We spend vast parts of every day on the Web, emailing, texting, Facetiming or Skyping, on social media, playing video games, and also using traditional media – television, radio and recorded music. So much of our lives are lived virtually that like the proverbial frog in boiling water, we start to see the boil of virtual media as normal life and forget what it was like to live in those precious cooler waters of live, real-time, face-to-face, on-site actual interactions with human beings and environments.
In this issue we feature a great touchstone of our former lives. On the cover and in the spread on pages 26-27 we feature the wonderful landscape paintings by local painter of national renown, Billyo O’Donnell. He and award-winning writer Karen Glines embarked on a project fifteen years ago documented in their book Painting Missouri. Billyo traveled to all 114 counties in Missouri and the City of St. Louis to paint landscapes en Plein Air – capturing the land, sky, flora, fauna and buildings, recording all with paint, by hand, on canvas in real space and in real time.
Karen researched each county and wrote accompanying essays providing historical and contemporary perspective. Billyo’s journals detail the journeys arriving at the locations, weather encountered, what he saw, the painting experience, interesting lives touched and that touched his, learning and emotions along the way. What we learn from Karen and Billyo about the places and experiences adds to the emotion we feel when we see the paintings. I hope you get the opportunity to see the Painting Missouri works live and in person. You can come close by getting your very own quality prints of any painting in the collection, available at www.paintingmissouri.com.