Here are more of my photographs from my recent weekend up north. They were taken in or around the small towns of Sandstone and Askov, Minnesota, and Danbury, Wisconsin. I didn't set out to photograph red that day, but when I looked through my photographs later I realized that various shades of red kept popping up. Even though it wasn't intentional, the red ends up being a nice contrast to the dull grays that dominated that particular winter day.
I sent out a newsletter last month (you can sign up for future newsletters here, if you are interested) and I talked a bit about this midwest series that I started back in April, The Middle West. I've really enjoyed using this series to share my photographs of the area. Admittedly it has largely consisted of the areas that I frequent in southern Minnesota and northern Iowa, but as I mentioned in my newsletter, I'm hoping to expand this project in 2015. It would be wonderful to grow it geographically to a larger section of the midwest, and I've been dreaming up ways to further incorporate the landscapes and small town scenes into my photography and illustration projects.
I just reread my first post about the series, and it has me excited to dig even deeper in 2015. This project is largely driven by my own nostalgic feelings about the small town and rural area where I grew up, and also the farms and tiny communities where my grandparents lived in southwest Minnesota. I've also been reading a lot of Alice Munro lately, and her stories have been inspiring me as well. She is masterful at describing the people, small towns, and landscape of southwestern Ontario, which sounds very similar to the upper midwest landscape here in the United States. Her stories are fiction, but they have reinforced that there are so many stories to tell, and I look forward to sharing more here in the coming year.
I also find myself winding down a bit as the end of the year approaches. I've been painting a bit less, but I've been reading more, planning, organizing and thinking about the year ahead. It's provided a bit of breathing room to evaluate my priorities and goals. I love thinking about and looking forward to the possibilities of the new year, but at the same, it's been good to look back at the changes, accomplishments, challenges, and hurdles of the last 12 months. I'm hoping that all of it -- the good, the bad, the memorable, the forgettable -- will help me as I move into 2015, and I am excited to see what the new year brings.