I grew up on the very edge of suburbia where abandoned rail yards and old farm buildings were a quick bike ride away. When I wasn't in school, I spent my childhood poking around those places and the prairies and woods that surrounded them. I can still vividly smell the creosote, the rust, and decades-old dried newspaper. I can hear the buzz of insects and the hiss of the wind in tall grass.
My pursuit of an education and career took me away from all that - and while they provided for a home and family - I always felt a vague sense of disconnect - a sense of being adrift during those years.
When I was offered a sabbatical to paint a few years ago, I designed a project the aim of which was to re-connect with that world I grew up in: the one that is year by year giving way to concrete and neon. Every day for four months I went out to explore, sketch and paint. Along the way, I discovered that farmland and prairie provide me a strong sense of place in this world - they are the fabric of my childhood - indeed my life.