The undulating hills of Kane County spread out over 500 or so square miles to the west of Chicago, and they share the same weather patterns as the city: hot and humid summers, brutally cold winters. Perhaps I should have said, “used to share,” because global warming changes have affected local weather patterns in unpredictable ways, no matter where you happen to be. However, I imagine Chicago and Kane County still share at least one thing in common: growth.
What captured my imagination years ago when I painted this image, were the shapes of the fields and rich black dirt, two ravens flying west, patterns of newly-fallen snow, and clouds massing on the horizon for another storm. Most of the animals that used to live there — rabbits, foxes, squirrels and pheasants, for example, aren’t visible in the painting. But in the distance you can see tiny, mechanical, rectangular shapes, like little teeth. At the time, they were the edges of waves of housing developments that spread relentlessly over the hillsides of “greater Chicagoland,” as it was often called.
As a boy, I sometimes wandered over those fields. For many years I haven’t wanted to return to them again, to paint them. Probably this is fear that they no longer exist.