Welcome to MissouriBendStudio!

This is an online journal of my artistic investigations and a way to communicate about my work, ideas, quandries and queries! I welcome comments and conversation and do hope you enjoy these musings. My artwork is available in my shop MissouriBendStudio on Etsy.com or on my website.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Notes From the Field / April 21, 2016

Greetings....from the southeast corner of South Dakota! I've been in the studio and out of the studio, tending to this thing or that. Wanted to share a couple of things from my recent wanderings and discoveries. But before I do that, just a heads up that I'm in the midst of updating my long-neglected website. It looks a bit more spiffy and is getting updated with the latest work. If you'd like to check it out...have a look-see here!

The other day, since it was such a nice day, I took a drive a bit north out of town to pay the water bill in person (remember this is rural South Dakota). On the way, I had occasion to pass Spirit Mound, which is pictured above, a site located about 6 miles north of Vermillion, rising slightly above the surrounding farmland. Now, I realize this little nob of a tiny hill doesn't look like much, but it's actually quite a historic site! In order to get you in the right frame of mind to contemplate its place in history, I'll present another view below, which I was able to create with the tools I recently discovered on my new phone....oh my, it's telephoning abilities are the least of its charms!

On August 25th of 1804, Lewis and Clark climbed Spirit Mound, which actually is steeper than it looks when you get close to it.  This was quite the daring act, as they had heard from the native peoples in the area that it was inhabited by "Little People" who were "deavals" with very large heads and thus a place avoided by the local native populations. Lewis and Clark had fairly recently set out on their expedition up the Missouri River, starting in St. Louis. As most of my readers know, I live right on the Missouri River myself (stay tuned for more photos), but due to the damming of the river and the fact that it was once a wild and moving one, the river is not actually running in the same location today as it did in 1804. So, while I like to think that Lewis and Clark and their bank of explorers were hanging out on my land, they may have been a couple of miles away. Anyway, the one thing we know for certain, having recorded it in their journals, is that they were at Spirit Mound on August 25th of 1804. There are none here now, but imagine that wide open prairie pictured above teeming with bison and elk roaming wild and free as far as the eye could see. With the westward expansion and the many settlers coming here (even though it is still sparsely populated) in the mid-1800s, the area became used for grazing and  farmland for generations after generation. But in recent years, due to the renewed interest in its history and years of lobbying, the Spirit Mound Trust was formed and the site was designated as a park, with ongoing restoration to return the area to native prairie. You can read more about Spirit Mound here!

Speaking of the Missouri River and discovery...I made my own the other day! We had some interesting storm clouds forming across the river in Nebraska, which my husband snapped with my camera.

I'm not usually one for gimmicks, and though I still consider these little tricks quite gimmicky, I was seduced by the possibilities of transforming a mundane shot into something a bit more interesting.

I am strictly an amateur photographer, which is no doubt quite evident in the photographs of my artwork, but I can see that with a more serious intent and a bit of study and experimentation, one could use these new tools, available on any phone these days, to create something that transcends the mundane and gimmicky. 

Then, with another tap of a button, I realized one could draw or write on the digital photo....oh wow, more possibilities open up! Of course, I've just attuned myself to this digital realm and not sure whether I will explore more closely or not, as it is rather far afield from my comfort zone. And of course, I must have a physical object, so without having a tangible print on paper, I kind of lose interest. Perhaps though, I will see if I can transcend the tricks and see what happens. Thanks for joining me in my field explorations! 


  1. The new ensuite is looking gorgeous Patti - and keep having fun with those photos...

    1. Thank you so much, Fiona! Hope you all are well and thriving!

  2. I have just seen autocorrect at its funniest - that was website not ensuite! 🙄

    1. Ha....that's so funny Fiona! I thought perhaps you were referring to the suite of drawings....it was a new term for me! But, now that I know it was the website (thank you ever so much, autocorrect!) I'm glad to know you like that too! How is it these computers think they know just what we need and want?!


I'm happy to hear from you...comments and questions are welcome!