Seasonal view 1 of 6 at Doug’s Knob, a high-quality hilltop prairie remnant and small oak grove at the heart of the Nachusa Grasslands, Illinois (see all six below):
May 11 was too late to see pasque flowers and a little early for shooting stars, but new green shoots emerging en masse from the formerly barren surface more than conveyed the feeling of the season. Wind, light rain, and sleet hampered my initial progress on this painting, but it was completely halted by the arrival of Nachusa’s bison herd. With the leading animals coming around the hillside, I packed up and returned to the safety of my utility vehicle. Those appearing in the composition are based on photos I took as I was leaving.
Woodchuck excavations are an interesting feature of this scene. The active burrow near the arriving bison can also be seen in the September view, but the many abandoned mounds from years past, located at the upper right of the hillside, will soon disappear as the season’s foliage progresses.
Finished in the studio, November 2019.
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.