Artists as Historians

Bowersock Dam – Acrylic – 16″ x 24″

November 19, 2012

The above painting was done from a photo I took early in 2011.  I needed a new painting for a show I wanted to enter.  There was snow on the ground and I went out taking pictures.  I was amazed at how beautiful Bowersock Dam looked surrounded by snow and frozen water.

But that was then.  This year a new large rectangular structure has risen on the dam site.  The purpose of the new building is to house the equipment necessary to produce more electricity from the water flowing over the dam.  Environmentally, more power from a renewable resource  is a good thing.  But the dam now looks nothing like it did when I painted it, which was the way it had looked for many years.  My painting is now part of a historical record.

I have other paintings that are historical too.  I often paint in the country and farming has changed so much.  When I was growing up barns, silos, and windmills were common sights on Midwestern farms.  Some still exist and I have included them in some of my paintings.  The barns often look rather dilapidated because it has been so long since they were used.  The same can be said for windmills.  I know that some of the barns I have painted no longer exist.  But my paintings provide a glimpse into what like on the farm used to be like.

You can see the above painting in the 1109 Gallery in downtown Lawrence during their show which begins Nov. 21.  I’ll also have some small paintings at the Holiday Art Fair at the Lawrence Art Center on Saturday Dec. 1.  I hope to see you there.

I cannot know when I choose a subject for a painting how long it will continue to look the way that I saw it.  I may unknowingly be leaving a historical record.

 

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