December Effects

Nachusa Grasslands, Illinois
Oil on canvas
36 x 60 in. (91.4 x 152.4 cm)

Private collection

A patchy effect is produced as a prescribed fire consumes its way around islands of dampened grasses and melting snow at Nachusa Grasslands. Burned and unburned patches create different habitat opportunities for prairie plants and animals, potentially increasing biodiversity in this restoration while also creating a striking landscape on the day of the burn. The presence of jet contrails adds another dynamic compositional element and also places the scene firmly in the present day. With only four days left before the winter solstice, a low afternoon sun bathes the scene in sunset tones as it shines through the smoke column. During spring burns, when the sun’s position is higher, the effect is less pronounced.

Exhibition History