Born and raised in Kansas, Zak Barnes feels a deep connection to the prairie landscape and to the people of the land. This sentiment is the base and anchor of his work and sets the emotional tone for any narrative that plays itself out in his paintings. Influenced by his surroundings, life experience and self interpretation whether working in the studio or en plein aire he finds the rhythm of life that is reflected in his work. Zak finds working en plein aire, meditative as he captures the fleeting moment in paint texture and color, in mood and measure. As the scene changes with each passing moment, demands of concentration, attention and quickness of hand guide his pallet knife to accentuate the moments in color. In the studio, Zak creates dreamlike narratives that are drawn from memory and the landscape becomes a backdrop for human interaction. Folk art, surrealism and contemporary composition create ambiguity in both period and environment. Natural and manmade elements are placed in concert, creating the freedom of a magical story for the viewer to imagine. For Zak it is the movement and emotional space created that is important.