Prairie Art: Better Than the Real Thing

Pamela Bradner Ohnemus paints “the tall grass prairie…an irreplaceable tapestry of plant and animal life.” A middle school art teacher by career, Pam is an artist by vocation. “The natural landscape has always been a powerful focus of my work,” reflects the artist. “Currently I am conducting on-site research at local prairies, depicting the landscape in paint. Prairies have been reduced to isolated fragments that require conservation and preservation. Less than 1% of the presettlement tall grass prairie remains.”

Pam’s paintings reach into your natural soul with vibrant colors surrounded by luscious greens set in a peaceful atmosphere. Pink, purple, yellow, and blue wild flowers fragrantly tantalize under azure skies. Greens as dark as night and as light as new spring buds complete the healthy texture of nature. Tawny grasses contrast with a rich coffee loam. Tranquil butterflies, contemplative then poised for flight are only a few of the creatures complimenting these exquisite panoramas. Pam tells us, “Macro and microenvironments fill my paintings, engaging the viewer in their detail. Even while painting tranquil scenes, I achieve active color sensations by layering color over complementary underpaintings. My paintings express delicate sensations through subtle texture and natural pattern.”

Living in the Midwest has given Pam, a native of Canada, deep appreciation for the beauty we have all but erased from our heritage. Local botanical centers, wildlife refuges, libraries, and art galleries agree that her work is worth a personal view. It has been displayed in over thirty (30) local, regional, and even international exhibits. Pam brings the prairie alive again as you gaze at each new detail. Each glance affords the opportunity for a fresh perspective to embrace your senses. You stand amongst the grasses feeling the wind on your face, smelling the dusty pollen, and hearing the buzz of industrious arthropods. Transported, you live in the Midwest, too, that tiny part of it that existed back when the buffalo roamed and Native-Americans raised their children in harmony with nature.

Pam lives in Davenport, Iowa, with her husband and two college-aged children, just a couple of hours west of Chicago on the scenic Mississippi River. Visit her website to view sample paintings []. Make an appointment, by email, to view the entire available collection. Or ask about her next exhibit, you will be pleased you made the trip. According to Pam, “I paint dynamic compositions of Midwest prairie remnants so that the viewer can appreciate and see the need of their preservation before they are lost forever.” Be sure you don’t lose out on a once in a lifetime experience.

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