This painting is both a personal and a public story. It is an attempt to visually define those elements that have served to shape the environment I was born to and the people I claim to come from.
Of course now days most of the Great Northern Plains are packing the veneer of civilization and industrialization what with all the creature comforts at hand and wall to wall cultivation as a partner.
It wasn’t always so, ride one of the larger pastures in bad weather, a fog or a whiteout and all of a sudden it can easily be a hundred years ago or even a thousand years ago.
It is the kind of environment where the drive to survive, without human constructs such as “sentimentality” “fairness” “kindness”, requires a high degree of wildness or the power to endure, the power to persevere.
This wildness has now been pretty much bred out of both man and beast, but not entirely. Maybe that’s a good thing. I know on the downside for civilized folk, it (the Great Plains environment) can, left to its own resources, very quickly rob a person of their humanity.
Not that long ago it very often did hence, the term wildmen . That is wildmen as in people who understand that nature confers life. No more no less. They also understand it is often up to them to make a Hobson’s choice. Go mad or temporarily give up your humanity and hope you make it back.
Some days it is a lot easier just to make a painting.