themed signed cards available, as well as 2 brand new note card collections - one a new NW Iowa Scenic Card collection of "Winter themed" photographs; the other will be a new Artwork Note Card Collection, also "Winter themed"! I'll also have several new framed silkscreen prints and photographs, as well as some winter themed NW Iowa landscape drawings and paintings available - such as "Winter Stubble, Bales", the oil painting illustrated above.
I'll also be in Peterson, Iowa for a Holiday Open House on December 8th. I'll have work at Barb McGee's Gallery in downtown Peterson...will be fun spending some time with friends there!

And right now I'm participating in the final exhibit of the season, with the Artisans Road Trip in Clear Lake, Iowa at the Clear Lake Art Center.  It started today and runs through January 5 of 2013...a great bunch of artists! 
I won't be taking in Black Friday sales this year but will be here at the studio for anyone needing to do Christmas shopping!  I don't like the idea of crushing crowds and elbows kneading their way to special buys, like on Black Friday. I Do Like giving my business to local small businesses though - that money stays in the communities we support and benefits my neighbors as well as my own family!

I will be open during the next day - Small Business Saturday - you can count on that!  And we do appreciate your business and support, on any and all days throughout the year!!!

I want to wish you all out there a wonderful November, and a Happy Thanksgiving!  Be good to one another and enjoy your friends and family this week and always!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Brown is Back

Corn Shock November
photograph © Bruce A. Morrison

Its well into November and I am just beginning to catch up with the business of a small art studio.  There is always the framing, website development, print work, and everything else that cuts into the actual creative process.  But that's OK sometimes...we're into the blah colors of the season now.  Even though I always think of Autumn as a season of wonderful colors...the transition from greens to rusts, reds, yellows, and orange; it eventually turns brown.  Brown is back.  A good time to get the less fun things taken care of right?

Well, I'd really like to get all those things out of the way and soon!  This is also the perfect time of year to be working at the easel and drawing board!  There's very little out there to distract a person so you can get a lot done inside. 

The image at the head of this installment is of a corn field near here many years ago while I was carrying the "big" camera around.  I shot 4X5 large format for easily 30 years or more...most of the time with a heavy old dude that I still have, a camera only one year younger than I!   I was driving south along hwy 59 one early November afternoon and passed this corn field being "shocked" (I guess you'd call it?) and pulled over.  There were a couple guys working together on the corn and I asked if I could photograph the shocks.  

The light wasn't particularly wonderful and it was pretty windy but this type of harvest doesn't occur anymore and I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity.  Why they were working their hind ends off on an old, old method of putting up their corn I can't say - I just wanted to see if I could get it on film!

Its a nostalgic look isn't it; one beckoning way back to both of my grandfather's days...kind of puts a tint of beauty back into this landscape...

Brown is back, but we'll spin some gold from it when we can.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Many Thanks and New Friends!

"Tallgrass Songster" one of several works to leave the studio during the Artisans Road Trip!
8X18" color pencil rendering
© Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)

Its been nearly 2 weeks now since the 2012 Artisans Road Trip weekend.  It was a beautiful, albeit crisp and breezy weekend, and we got to meet many new "gallery goers" as well as some familiar friends whom we had only met via our studio newsletter, this blog or through the studio's Face Book page!  It is so neat to meet everyone for the first time, with a handshake and a greeting :)

Thank you everyone who stopped by, it was good seeing familiar faces and friends as well!  I hope you had a chance to enjoy some amazing baked goods by Georgie, and thank you to everyone who came, fell in love with some works on our walls, and gave them a good home, this is more gratifying than I can adequately express...thank you so much.

I hope to see or hear from you again through the season, as I dig out of the framing work, jobs in progress and new commissions ahead.  Have a grand autumn!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

2012 A.R.T. at the Studio this Weekend!!!

Fall colors this morning at the studio at Prairie Hill Farm!
(click on image for a larger view)

The 2012 Artisans Road Trip is finally here this weekend!!!  This is the 9th year of this NW Iowa "Studio Tour", and as far as the autumn color is concerned here - one of the prettiest I can remember!

It sounds like fall weather is actually going to be here on Saturday and Sunday, so wear your sweater and enjoy the crisp air!  The studio is heated so that's no problem :)  I don't know if anyone remembers the 2005 A.R.T. event, but we used to hold our exhibit out in the corn crib/grainery (before the studio was built) and it was 22 degrees Fahrenheit inside the crib until after noon!!!  Brrrr!  But that hasn't been an issue the past 5 years with the new studio/gallery :)  Besides, we have hot cider and so many of Georgie's specialties to enjoy!  Why do I always gain weight this weekend???!

The native prairie pasture here even looks like autumn in full glory!
(click on image for a larger view) 

The weekend Artisans Road Trip Hours are - Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday afternoon - Noon to 5:00 p.m.  

Need to get out and get some fresh air this weekend? Come to the valley here and enjoy the view inside and out!  If you like paintings, drawings and photography that is "about" the area in which we live...that is from "real" places - locations in our beautiful corner of the county, then we've got 'em!  Did you know we have the largest offering of art and photo greeting and note cards depicting NW Iowa in the region?!!!

Hope to see you this weekend!

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Time is Near!

"Creek's Bend"
12X16 oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)

Tomorrow is the autumnal great is that!?  Also, how weird it arrived so soon!?  I keep harping on the "time" thing...I apologize, its just a character flaw I guess...but geeze its going too fast!

Georgie and I have been busying ourselves getting ramped up for the 2012 Artisans Road Trip coming up in just two weeks...the painting shown above has been kinda hampering my efforts!  I know better than to start a painting so close to the A.R.T. weekend but you have to strike when the idea hits you, or its almost always gone for good.  

"Creek's Bend" is reminiscent of this past late June/early July when there was still water in the creek below the studio!  The summer hasn't been good to the water table around here...the creek is about a foot wide in many places now...hoping for a wet fall!  This painting will be on the studio easel for the Road Trip weekend (Oct 6 and 7) because it'll be too wet to put in a frame yet - but will still be for sale of course :)  Here's a chance to own something hot off the easel!

Next Tuesday - the 25th, the 2012 Artisans Road Trip will be holding their annual fall exhibit at Arts on Grand in Spencer, Iowa!  The evening reception is always a good one to get in on...delectable morsels and drink...and lots of good company; many of the artisans road trip artists will be present and  its a good time for a sneak preview of what the road trip will have to offer this year!

I'll have 4 pieces of work there...mostly brand spanking new.  Hope to see you there,
and keep your calendar clear for the 9inth annual Artisans Road Trip weekend - October 6th and 7th (Saturday and Sunday)!!! 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Summer's Fading

"Stream-side Cottonwood"
color pencil drawing - 6X8"
© Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view

Cottonwoods are a prairie tree...a stream-side tree...a tree of wet or dry places, a real opportunist. As a stream-side tree, Beaver love it, its a favorite for Herons - its a great rookery tree.  They'll grow very tall and gain great girth in a fairly short time, and that's perfect for rookeries like the one just SE of the acreage studio here.

I've climbed many cottonwoods as a kid...they're perfect before they gain too much girth because by then they've tended to loose their lower branches - those you need to grab onto in order to gain some height and get to those more easily handled perches. Besides, a fat tree is nearly impossible to hitch up unless you're a woodpecker or squirrel!  I spent many a summer afternoon 40-50 feet up in a cottonwood, seated on a big horizontal branch, gazing out into the river or creek valley below...occasionally something would land nearby and be startled by the sight of me!  This was a great perch for watching Red-tail Hawks and Turkey Vultures soaring in the sky; like a "head-start" to their level.  What memories!  And I've fallen out of 'em too...but lets not go there!

The piece shown above is a small color pencil drawing I just finished.  It, like a myriad of others, is of the creek in the valley below the studio here (Waterman Creek)...I'm beginning to suspect that no other person has painted, drawn or photographed this creek more than I have!??  I could be wrong but I don't know?  Anyway I'll keep walking and exploring it and all the other area creeks and rivers I possibly can

The Cottonwood tree on the other bank was my focal point, I just loved the structure of the tree, but the sun was lighting it frontally (not an easy or preferred way to portray something) so I threw the left foreground into a "bit" of shadow to help with the composition and to give a transition to step into...the creek helps conceptually and compositionally too of course.

I like these small color drawings, they're fun to do but are not always cooperative!  

I'm trying to get ready for the 2012 Artisans Road Trip now!  Well, I've been trying all summer but now I'm down to "crunch time"  and I'm afraid I'll be glued to the studio from now until October 6 and 7 when the event takes place.  This is the ninth consecutive year of the Artisans Road Trip and it should be a great weekend!  Set the days aside if you can.  If you haven't taken one in during years past, or have yet to have visited the studio here along the valley - check the dates off on your calendar!!!

The summer is fading - take advantage of it while you can, and enjoy yourself!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

For Sentimental Reasons

color pencil drawing - 7X10"
© Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)

I've long wanted to do something relating to our home, our gardens or yard..this is a sentimental "self assignment", you have to do those sometimes - it helps refocus and gives the old brain a break.  My drawing habits were somewhat loosened and strayed a bit here.  It may be hard to tell but this drawing isn't typical for my past color pencil pieces.  In fact, I hate to admit it...this really gave me a lot of trouble at times!!!  I think when you are portraying something as tangent as a house or entryway, it needs to stay true enough to be recognized and not become an object of critical consideration.

Georgie has done wonderful things out here in our quiet space, this entrance through the arbor and to the house was not here when we bought the place...the cottage gardens weren't here either...this portion of the yard was old fill dirt remnants and very sparse grass...that was almost the crux of it. She's got a good eye! 

There are many other side gardens, vegetable gardens, secret gardens, and other things to explore - I'll save those for another time.

Here's one for sentimental reasons sweetheart!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Racing Summer

"Morning Glow" - © Bruce A. Morrison
oil painting - 9X12"
(click on image for a larger view)

Not only have I been behind on my blogs, but in keeping up with this summer as well!  I have been working in the studio and out trekking the valley below much of the past 3 weeks since my last entry...and racing summer!!!  It is tough staying at task; too many things are tugging at my sleeve nearly every minute of the day.  The sky is drop dead amazing as I type...should I drop what I'm doing and run outside with the cameras??!  Its been that kind of a summer; so much going on and too many distractions otherwise.

The painting featured above was finished a couple hours ago.  It is not a large painting but it required every ounce of my attention. It is, once again, a painting of my favorite little prairie stream Waterman Creek.  But, as I've insisted many times before, it could most certainly be just about any little creek in the area.  This particular painting depicts a walk I took along the creek several weeks ago - this was before this summer's drought brought the little creek down to a small trickle.

I walked the Waterman about a week ago...a different piece than I had in the past, and was hard pressed to come up with even a photograph.  That mile section of the stream was so low that I almost could have walked the whole thing in slip-on rubbers and not have even gotten my socks wet!  That's "Low" for around here!  This is a summer I don't think many of us will miss - I just hope it doesn't revisit next year!!!

Summer paintings can be very difficult.  About 30 years ago I heard one painter I admired very much, say how summer "greens" were the nemesis of many a landscapist.  Summer is a season of green here, and most has to be tamed, or at least work with you, and that's not usually the easiest task.  

This summer morning had an impressive "glow" to it and I wanted to maintain that impression of this early hour walk down the creek. I used the creek itself as the "threshold" to bring the viewer into the scene.  I find reflections in the water as being darker than the place it reflects...that does help in anchoring a composition like this.  The small rapids breaks up the foreground some, helping keep things more interesting, and the darker shrubs in the left middle ground help keep the viewer's eyes from simply straying off the edge of the image.  The path of the composition is basically an oval or circle...about the most simple design possible in a landscape I think...just not always easy to carry out.

Breaking up the middle ground and background with a dirt embankment made it possible, in my mind, to relieve the potential monotony of the palette of greens.  A leaning toward the raw sienna in the exposed dirt created a "near" complimentary relief as well.

I hope you enjoy this painting...that the summer has been kind to you.  My heart goes out to everyone that has been racing summer, particularly if you haven't been exactly winning the race!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Still Bucking It!

"Low water Morning"
oil painting - 6X12" - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view
 Still bucking this summer heat and drought...even in my work.  This painting was done as a study of the creek here in the valley below the studio.  I often use the term "study" and I often find it can confuse people.  "Studies" are a long held tradition or practice in art.  They are works which serve many purposes.  I use them as a spring board to another painting or work in a larger format...often giving the "study" time to gel in my mind - whether or not I really want to do a larger and more detailed piece or if its really something I'd like to leave "as is" for now.
This painting was inspired in part by the dry summer we are struggling through this year.  I suppose if I were to go to this same spot today, it'd be even lower!  I do like the gravel embankments as an element of this painting - as well as the drama of the early morning light and the longer shadows.  I'm not sure if I'd feel the same about it as the water levels drop even more...but maybe treating the composition and light differently would make an engaging image as well.

We've only had 2 tenths of an inch so far in July here...after less than an inch in June and with weeks of being in the high 90's - some in the low 100's, adding in some days of dehydrating winds, and things are getting nasty!  This isn't on a par of the droughts in other areas though...especially what Texas experienced last year.  Its just affecting more of the continent this year than has been seen in quite some time!

I'm grateful I'm not farming here this summer!  But if I were, the crop insurance would be the only blessing available!

Our native pasture is often my stronghold of inspiration...I'm sorry to say it is not the inspiration of past least not after about 3 weeks back.  The prairie will certainly get through the drought just fine, but the plants are now going dormant as they literally dry up before our eyes!  Another aspect of this is that we'll get little viable seed from the summer drought and heat.  The grasses and flowers are drying up as they go from the flowering stage to fruiting and maturation...many of the warm season grasses are simply losing flowers as they form...all drying up for the season.

Still bucking it here...waiting for some good showers to come our way!  Wishing you a drenching this summer if you need it!!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Drawn to the Water

"July Morning, Waterman Creek"
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view) 

Gathering more material and first hand experiences is very important for any artist...particularly the "first hand experience" part! And lately I really seem drawn to "water"!  

It really doesn't matter what a person chooses to walk, wade, paint, photograph or even immerse themselves into; it is what it should be if it is emotionally or intrinsically satisfying or important to that person's life and/or work!  Don't you think?!!

The past 2-3 weeks have found me "in the drink" Waterman Creek here in the valley, to be more specific.  And loving it!  Why, with the rotten high temps and humidity again in the forecast, I can't think of a better place to be with leaky boots and my tripod and camera...and maybe paint brushes too.  In fact, I think the creek has got me for the easel and drawing board for a good part of my summer yet.

Drawn to water in more ways than one.

Stay cool and happy out there!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Cool Walk on a Hot Day

I'm always looking for excuses to get out into the landscape, but its more of a matter of necessity than simply for a break.  I have to refresh the "idea" pile!

I've told Georgie more than once that I have more ideas than I have time for, but a strange thing happens to many of these Ideas...they don't keep!  Its kind of like putting a perfectly fine loaf of bread in the fridge...only to let it sit way too long; weeks later its only good for raising penicillin!  The same thing (well, sort of) happens to all those great ideas too...they get lost in the "mold" of life!  Sometimes (rarely) the mold can be scrapped of and the idea is salvageable, but usually the idea is far from pleasing any longer and it is expelled into the abyss of the back of my mind somewhere.  

But last Saturday - the last day of June (MG what happens with this "time thing" any more!!?????), I got up before the sun and headed out to a private hillside prairie and after photographing some nice prairie forbs (flowers) I headed down to the creek below.  

This was Waterman Creek, the same little stream across the road from the favorite little prairie "creek" of the neighborhood.  The sky turned out to be too bland for landscape "photography" this mornning however, it was hazed over by smoke from the fires out west (Our prayers go out to everyone affected!).  But the creek was a good alternative..the landscape is "down" in among the banks and trees, leaving the sky as a more secondary element.  I still didn't see very good opportunities for a "photographic" landscape but have to admit I have more ideas for paintings and drawings now!  Have to do something with them though so they don't get all moldy somewhere sitting in the back of my mind before I can use them!

I like walking streams...usually a good deal of wading is in order though, but on a "close" humid summer morning, when the breeze is hard to find, a walk in the water cools the spirit as much as the feet.  Oh, I do wear my hip boots, but they both leak...I don't mind when its hot, kind of like a built in cooling system.  

I often plant my tripod in the stream bed and video tape the scenery...I love the birds singing nearby, along with the water; its incredibly pleasant...I feel my blood pressure ease and the troubles of the world fade away.  I thought I'd share just a few minutes of that with you through the video above.  It may help you see where my head is, and maybe understand how I approach my work.  If you subscribe to this blog via email, you can go directly to the video via the following link - 

Keep cool this summer and don't miss the music!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Breaking Out

"September Dawn, Little Sioux River"
12X16" oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view) 

Time to bust outta this place!  The "studio" I mean!  Been working on all sorts of things a person must, but the prairie, birds and the landscape in general are shouting at me out the windows surrounding my chair and I need to start focusing out there!

The last piece I just finished up this afternoon is actually from a plein air study I did not too terribly far from the studio about 3 years back.  The piece was started outside on the site, but had to be finished that day in the studio because the conditions changed so quickly.  The study can be seen here (below) and can be read about from that original blog from September 17, 2009 -

 The original plein air study
"September Dawn, Little Sioux River"
Oil on mounted canvas - 6X8"
(click on image for a larger view)

Plein air studies are a natural step for a painter...first you do small color studies (paintings) on location, and these serve as guides for further work in a larger "finished" painting - done later in the studio.

I sold the original plein air study of this painting just a couple months after I did it in 2009 so I had to work from an image file I scanned of the original 6X8" plein air study.  That still worked just fine...I wasn't trying to laboriously duplicate the small original, but instead work off of the "impression" the original piece offered as far as lighting, color and composition.  The finished piece is unmistakably done from the original, yet is more refined to reflect my interpretation of that morning...the fog or haze rising off of the river as the early morning, late summer sun, breaks through the atmosphere upstream.

I'm spending what time the Good Lord is granting me, celebrating the landscape surrounding our valley and area of the tallgrass prairie here...celebrating in my paintings, drawings and photography - but its high time to break out of here and get into the summer outside!

Hope you can get out and enjoy this summer!