Mudpie is a work in progress, a project of drawings and paintings representing Yellowstone National Park as it might have appeared over the 2 million year span of the Pleistocene. The recent geologic history of Yellowstone is marked by repeated episodes of glaciation, volcanism, geothermal alteration and post-glacial flooding. Flowing ice was the last major influence on a land and topography built from explosive caldera eruptions, rhyolite extrusions and repeated basalt flows. The theme of Mudpie is to depict such events, as they might have been seen subjectively, if a little informed, with some inclusion of the Pleistocene flora and fauna.

Initially, I've hoped to do the artwork in styles akin to field sketches, exploring ideas, as if wandering about the ancient landscapes on foot with an eye to rendering sights found with simple tools. The artwork depicts more recent geologic events existing contemporary with today's familiar landscapes and as well as earlier ones on lands long buried or worn away. The further back in time one tries to go, the more imaginative the images must become.

I landed in Gardener, Montana after wandering down through the glacier-filled Canadian Rockies, first taking up drawing on the dry, stark edge of Yellowstone and then wandering further into paleo-art and image-making over the years. It seems fitting now to bring together two unconnected dots--the direct experience of meeting glaciers and becoming familiar with a glacial landscape where they are no longer present. The work to date is based partially on impressions of places visited, drawings in the field, photographs of vistas in and about the Yellowstone region and ideas suggested from the variety of literature that can be found.

I have to say, the extent to which I could not properly interpret the geology I saw about Yellowstone never ceased to amaze me--it was necessary to dive into USGS papers and look over ice and welded ash flow maps to even begin to understand the geology and ancient events in the park. Something of the tools and resources I came to use are noted in the Aims and Tools portfolio.