Saturday, April 2, 2016

Again, Some of My Favorite Things...

 "Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum)" - oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison

 As I mentioned in my last blog, I've been thinking and focusing on prairie forbs (wildflowers) and grasses a lot lately.  One of these forbs is found in our native pasture, while the other is not, but is "local" to our area.

This time I've been working in oils and I'm trying to keep these close to "life size", so the painting are small (both 5X7").

The first painting is of a Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum) bloom.  There are many of these plants in our pasture and they are quite the iconic Tallgrass Prairie plant - being anywhere up to 6-7 feet tall!  They also have quite a sturdy stock,  lasting through the winter.  To give you an idea of how sturdy these are, once the snow was out this spring Georgie and I found several of these stocks were used by the local bucks as "rubs" for their antlers!  (Even found a shed out there!)  Its amazing to me that White-tail bucks are using these on their antlers.

 "Michigan Lily (Lilium michiganense)" - oil painting - © Bruce A. Morrison

The next painting is of a Michigan Lily (Lilium michiganense) blossom and I actually did a very small drawing of this same plant a few years back I believe the original color pencil was something like a 1.5X2" miniature drawing.  I went for a life size painting from that tiny sketch.

I used to call these Turk's Cap Lilies but that was not proper as that is an entirely different Lily (although similar in looks).  This is a local native Lily, not found in our pasture requires more of a moist mesic environment than our mostly gravel/well drained soil can provide.  I do believe that another local native Lily would have done just fine in our pasture - the Prairie Lily...sometimes referred to as the Wood Lily (Lilium philadelphicum)...I've found them in both moist and dry soils near our acreage.

We just burned about 1/3 of our pasture a week and a half back, and will be burning another 30% in the next weeks if possible...part of our prairie pasture maintenance; this year leaving 40% for the invertebrates and possible other critters like small reptiles and even amphibians.  We've rotated burning for many years now and its always been our hope we're allowing leeway for species needing a break.  But the paddocks burned are always a showcase for flowering plants and produce great crops of seed - very fun to experience!

Its always nice to have something like the prairie to look forward to each year - giving me some of my favorite things!