Grains within me

While studying environmental art, I reflected upon my own experiences related to the environment and its impact upon me. Largely, these experiences were gained while growing up on our family farm in Iowa, where the environment played an important role in life. The works produced during that study, related directly to those experiences. Some of the topics explored at that time pertained to: earth, erosion, and sedimentation; sights and smells of crops; and wind sounds. Initially, I felt some reticence in creating work about my experiences of the farm, fearing they might be considered too personal or too narrow. Nevertheless, I felt this work to be too crucial and too significant to allow my fears to curb its exploration. Sometime later, I became aware of having frequent recurrences of particular memories and images of the farm—events, places, objects which were indelibly etched in my mind. Sometimes these images occurred during changes in the weather, or seasons; from feelings of alienation, boredom, loneliness; or from missing my family and the farm. The recurrence and clarity of these images, and my personal identification with them, compelled me to focus upon them in my work. Initially, I drew the images, but soon discovered a need to express them in sculpture, which resulted in the first bas relief. I found this method to be a more effective means of expressing the nature and importance of these memories. The subject of this first bas relief (Plate I) was an old earthen root cellar, used to store fresh and canned fruits and vegetables from our orchard and garden. This “cave”, as we called it, was frequented throughout the year. In the fall, it was visited for re-stocking; in the summer, for protection against threatening storms, as a unique respite from heat, as well as a personal hide-away. Working with these first images, through drawing relief sculpture, encouraged additional images from my past to come forth: The Kitchen (Plate II), The Bale Pile (Plates VI & VIII), The Barn (Plate VIII), The Loading Chute (Plate XI), The Oatfield (Plate XII), and others. .. (See more in text)