Art, Art History and Design, School of


Date of this Version



Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska

In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Fine Arts

Major: Art

Under the Supervision of Professor Keith Jacobshagen


"I walked into the landscape as with a Bible in my hand." -John Constable

This thesis project is, in its simplest terms, a study of the landscape. More specifically, it is a study of the spring and summer landscape of certain parts of the Northern Central United States. I have long held a personal fondness for this region, and this study has allowed me to delve deeper into the visual aspects of these places. The vivid, brilliant colors of the Northern landscape which come alive in the weeks following the long and often harsh winter are the constant reminder of the rebirth and regeneration of Creation. This exhibition is comprised of two parts: a small series of charcoal drawings depicting the barren leafless limbs of winter, and a larger series of oil paintings of the lush colorful explosion that is spring and summer. The overall compositional theme as it relates to the subject is also twofold. This twofold theme consists of a number of works with a close and somewhat intimate subject in a shallow space and often ambiguous background, and the remaining works which juxtapose the density of vegetation to the openness of the surrounding landscape. Charcoal was chosen as the medium for the winter subjects, with its colorless grey scale being used to convey the mood of a somber winter day, and the medium itself being perfectly suited to any compositional or illusional rigors necessary for the intended visual translation. Oil paint was likewise the preferred medium for the spring and summer works, as it can readily convey the colors and lighting of subjects ranging from a soft fern hidden in wooded shadows, to a sunlit lake shore with glints of light flashing on the moving water. To better present these themes, I have organized the two-dimensional space with a conventional compositional series of horizontal, vertical and diagonal elements which lead the viewer around the image as well as into the illusional space itself. The purpose of this compositional schema is simply to provide a framework over which the subject can be set, to afford maximum visual stability. The goal is for the shapes of the individual subject members themselves (i.e. trees, clouds, waves etc.) to work together to form this compositional structure, and be thereby fully integrated. It is my intention that through this design plan all of the images will be interrelated, regardless of the subject at hand.