Saturday, January 21, 2012


"Barry Creek Cache"
color pencil drawing - 6X11" - © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)

The word "cache" is defined as a place of storage, or hide away.  When I think of "cache" I think of a trapper's cache in Canada or know, those neat log cabins built up on stilts so the bears can't get into their provisions!  I painted one of those about 40 odd years ago and it really wasn't a terribly bad attempt :) That was in my "Northwoods Wilderness" days and all I could think of or do related to a life of the voyageur!  Oh, things do change...I guess I 'm as fickle at times as the next person, but the prairie is my final destination by choice and preference...its truly home to me!

Some synonyms for cache are store, deposit, hoard, reserve...the "store" and "deposit" likely best describe what is going on in my latest color pencil study above.  There are places that can be found on many farmsteads of the past and even the present, where you'll see things heaped away from the homes or buildings.  Things like old rolls of barbed wire, cans, tin, scraped cars or trucks, and so on.  These "caches" as I like to call them, are usually long forgotten and no longer used depositories of worn out and no longer useful things.  Most people would simply call them "dumps", albeit small.

These caches are places usually long out-of-use, and grown up with mulberry, ashes, elms and cottonwood trees...hidden from view during the spring, summer and early fall...come winter - its a look back in time when all is again revealed; although more obscured than in plain view.  And most caches are no longer used (added to) as nowadays trash removal and recycling/salvage are common place...a hundred to 75 years ago that wasn't the case.

They may be "dumps" to some but I see them as a storage of past lives and ambitions...broken or failed dreams, or even the excess of success, if-you-will. These are the archeological sites of centuries far into the future...sites for that short burst of civilization just tipping the balance after the industrial revolution moved to the new world.

"Barry Creek Cache" is from the "neighborhood here in SE O'Brien County...a short tick down the road from the studio.  Its a lovely late summer afternoon with lengthening shadows; the cattle have begun grazing again after a hot mid day respite.  The creek is in no hurry now, there hasn't been rain in weeks...the grasses are no longer flourishing but green still stubbornly persists.  

"Barry Creek Cache" is a story; each piece I draw, paint or photograph is a story...I can sit and tell you stories here on this blog, or you can see and hear them here in the studio, "until the cows come home"!  Please don't be in a hurry though, I'd love to hear your stories too!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Early Morning Along the Creek

"Riffles - First Light"
© Bruce A. Morrison
6X12" oil painting - SOLD
(click on image for a larger view) 

Its trying to look and feel like winter here for a change...just a skiff of snow this morning but the temps are more winter-like.  I'll admit I have "some" misgivings about the weather being so mild and unwinter-like lately - but not many!!!

Being just "brown" outside hasn't charmed a "current" landscape out of me yet, so I've been working on ideas from my image bank of last summer...if it can't be a gorgeous winter outside, I'll enjoy summer inside on the easel instead! (Or maybe make believe its winter on the easel sometime this winter yet?)

I just finished a small study along the Waterman in the valley here.  This scene is actually only about a mile and a half downstream from the studio here.  If you were to float the creek during decent water levels, you'd probably reach this spot in an easy 10 minutes.  If you were to walk to it, it'd take about 45 minutes or more.  But as the crow flies, this is just next door!  What a beautiful little stream and valley here - don't pinch me please, I do not want to wake up!!!

I've been doing so many small studies the past 2-3 years; I wonder if I'll ever do some larger works from them?!  Guess that's a fair question I'll ponder some more.

Hope your winter's been nice - enjoy the nice ones if you get 'em!

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Immature Snowy Owl 
Photograph © Bruce A. Morrison
(click on image for a larger view)

OK, the blog heading today is misleading...sort of.  It hasn't snowed here in some time and there's none left around to see because of our unusually warm and dry winter so far.  But - the "Snowys" have come!  

This has been a banner year for a Snowy Owl invasion from the tundra north land!  We've been keeping a watchful eye out and it seems they're every where but in our neighborhood...well that's an exaggeration but it sure seems that way!  We did have one south east a few miles of us get picked up with an injury and taken to a wildlife rehab in the area, but haven't seen any in the valley here.

Well today Georgie and I decided we needed a small break from things here and we headed up to where we'd been hearing of sightings about 40 miles north east of us and we found the first one of the season for us near Spirit Lake in Dickinson County!

The bird is an immature Snowy, you can tell by the very heavy banding...the adult males are evidently the whitest and the females have more banding than adult males...but the first year birds are the most heavily banded.

It was a "little" breezy when we found our first Snowy and the only view I could get close with had the poor bird looking into direct sun, so squinting shots are the best I could come up with unfortunately.  It seemed to be relishing the warm sun though!

I'll post a video here of some different angles and distances...very short video, but thought you'd like to see!

Keep a watch for Snowys this winter!!!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Make Believe?

"Summer Evening Formations"
(9X6" color pencil drawing - © Bruce A. Morrison)
(click on the image above for a larger view)

Its January...we all know that, but I think January doesn't (know it)!  Yesterday afternoon Georgie and I went for our first prairie walk in our native pasture this year.  We sat down on of the north pasture hillside benches and pondered all this. We closed our eyes and tried to describe what month it was; George said it was April and I thought it felt like October!   This winter and past 6 months are breaking records here for lack of precipitation and unusually warm temperatures.  And its 2012 on top of it...that's a bit freaky too!

I figured if the winter and the weather can make believe its some other time in space so can I!  

The small color pencil study posted above is of the valley out in front of the house and studio. Its one of those subjects I find hard to resist (cloud formations), yet holds subject matter I'm not usually inclined to draw (Corn)! I do like the late day shadows as they're cast across the fields out front; couple that with the dramatic eastern sky on a humid summer evening and I can't stay away from it!

I'm diving back in to the work here now that the Holidays and all that work is behind us.  A new solo exhibit coming up this spring...I think I must be crazy!!?  More on that (the show - not my sanity) later. 

Who says you have to go south for nice winter weather?  You can just stay in Iowa this year and simply make believe!  Enjoy it!