Blazing Stars to Racine Art Museum

Blazing Stars along Dead Rivier

http://www.zhibit.org/melissabluefineart

A couple of summers ago the Blazing Stars blazed brightly at Illinois Beach State Park.  They made a spectacular show, and I’m so glad I was there to witness it.  My soul is happiest when I am able to drink deeply of the beauty I find in one special place, and it has been amazing to see what nature has offered up for me over the past, er, several years.  I’ve seen wonders, such as the time the Dead River blew out it’s sand bar, creating sine waves far out into Lake Michigan.  Some years one plant is ascendant, other years it might be rare turtles.  What a great journey!

I see my life as a quiet one, hunkered down in one spot, learning to see it deeply, celebrating it in paint.  Pursuing my career pushes me out into the wider world, however.  This doesn’t come easily…I read the business books and quail at the advice.  Mailing list?  Newsletter?  EEK!  What I have found is that I can fold my career right into my life until it is a natural extension of myself.  Focus, and do the next thing.  The next step always appears, as if by magic.  It has also become an interesting journey.  Most recently, it has led to my being invited to take this painting to the Racine Art Museum to be part of their rental and sales program.  I’m so excited!

Hickory Tree Along the Des Plaines River

Hickory along the river

http://www.zhibit.org/melissabluefineart

This seems like a good morning to look back, while I wait for the snow to melt and for things to green up.  And other things to start flying around and biting (sigh)  🙂

Fifty years ago the Lake County Forest Preserve District voted to preserve a green corridor along the Des Plaines River.  It would run from the Wisconsin border all the way through the county to the bordering county to the south.  I have just read that the last piece has been purchased now, and nearly all of the trail has been completed.  An incredible array of habitats have been preserved, rich in biodiversity.  It took a great deal of thinking ahead, and nurturing of relationships with landowners along the way.

This painting isn’t that old, but I did paint it some years ago.  It still stands as one of my favorites.  I have seen wonderful things in my walks along the Des Plaines River Trail, among them these wonderful old Shagbark Hickory trees watching out over the river.  I love their gnarly look and their peeling bark.  They were one of the first trees I “met” when I became involved with ecological restoration many years ago.  When I see one I am swept back to those exciting days when learning leapt out of the classroom and into the field, and I met people who shared my passion.