Two paintings that were completed one right after the other, Flame Front Arriving and Flame Front Departing, illustrate one of my favorite field painting experiences. First, I worked from the “green,” staying about a hundred feet ahead of the wind-driven flame front, with all my gear on my back or on the easel. Then, after stepping over the diminished flames when the wind dropped (wearing fire-resistant boots and Nomex clothing), I switched canvases and painted from the smoldering “black,” following behind the flames. I moved my easel about a dozen times over a few hundred yards to finish both paintings. A small dirt road served as a handy escape route should I have needed it, a level of safety practiced while painting all of the works in my series from Nachusa.
Read an overview about my work with prescribed fire at Nachusa.
Painted on location. Canvas mounted to hardboard.
May 1 - September 12, 2021
Chicago Botanic Garden
September 22, 2021
HQ Barn at Nachusa Grasslands
Franklin Grove, Illinois
The Long View: Prairie Paintings from Illinois Nature Preserves
June 9 - October 21, 2023
Illinois State Museum - Lockport Gallery
201 West 10th Street, Lockport, Illinois
Picturing the Prairie: A Vision of Restoration
Published in conjunction with Philip’s 2021 exhibition at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Contributors include: Philip Juras, artist and author; Hank Paulson, foreword; and Stephen Packard, essay. Published by Little Bluestem Press, Athens, GA, 2021.