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Sep 06, 2019
"We fell in love with the area when the army brought us here. It was love at first sight as I saw the hills for the first time. We were fortunate to make the area our permanent home 28 years ago. We live in a 'little house out on the prairie' so I'm blessed to have it as daily inspiration.
I am drawn to light. Inspiration for my landscape pieces is mostly driven by amazing cloud displays or light and shadow play. I approach each piece with first working out a composition and value sketch. Once I am happy with that I transfer that idea to my painting surface."
"I was born in Kansas, and except for a brief time in high school, have lived on the prairie almost all of my life. I feel connected, I feel grounded to the prairie. I feel my roots going deep beneath its surface.
And I can hear it calling me, when I haven't been out to the Flint Hills for a time-- to be among them, appreciate them, know them. I feel at home on the hills, in the small towns, and on the backroads. I consider my prairie and sky paintings to be autobiographical- about my loves, and my life, and about my joy and hope, my desire.
The first artist friends that I made, I met during Plein air events in Chase county. I have great memories from painting in the Flint Hills. My mom, Jo Flager, and I would take her little motor home out into the Flint Hills and paint for several days, during those events.
Before coming to Kansas 20 years ago, I had always lived in major cities in the Great Lakes. I thought that the Flint Hills were stark and lifeless. As a youth leader, every year I took my kids for a weekend retreat at Camp Tomah Shinga in Junction City. It was on those trips that I came to appreciate the beauty of the Flint Hills – the greens and golds, the redbuds blooming in spring, and the dark skies with stars that seem so close that you could reach up and touch them.
A deep sense of peace permeates in that sacred land. I am honored to have such a heritage with the Flint Hills.
The Flint Hills are in my DNA. My mother, Leota, was born and raised in a stone farmhouse east of Alta Vista. She attended a one-room schoolhouse a quarter mile from the farm, and she went on to graduate from secretarial school. My dad, Harold, was born and raised in Council Grove, and he eventually attended Kansas State University.
My favorite part of creating artwork is getting the initial inspiration. Since my focus (passion) is on the weather, thunderstorms over the Flint Hills in particular, inspiration is constant. When I see a storm developing, I head out and follow it, taking pictures since storms constantly change shape.
I began drawing as a child and developed my own style of art with little formal training. When I arrived in Topeka in 1989 I found access to a wood shop and began experimenting with many different cutout paintings. I still love painting with traditional rectangular shapes, but I'm now known for doing cutouts.
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