Osage, Can You See? (2015)

osage can you see

House paint on canvas
30 x 24 inches

This piece was a commissioned trade with Hank Will, who is the Editor-in-Chief of Mother Earth News, and a craftsman of beautiful handmade knives. I asked him a while back if he’d make me a mushroom-hunting knife and he produced the amazing looking knife at left. The handle includes brass, denim, locust burl, bison leather, and pear wood, and the brush is horsehair.


For payment, he requested a painting instead of money, so I made him the piece above. Hank runs a small farm in rural Osage County, Kansas, and I tried to capture the essence of his farmstead by using colors that I’ve seen in rural Kansas. Considering that Hank’s knives are beautiful works of art that are meant to be used, I thought it was appropriate to paint him one of my “utilitarian medium” pieces where I use acrylic latex house paint instead of artist-quality paints. Like Hank, I believe it’s possible to make beautiful art from materials primarily designed to be functional.



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