Spring Creek Valley c. 1833

Spring Lake Preserve, Cook County, Illinois
2020
Oil on canvas
24 x 36in. (91.44 x 60.96cm)

Private collection

Inspired by Colbee Benton’s 1833 description of a marsh on the nearby Fox River and personal observations of a July 2015 sunrise on Bateman Road at the Spring Lake Preserve, this marsh scene recreates the open view across Spring Creek valley as it might have appeared before European settlement.

… I could but think what a view for a painter of landscapes, the marsh extending as far as the eye could see, covered with the thick high grass, and the little cluster of tall and bright green tamaracks in the center, and the marsh surrounded by groves of oak extending on here and there. Altogether the view was most splendid and far beyond the powers of a painter to describe. (Colbee Benton, A Visitor to Chicago in Indian Days: “Journal to the ‘Far-Off West’”, 1833)

Species depicted include:
Common water plantain (Alisma subcordatum)
Wild mint (Mentha canadensis)
River bulrush (Bolboschoenus fluviatilis)
Narrow-leaved cattail (Typha latifolia)
Water pepper (Persicaria punctata)
Swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)

See Field Museum Field Guide for this painting (page 5).

Spring Lake Preserve location: https://goo.gl/maps/2Fhg9ykpjgH6Lmw47

Studio painting – February.

Exhibition History

Publication History