Like most people who live in tornado alley, I’ve seen my fair share. The truth is, lives are irrevocably changed by tornadoes. They are ferocious beasts of twisting, beautiful wind, laying bare the world. The best tornadoes skip along the open prairie, harming none, and mesmerizing us with their intensity. The worst, leave a path of destruction. My rendition invites you to consider whether the energy coiled deep within you is used to destroy or dance upon the world. Made of stone, prairie plant ash, clay, rust and paint.
One of my favorite sayings attributed to Martin Luther is even if I knew that tomorrow the world would end, I would still plant my apple tree. What a lovely affirmation in uncertain times, for it draws us toward the innate goodness of things. My rendition of a garden patch invites you to consider what seeds you wish to plant. With stone, rust and paint.
In the midst of life’s curious and sometimes harsh ways, I turn to English anchoress Julian of Norwich who said, “All shall be well. All shall be well. And all manner of things shall be well.”
To me, the cross symbolizes faith but also a visual reminder of the path we walk, often finding ourselves at a crossroads in difficult times. I chose the color goldenrod to represent glorious sunrises that eventually bring an end to even the darkest night. It has stone texture embedded with wheat harvested from the Tatkenhorst family farm near Natoma, Kansas and is glazed with the fresh ash of Eastern Red Cedar and white prairie sage for purity. I ladened it with with organic rust to remind us time is fleeting.
May it inspire you to walk confidently in hope and good spirit.
SOLD to an amazing Kansas farm family.
I call this dreamy Moon of the Kindred Spirits, for it celebrates springs blossoms. Now is the time the natural world puts away winter’s mantle, and steps from solace and quiet into light. The plant and animal spirits are gathering in community for a new season of growth. Made with stone texture, paint, rust and fresh prairie plant ash to inspire kinship and dreaming.
I call this painting Moon of the Wise Woman because it honors the last full moon of winter, the end of the dark season of the year. I painted it in the days leading to the full moon of March 2020, a super moon full of promise and an invitation to put into action what we have learned. The painting is a mysterious dark green-grey, like old slate covered with golden moss. To me, it looks like ancient stone that has endured through the ages. The color was created from the alchemical process of paint oxidizing with iron to create rust on weathered paint.
March coincides with the annual burning of the prairie, so I incorporated the ash of hand-gathered Indian grass, Eastern red cedar, field yarrow and prairie sage. I was surprised in the end that the painting actually closely resembled the color of the dried yarrow, an ancient herb symbolizing healing, power and protection. The painting spent time in the elements under a strong Kansas wind to blend the drying rust organically.
May this moon inspire you to acknowledge the gift of wisdom and the promise it gives.
A piece for the upcoming McPherson College show celebrating the women’s suffragette movement. It’s called They Promised Her the Moon. Inspired by my great grandmothers, who like many women, left home and journeyed West toward a new life. By day, women walk diverse paths, but at night we gaze at a common moon. A shared time to gather ourselves before beginning again. In honor of this sisterhood, I created a large moon of stone texture embedded with grain to represent growth. Rust to symbolize the fleeting nature of time and a glaze of Kansas quartz for love. It has the cleansing smoke of hand-gathered prairie sage to inspire wisdom on our path.
This celestial piece honors the Moon Before Yule, the Anglo-Saxon name for the full moon that occurs close to the ancient winter solstice celebration. My rendition holds the spirit of the long night. It is made of hand-laid stone texture embedded with organic corn to symbolize plenty and painted with acrylic and iron oxidized to rust to represent fleeting time. It is smudged with wild prairie sage to welcome new beginnings.
A nod to limestone fence posts that dot the prairie land, built by pioneers because there were no trees. The canvas is 1930s Depression Era flour sack found in a rural antique store. I used hand-ground Kansas slate, sandstone and burnt wild sage to depict the rugged fields, leaving the sack logo as a full moon on a brightly lit night.
In the long winter evenings he talked to Ma about the Western country. In the West the land was level, and there were no trees. The grass grew thick and high. Laura Ingalls Wilder
The prairie fades to soft yellow just as winter arrives, the final iteration of tall grass that began long-ago as bright green shards. It is nature’s loving gift to us, this calm softness amid a season that is cold and harsh. At such times, the earth reminds us there is a season for all things, and now is the time for rest and stories by the warm fire. This piece has several layers of stone texture, paint and iron oxidized to rust to remind us time is fleeting.