By Judy Thompson
2010 Artist-in Residence
Homestead National Monument of America
Cottonwood Cows: While at the Homestead, I encountered triple digit temperatures. The hot, humid prairie offered little relief from these extreme conditions except for the few sparse cottonwoods scattered throughout the landscape. Many times on the prairie, trees became personalities which were known throughout the area for their distinct ability to give shade to both man and beast.
I am a visual artist who is fascinated with the beauty and history of the Great Plains. Through my watercolor landscapes, I attempt to capture not merely a likeness of my subject, but also a “sense of place.” The Artist-in-Residence Program provided me with the unique opportunity to explore the history of the homesteaders while being immersed in the native tallgrass prairie. My goal was to create a series of watercolor paintings depicting the prairies during the time of the first homesteaders. My time at the monument included researching existing photos and records, as well as taking my own photos, and creating onsite sketches of the park environment. These references were used to create compelling compositions of the homestead era.
Uninterrupted time to observe, draw, and paint a subject is an artist’s dream. The Artist-in-Residence Program provided me with the exciting opportunity to experience the prairie in a very personal way and challenged me to capture the beauty of the prairie through watercolor. During my time in residency, I created an art journal (sketch book) of plants, animals, landscapes, and skyscapes discovered at the park. I included in this journal my impressions, ideas, and notes. This journal will provide me with artistic inspiration for years to come.
Artist website: http://judythompson.mosaicglobe.com/