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The Mississippi River Valley Series began as a response to a request for proposal from Dubuque’s new Grand River Center. If it were not for this specific building, the Mississippi River, and surrounding land, this series would likely not exist. (Continued at bottom of page.)

Cradle of Civilization


Mississippi River Valley 1

Mississippi River

Valley 2

Mississippi River Valley 3


Mississippi River

Valley 6

Meander Cast Bronze

Double Meander 1

Mississippi River Valley 4

Mississippi River Valley 4 Aluminum Sculpture


Mississippi River Valley 5

Meander 2


Double Meander 2


Meander 3

Meander 4

Meander 5


At the time I made my first site visit to the as yet unfinished Grand River Center in the summer of 2003, I was working on a series of paintings inspired by carved relief panels from ancient Mesopotamia that I had sketched while visiting the Brooklyn Museum of Art. I was using irregular lines similar to lines where the stone panels had been broken, shapes reflective of stylized figures, and series of parallel lines used in cuneiform writing, the first form of writing developed by Man. In completely unrelated moments I had also been thinking that I would like to do an abstract painting of the concept of a meandering river. I used all of this thinking and my feelings about the Grand River Center to create the first work in this series, Meander.

In determining the color palette to use I departed from the very bright colors I had been using on previous paintings and based color choices on the natural colors of sky, water, earth, vegetation, limestone, and river stones. The range of colors of river stones particularly intrigued me when both dry and wet.

When making choices on shape I found that many of the shapes I had been using in previous paintings worked perfectly. The horizontal lines of cuneiform writing suggested horizontal lines of limestone in bluffs or furrows in fields. Irregular lines of broken stone suggested irregular tree lines or the lines of creeks separating fields. Areas of compositions may suggest an aerial view and at the same time suggest a side view of land driving along roads cut through the river bluffs.