Where I’m Looking for water in the Kansas Flint Hills

The morning fog is burning off along Volland Road.

This lucky artist recently spent 10 days in a unique region in eastern Kansas (also Oklahoma and Nebraska) where, because of the underlying geology, the land was long ignored for typical agricultural purposes, leaving the native tall grasses to thrive. Now these “Flint Hills,” and the remaining ancient and untouched tall grass prairie which they support, are treasured and guarded by stalwart residents and outsiders who recognize the value in protecting the land, water, species, history and stories for future generations.

The Tallgrass Artist Residency, for me, provided an opportunity to think about ‘water’ in a place where the tendency has been lack of it! Where is it, what does that mean for us, and how might I visually translate in my own vocabulary, what I find here?….First, to give you the flavor:

IMG_2009croppedThe Volland Store was my home. South of Alma, Kansas, this smartly restored general store once served a thriving community. Today, owner proprietor Patty Reece offers “Art / Community” in the spacious gallery and a Loft for spending nights. I arrived to the evidence of the day’s rain on the table outside.

Mornings I walked up Volland Road, briefly paralleling West Branch Mill Creek…on it’s way to the Gulf… It was in that context of it’s longer journey that the meandering Mill Creek became a fascination and focus of exploration during my residency.

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Relative to the typical rolling Flint Hills landscape, this is greener low country.

IMG_1940The sun is just starting to break through on this foggy morning. (fog=water!)…This view was just across the train tracks that border Volland Store property. The featured image at the top is on Volland Road beyond those tracks.

West Branch Mill Creek, as seen just SW of Volland, in the evening;

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Mill Creek, East of Alma, is robust and colorful, here, looking upstream.

Ripples, reflections, watery favorite. Clouds in the water, Mill Creek south of Alma…from the very wide new bridge.

IMG_1756Also from scenic Hi-way 99 south of Alma, Kansas. Clouds, clouds…

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No water here!  Dry creek beds sometimes indicate dried up springs from ground water depletion, an increasing concern.

 

You are invited:

THE 2017 TALLGRASS ARTIST RESIDENCY SYMPOSIUM, in Manhattan, Kansas, at the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art (10:00 – 2:00), AND TALLGRASS ARTIST RESIDENCY EXHIBITION, in Matfield Green, Kansas, at The Bank Artspace (4:00 – 6:00), both happen on SEPTEMBER 23RD

cropped artworkforBLOGYou will find additional details online or on Facebook…

“Tallgrass Artist Residency”