John Hulsey and his wife, Ann, have spent more than 30 years traveling across the country in search of the perfect site for their rural landscape paintings. Proponents of the “plein air” school of painting, the Lawrence, Kansas, artists enjoy working outside as well as talking with farmers, ranchers and small-town residents to find the most beautiful sights in the best light to capture on canvas.
“I believe there is something more to art than the physical painting of a particular landscape, which is, after all, merely a symbol of the real place,” Hulsey says. “The power of art is its ability to stir in us the experience of the real thing, which is so much greater in magnitude than the symbol of it. This is where the interests of the landscape artist and the rancher intersect. We both look at the land with an admiring, discerning eye, giving our time and attention to all the little details and movements of it. We smell the air, the fresh earth and grass. We listen to the birds singing down in the tree line and hear the cattle lowing in the fields. We note the position of the sun and feel its warmth on our faces. Sometimes, in these brief moments of intense awareness, we are profoundly reminded of our deep connection with nature with a peaceful feeling that all is right with the world.”