In Illinois, it’s difficult to find a remnant or restored prairie of a size that allows for landscape-scale appreciation and study—important aspects for an artist aiming to picture the prairie. But it’s not impossible.
From small, overgrazed remnants, first noticed by prairie enthusiasts Doug and Dot Wade in the 1970s, the Nature Conservancy and Friends of Nachusa Grasslands have restored functioning, gorgeous prairie ecosystems to thousands of acres of former agricultural fields and overgrown woodlands near Dixon, Illinois. In those acres, I’ve explored a wide range of prairie aspects, from flora and fauna to prescribed fire and seasonal change, but I’ve been most captivated by the combination of open prairie and wide-open skies.
Location on map of Nachusa visitor center: https://goo.gl/maps/i5e3XBExocqXfP1Y6
Studio painting. – July.
May 1 - September 12, 2021
Chicago Botanic Garden
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.