My painting, “Winter Whimsy”, depicting a father and his two young daughters enjoying a North Dakota winter evening will always have a tender place in my heart. My first book cover! It was commissioned by my friend and high school English teacher, Rick Hilber, for the cover of his book, “Down the Highway, a Peace”.
Not only was I incredibly flattered to be asked to paint the cover image, but the process turned out to be quite the trip down sentimental lane! I grew up in North Dakota and have wonderful memories of sliding around on frozen ditches and sloughs with my little sister. (And, just like in this painting, we often had matching snow boots!) The breath-taking beauty of those incredible North Dakota sunsets is something you don’t forget…no matter how many years you have been away. Rick’s poetic words inspired this image, but it grew into being based on mental snapshots from my childhood.
About the book….
The northern Great Plains have given this poet a first canvas for his imaginative art as found in his first published poetry collection. In recent years he has began to struggle with the difficult topics of his home region, primarily the difficulty of life out on the northern Great Plains in what he has termed the “patches.” In these poems are references to the sugar beet patch, the dry land farming patch, the irrigated farm land patch, the ranching patch, the strip mining patch, and the oil patch. The agrarian culture of his home region is a place of core values and spiritual strengths which encourage him to live simply inspite of the new “badlands” left in the wake of the cultural genocide and environmental degradation of the empire builders of the European ascendancy over North America. Here are poems spoken by personae which can be said to each be the masks of the poet Rick Hilber who in creating his poems would have us, poet and reader or listener, step into the shoes of another. This is a poet that trusts that his individual experience is also a disclosure of the demands on each of us in accepting life on whatever terms it is offered us.
“Down the Highway, a Peace” is available as an ebook, paperback, or hardcover. Just click the link!