This is our online guestbook for Touch the Sky Prairie. Please share your experience by submitting a comment and/or a photo and we will add them here.
“The American story literally grows out of the prairie”
“We can see the prairie the way that the American Indians saw it”
“The prairie is our connection to America’s past”
– John & Karen Deitering
“We always visit in the spring to listen to the (Western) Meadowlark”
Rocks, grass, and sky. What more do you need?
Just like Little House on the Prairie from my childhood!
—Visitor from Japan
In July of 2010, my father and I went for long weekend of painting and camping and painting and then some more painting in Blue Mound State Park, MN . I wanted to go to a place that was new to my eyes. It was windy hot and fruitful. I would leave the paintings at camp on the picnic table, rather than have them collect the dust of powdery country roads. My father became a docent for those who took the long way past the table to gather their water. I had locked in on the place and painted from dawn to dusk. I still had the good fortune of meeting a few of the on lookers when I returned to camp to drop off the paintings.
One conversation led to the creation of this painting. Jim and Judy (Brandenburg) were staying in the campsite across from ours. She greeted me with a warm smile and wonderful complement, “It is nice to see someone doing this right.” We talked a bit and I shared the still wet paintings from the morning’s excursion. She showed me on a map where I would find Touch the Sky Prairie, not far from the state park. I went. Following a meandering path that led me through hundreds of different species of native plants and flowers, I was lost to the wonder of it. This one walk greatly expanded my understanding of what can constitute a wilderness. Every hundred yards or so, it seemed there were new birds and butterflies, flowers and grasses. The ever present wind sounded different at one point, where a spring fire had cleared out all the dry grass of the previous summer. Painting there, wasn’t easy, it was hot, windy, and humid. There was no shade. I packed in about a gallon of water along with the rest of my gear. Out came all my bungees and rope anchoring my umbrella to my gear. The easel had to be lowered leaving me to work sitting down, feeling small beneath a big sky, painting from a place where the wind sounds different.
–Joshua Cunningham, Minnesota artist