A Profile in Plough Quarterly

My family and our work were humbled to be featured in the most recent edition of Plough Quarterly.  There is a profile by Susannah Black, and a feature on Go On: Inner Man Version, an altarpiece I made back in 2003, and also an excerpt of my responses to some questions about our lifestyle, called Farming the Universe.  If you choose to take the time to read some or all of them, I sincerely hope that you enjoy them.

Go On, Inner Man Version, 2003, oil on wood panel, closed position
Go On, Inner Man Version, 2003, oil on wood panel, open position


Walking Man, Jonah, and The Ancient Ocean

Walking Man, Jonah, and the Ancient Ocean, oil painting on a poplar panel by Jack Baumgartner, 14.5″ x 22″, 2017
Upper panel, Walking Man striding through the arch
Lower panel, Jonah, swimming, yields to the sea monster
detail of the upper panel, with barn owl, Burr oak and cliffs.
Upper panel detail with symbolic structures
Lower panel detail of Jonah

The completion of a painting generally means a decision to stop working on it, otherwise the cycle would never end.  This painting, which was begun in October of 2009 reached that generally unheralded milestone of “completion” this fall, 6 years later.  Technically, the work is not entirely done, as I have yet to build the frame for it, which, especially for my panel paintings, represent a significant part of the presentation and outer composition.  I hope share some of the meaning behind this painting at some future date.


The Farm in Mid-Summer

celebrations of lucerne and other legumes, solar crescents, roots, and the husbandry of even toed-ungulates

sward of chicory, crimson, and white clovers
inquisitive crossbred pig in a paddock of rye and vetch
hampshire pig eating bolted chicory
improvised by a previous farmer, well worn window weight cover chains
nitrogen nodules formed on alfalfa (lucerne) roots
lucerne (alfalfa) roots and crown, pulled from the vegetable garden
garlic, un-earthed
root fire works
sonar malfunction (?) allowed us a daytime visit from a strange and fierce nocturnal beneficient
windrows in the alfalfa (Medicago sativa) meadow
the rusty old New Holland swather in contrast eating alfalfa
I read once that the Arabic word from which the name “alfalfa” came meant “best fodder”
Louis Bromfield justly brought attention to its role as a soil healer. It seems to live up to its names, feeding livestock, pollinators, humans, the soil and its inhabitants, and the atmosphere.
I feel grateful that I get to farm my own patch of lucerne. In the background is a mobile chicken coop with laying hens working the perimeter of the meadow. We’ve learned that alfalfa is a key ingredient in good eggs.
the angus bottle baby
bellows for milk
lambs in the illuminated profile of humid dawn
the young shepherd studies his flock
compact paddocks of soybeans and milo forage, bloody butcher field corn, and the Quonset barn looking at home in the landscape
the great blue heron disturbed from his breakfast, as we head across the creek to do the morning chores
sun in hand
interplay of lensing leaves and the light of 92% totality
solar shield
the image of the solar eclipse projected through on half of pair of binoculars proved to be the most successful of viewing contraptions
photographing under the helmet, layers of eclipse and lense
contractions of the dry months
elevated mundane details; oxidations of copper and steel
a barn that is part celebration of geometry, part dog house
the colors of the barnyard hens grouped together over their dawn ration
wax goldenweed of the many cousins in the sunflower family
emergence of the inflorescence of Indian grass
dr. Seuss hairdo of thistle
snouts and ears
coreopsis growing in a wheat field we are converting to perennial pasture

Walking Man Sketches

Walking Man Eats Alfalfa Roots
Walking Man Listens To the Roots Talking To One Another
Walking Man Looks Backwards Into Time
Walking Man Hefting Bodark Roots and His Water Pot
Walking Man Encounters the Spirit of the Lord In a Night Heron
Night Heron Detail
Walking Man Finds Strength and Purity and the Morning Dew
Tools of the Mystic (The School of the Transfer of Energy Lexicon)
Ministers of Beauty (S.T.E. Lexicon)
Hyper-Symbolic Tools for Use in the Transfer of Energy (S.T.E. Lexicon)