The tradition of scrubbing streets began at the first festivals and 75 years later remains one of the most popular events. It led me to thoughts of painting something associated with that activity. I felt a genre painting of a father and son carrying water would be a natural subject to paint–a subject that at first glance seems simple and commonplace, but in reality says much about our shared
experience as descendants of those who worked so hard to make this place special.
In the oil painting, the sun has recently set and a warm summer glow washes over the landscape. An iconic Dutch windmill is seen in the distance and a long path extends from the mill toward a father and son in the foreground. Both are dressed in the simple clothing of the province of Volendam and the father carries buckets of water with the traditional yoke to help lighten load. The curious son, always wanting to be at his father’s side, is seen taking a curious peek inside the bucket.
I wanted to communicate a number of things through this simple scene of life as it was in the Netherlands of old. The painting stands alone as a straightforward glimpse into everyday life, but there are symbolic portions of the painting, which represent some of the things that make Orange City unique.
•I chose the simple attire of the province of Volendam to signify the strong Dutch work ethic that embodied settlers of NW Iowa and the same work ethic that thrives today.
•The winding path connects and leads from the present where the father and son stand, to the past with roots in the Netherlands.
•Those who settled in Orange City were people of faith. The father
showing the water to his son is symbolic of the faith he passes to his son. The Living Water continues being shared from generation to generation.
• God’s faithfulness and care are represented by the sparrow, by the sheep in the distant field and by the wild flowers growing along the path.
Joyfully you’ll pull up buckets of water from the wells of salvation. And as you do it, you’ll say, “Give thanks to God. Call out his name. Ask him anything! Shout to the nations, tell them what he’s done, spread the news of his great reputation!” –Isaiah 12:3-4
Two options of prints of the work are available for purchase at the Tulip Festival office. The first option is a traditional print on sterling paper, 75 of which are hand signed and numbered. The paper is sized at 22”x22” and the print at 18”x 18.” The signed prints are $50 each and the unsigned prints are $30 each. Print number 1/75 will be framed and auctioned off at the grand opening of Stadscentrum later this spring.
A canvas print of the work, sized at either 24”x 24” for $275 or 30”x 30″ for $325, can also be ordered through April 30.
Prints of the work can be ordered by calling the Tulip Festival office at 712-707-4510.