Barbara Kieffer Rowe
Black Hills Artist
The Comfort Zone

Crystals

Crystals

On a high jagged ledge, I view beyond and soulfully experience the 1.8 million-year-old granite of the Black Hills. Feelings resound with beauty and wonder of geological processes that formed a multitude of environments including intrusive magma, transgressive seas, wind-blown sand, and tropical sediments.

Erosional processes allow me to view ancient environments with curiosity, creatively capture images in my artwork, and share them with others to connect with incredible geological forces.

The Comfort Zone

The Comfort Zone

Acrylic and Fossilized Abalone Specimens | 7” x 5” | $285

Perhaps relaxation and comfort occurs while sitting on bright rocks overlooking the rhythmic flow of abalone currents. Unusual forms, fanciful colors, and spontaneous washes combine in this imagined place in time. The solid rocks were cut from the board like a jigsaw puzzle and hoisted in low relief above shimmering currents and alluring mountains.

Marcasite Moon

Marcasite Moon

Acrylic on Board | 5” x 7” | $295

As chemical and physical conditions align, layers of embedded shales are potential hosts to “marcasite dollars.” This sulfide mineral form served as a catalyst to fire my imagination. Color, fibrous habitat, and the quirky cock’s comb appearance of marcasite came to life with line and texture. Miners referred this as a marcasite sun; I chose to suspend the image as a two-dimensional moon floating in an illusional landscape.

Splash Copper Trees

Splash Copper Trees

Acrylic and Splash Copper Specimens on board | 23” diameter | $2,900

The beauty and elegance of copper encouraged my commitment to this lustrous metal resulting in a “splash copper” painting. Copper is heated to 2200 degrees F, poured into straw and when cooled, a chemical patina is applied before polishing the metal. Acrylics and alcohol inks spontaneously flowed around the copper, resulting in birch foliage that presses against an aqua sky as white trunks enter a void of warmth.

Blaze at Stockade Lake

Blaze at Stockade Lake

Acrylic and Malachite Crystals | 16” x 11” | $750

Ponderosa pines of the Black Hills are constantly in sight and consistently in the visual of my mind. Creative thoughts leaped between green luminous malachite crystals to pines resulting in an image of embedded crystals fingered by mystical clouds and reflected on still waters of Stockade Lake, Custer State Park. This acrylic painting captures a haze of cool serenity and hints at the remembrance of past fires within the Park.

Black Hills Profile

Black Hills Profile

Acrylic and Azurite Crystals | 8” x 8” | SOLD

The tallest peak in the Black Hills delivers a breathtaking view with every return trip from Rapid City to my studio near Rockerville, SD. The magnificent granite profile reflects sunshine that dances in my face and deeply shelters in shadows. Embedded azurite crystals join acrylic paint to form a monumental image of Black Elk Peak. Paintbrush strokes release whispy cirrus clouds, green diagonal shores, and surreal images secreted in cool water.

Roots through Rocks

Roots through Rocks

Acrylic and Jasper Specimens on board | 27” diameter | $3,850

Pine tree seeds miraculously germinate on rock surfaces and saplings forcibly extend roots downward through rocks and soil in a search for water and nutrients. This life quest for longevity was visible when snow and wind downed a mature tree near my studio, exposing a massive root structure clutching fragments of rock. Gnarled roots in this circular painting emerged with sweeping strokes of magenta backed by smoky greys. Detailed brushstrokes document a growth of twists and turns. The encapsulated jasper rocks glow with saturated reds, purples, and mauves.

Proustite and Silver

Proustite and Silver

Acrylic and Metal on board | 15” x 30” | $1,285

Scarlet crystalline faces of proustite visually lift me to a color high. These rare hexagonal crystals fade in sunlight; to conjure a time out of mind, sculpted crystals were created with acid-free mat board. Strokes of layered acrylic paint detail vivid linear striations and reflected prisms within the crystalline forms. Proustite is a mineral ore and, as such, chrome plating represents the embedded “silver.” This art piece shares the beauty and addictive allure of proustite while attaining a reflective degree of permanence.

Quartz and Gold

Quartz and Gold

Acrylic, Styrofoam, and Metal on board | 15” x 30” | $1,285

Quartz is a predominant mineral within the 1.8 billion-year-old granite of the Black Hills SD. Molten magma emerged from the Earth’s mantle and cooled over thousands of years near the Earth’s surface. This mountain forming event flowed through my mind resulting in this mixed-media piece. Milky quartz was formed by sculpted Styrofoam and painted with translucent layers of acrylic paint. Quartz veins serve as a host for gold, and the miner’s mother-load in this artwork is represented by a metal alloy.