Lisa, after finishing 3rd in Women's Solo divsion in the 2009 "Gritty Fitty"
race from 8th and Oak Street Ramp in Lawrence to Kaw Point in Kansas City.
Initially, I saw the Kansas River as most people do, an interesting blur as you drive over one of the bridges. Later, with maps, I sought out places where I could get close enough to the river to paint it. There are some beautiful spots but they are few and far between and the views fairly limited.
In 2002 I was flying back from Los Angeles, and as the plane passed over Lawrence I was thrilled to catch a glimpse of the Kaw stretching west into the sunset. This shining, sinuous line coming through the prairies made a deep impression on me. Soon after I had the opportunity to fly the length of the Kaw several times in a small plane to document it with photography and video. The elevation revealed the beauty of our living, dynamic, waterway to me with its huge sweeping bends and ever-shifting sandbars. It transforms itself every day, every season, and with every weather event.
After joining the Friends of the Kaw for several wonderful floats over the years I decided to buy my own boat. Since 2005 I've been exploring the river by kayak and each experience has been magical. There's incredible freedom, silence, and the ability to see wildlife without terrifying it - all in my "backyard!" I've been fascinated with floating, paddling, and the mesmerizing cadence of ripples my boat, the wind, and the current makes.
The Kansas River has inspired several shows' worth of work including prints, watercolors, and oils. In a few major print works I attempted to show all of the major bends of the Kaw as if one were flying the 171 miles from Kansas City to Junction City over the river. My six-panel version is in the collection of the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas in Lawrence.
I've really only just begun to learn about and experience this river. In my future river work I can only hope to find the current and see where it takes me."
"Into the Sun" © 2011
44 x 48 in., oil on canvas
"Kaw Serpentine I" © 2010
6 x 7 in., watercolor
"Kansas River - Moonlight" © 2008
20 x 22 in., oil on canvas
"Big Springs Panels" © 2008
Relief-roll woodcut prints on three panels, 24 x12 in. each
You can also view Lisa's paintings at the following locations:
The Strecker-Nelson Gallery, Manhattan, KSThe Lawrence Arts Center, Lawrence, KS