Sometimes it takes me a couple of years to process something I’ve seen and this is a good example. A couple (few?!) years ago Steve Schwartzman and his wife Eve came up this way and I had the pleasure of meeting them in person and showing them some of my favorite places. I had such a wonderful time with them and really hated to see them leave for home. As if to honor their visit, Illinois Beach State Park put on and amazing show, the dunes blanketed with sand coreopsis. I’ve not seen that abundance of bloom before or since so I took lots of pictures.
Recently, I bought a REALLY BIG canvas~it is a whopping 36×48 Inches! Wow! What fun, but also a bit intimidating. Also, it barely fits in my car. ahem. I wanted a subject worthy of so much canvas, so started hunting through my archives of photos and came across the series from that wonderful summer visit. This painting is based on those photos. My goal was to make the viewer feel they were standing right there on the trail, surrounded by sand. The underpainting is a very loose layer of soft colors, which I later allowed to remain visible in places to highlight the open nature of the habitat. Although succession is occurring on the dunes, still the plants are widely spaced because the sand hasn’t accumulated much organic matter yet to support dense foliage. Change has come surprisingly quickly, though. Just over the 24 years I’ve been studying them, I’ve seen the vegetation grow much more densely along there.
Today this painting and a handful of others will be heading up to Kenosha to be part of a month-long exhibit at Lemon Street Gallery. Hope I can get it in the car….