Alumnus' work featured at Great Plains Art Museum

"Summer Grasses," a watercolor painting by Richard Schilling. Courtesy image.
"Summer Grasses," a watercolor painting by Richard Schilling. Courtesy image.

An exhibition featuring the watercolor paintings and ink sketches of Richard Schilling is open through Sept. 15 at the Great Plains Art Museum. The exhibit, “Portraits of the Prairie: The Land that Inspired Willa Cather,” features work from Schilling’s book of the same title published by the University of Nebraska Press.

Schilling was born in Lincoln and graduated from UNL. He received his first instruction in watercolor at the university.

“As a kid I was invited to take painting lessons on Saturday mornings in the university’s art department. The seeds were planted, and in time, others pruned and groomed me into an artist,” Schilling said.

Schilling worked 10 years as a part-time dental officer on Holland America Cruise ships. He also serves as a short-term dental volunteer in developing countries. His travels have inspired him to paint diverse landscapes and architecture.

“The Portraits of the Prairie” series focuses on Webster County, Nebraska — the land where Willa Cather spent her childhood and inspiration for several of her stories.

“Schilling has likewise found inspiration in the land’s history, geology and ecology,” said Amber Mohr, curator of the Great Plains Art Museum. “His watercolor depictions of the prairie equal Cather’s eloquence of prairie prose — both truly present their love of the landscape in their art.”

Cather-related materials from the museum’s research library is available for visitors. The selections include items for children to read.

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