Somme Prairie Grove

Cook County, Illinois
August 19, 2019
Oil on canvas
8 x 12 in. (20.3 x 30.5 cm)

Private collection

Even rarer than unplowed prairie, ecologically intact tallgrass savannas have virtually disappeared. Among their scattered oaks, diversity could exceed that of adjacent prairies and woodlands, as they drew species from both, while specializing in a few more of their own. Somme Prairie Grove, surrounded by metropolitan Chicago, is both a garden oasis and laboratory of savanna restoration. Volunteer efforts shepherded by Stephen Packard since the 1970s have transformed this badly tattered remnant into a treasure for human and natural communities alike. For the artist, the choices of subject there are many. One August morning, for this field painting I selected the edge of a woodland grove, where a bank of rosinweed, sweet black-eyed Susan, and showy tick trefoil set the stage for a cohort of young bur oaks.

Presented to Stephen Packard by Openlands in honor of his conservation work, 2019.
Canvas mounted to hardboard.

Exhibition History

Publication History