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While I have some “hang” time, please indulge me while I wait to hang my exhibit Barns, Bison & Bonnets. While I have had other exhibits, this particular one is somewhat of a milestone for my wife and I.

As a true born and bred Iowan, I won’t bore you with the details, but choosing a career in the arts has its fair share of emotional and financial hardships. I’ve come to the conclusion that these hardships are hardwired into the system and, as much as I detest them, they are necessary to heat, refine and test you. I’m lucky to have the support of a partner who is willing to walk this path beside me. Along with the moxie it takes to live with an artist, she endured living separately for two and half years while we navigated all the transitions.

I will tell you this about life as an artist, there is something inherently gratifying, and wholly American, about putting one’s shoulder against an immovable object and giving it everything you’ve got. You have to empty the tank, and as they say, “If it doesn’t hurt, you’re not doing it right.”

Each of the pieces I selected for this exhibit are curated out of the themes that I have enjoyed creating in oil paint. The barns are something I immediately began painting after I moved to Des Moines, and as a town kid who was born on a farm, they are a security blanket hot out of the dryer. The bison paintings remind me of family vacations, the excitement of wild things, unpredictability and adventure. The paintings of prairie landscapes and prairie people (the bonnets portion) are a gentle reminder of: simplicity, stewardship, and the fortitude of my ancestors. I am not a romantic or nostalgic person, and once they leave my easel, I concede any definition the viewer projects on them.

I am also not an artist who wishes to keep my work, and my biggest joy is when someone enjoys them more than I. I see them as points on a timeline. If you ask me about my favorites, I will only direct you to sections in each one of them where I had growth and inspiration. My reflections and energy are always toward the wet one on my easel and the next five on the drawing board.

Thank you for indulging me, it’s now time to get them out of my living room and into the gallery. Honey, we can use the living room now.

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