The Elemental Prairie: Sixty Tallgrass Plants

Overview

"Elemental" is the perfect word to describe George Olson's watercolor drawings of the plants of the tallgrass prairie. Delicately precise yet filled with vigor and color, they present the prairie in its individual elements and--taken as a group that celebrates the hues and textures of tallgrass wildflowers and grasses--in its seasonal abundance. In The Elemental Prairie, the combination of George Olson's luminous drawings and John Madson's eloquent essay "The Running Country" encourages us to look at the prairie world with newly appreciative ...
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Overview

"Elemental" is the perfect word to describe George Olson's watercolor drawings of the plants of the tallgrass prairie. Delicately precise yet filled with vigor and color, they present the prairie in its individual elements and--taken as a group that celebrates the hues and textures of tallgrass wildflowers and grasses--in its seasonal abundance. In The Elemental Prairie, the combination of George Olson's luminous drawings and John Madson's eloquent essay "The Running Country" encourages us to look at the prairie world with newly appreciative eyes. For some years Olson has focused almost exclusively on the grasses and wildflowers of the North American prairie, meticulously reproducing their elemental structures and colors while--proving once again that art can both imitate and enhance nature--emphasizing their magical loveliness. By painting certain species in their winter and summer "plumages," he reveals the plants' stark wintry framework as well as their more glorious warm-weather beauty. The Elemental Prairie presents sixty glowing images of tallgrass plants, from the familiar purple coneflower and black-eyed susan to the less-often-seen rattlesnake master and compass plant. Together Olson and Madson, two dedicated prairie restorationists, one using images and the other using words, create a living prairie in all its brilliance.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Artist George Olson has a special affinity for sketching plants of the vanishing American prairie. The fine results of his assiduous efforts are an excellent companion to John Madson's absorbing and informative essay on the North American prairie. Together, Olson and Madson are the ideal authors for this satisfying book, an aggregate of art, plants, and history."—James J. White, curator of art and principal research scholar, Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation

"Capturing the spirit of individual prairie plants in a way that is both moving and beautiful, George Olson here presents a sensitive and loving visual memoir of the plants that now survive mainly in small patches of natural grassland and glades. A book to be appreciated by all who love nature!"—Peter H. Raven, director, Missouri Botanical Garden

"George Olson and John Madson are the artist laureate and poet laureate of the prairie. They capture its beauty, complexity, and magic in ways that allow us to really see and feel and understand this uniquely American habitat and all that it represents. The Elemental Prairie's compelling mix of illustration and text make it one of the best natural history publications I have seen in a very long time."—Robert McCracken Peck, Senior Fellow and Librarian, Academy of Natural Sciences

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780877459422
  • Publisher: University of Iowa Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2005
  • Series: Bur Oak Book Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 104
  • Sales rank: 673,884
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

George Olson recently retired from the faculty of the College of Wooster in Ohio, where he taught art from 1963 to 2000. His prairie plant studies have been shown widely in the U.S. and England, includ-ing more than thirty one-person exhibitions at such venues as the British Museum (Natural History), the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Chicago Botanic Garden, and the Royal Horticultural Society. John Madson (1923-1995) is considered the father of the modern prairie restoration movement; his books include Where the Sky Began (Iowa reprint 2004), Up on the River, Stories from Under the Sky, and Tallgrass Prairie.

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