Thursday, December 3, 2020

Long Time Passing
 A visual chronicle of farm life in the Midwest, past and present
  Paintings by Roberta Condon and Lorraine Ortner-Blake
I hope you will be able to visit this traveling exhibit as it tours the Midwest in 2021 and 2022 Here are some of the venues:
April 18 through August 1, 2021
Rahr West
610 N. 8th Street Manitowoc WI 54220
October 12 through November 20, 2021
Kavenaugh Gallery, Fine Line Creative Arts Center

37W570 Bolcum Road, St. Charles, IL 60175
January 10 through March 4, 2022
New Visions Gallery

Marshfield Clinic, Marshfield WI 54449

Together, Roberta Condon and I tell the story of the Midwest farm, past and present through paintings. Roberta’s 26 pastel paintings, titled “American Pastoral,” present the incredible beauty of our farming landscape. They also reflect the changes in our rural culture as agriculture shifts away from small acreage family farms. I'll link to her paintings when they are posted.

My paintings look back at family farming through the eyes of my mother, as well as my childhood on a dairy farm. The paintings are small, about 10 inches square, done in gouache. They illustrate our lives on Midwest farms of the 1930s through ‘70s.

Here are some of the 28 paintings:

Making rugs from rags
Picking peas

Picking mustard from the oats

A big back yard

Blue cows at dawn

A new step-saver

Dad gave us 200 baby chicks for our wedding

They talked about delivery, I listened in

Dad told us to pick corn, the horse knew the way

A thousand blackbirds

Peggy's wedding was in 1974
Grandma in the garden

Music lesson

The last load of hay

Doing calligraphy for the church

First day at public school

Walnuts in winter

Chicken plucking

We had a big cucumber patch that year

Winter hill

I've gathered these and more paintings together in a book called "We Always Had Chickens."


This book is a window into a time of small farms and big families, told by word, photograph, and painting. There are twenty-eight full-page paintings illustrating life on a 20th-century Midwest farm. 
Memory is notoriously unreliable, so to back up these primitive, sometimes whimsical paintings, are stories from many of the players in those adventures, plus nearly 100 photographs of a lifetime of farming.