Preparing for my first solo show, Prairie Structures: Natural and Man-made, has been an exciting journey of capturing the beauty of our Kansas prairie and the structures that mostly go unnoticed as we live our daily lives. Inspired by my Topeka Building series where I did paintings of historic buildings and landmarks, I decided I wanted to take this successful idea and expand on it to include hidden gems that can be found throughout our urban and rural backyards. This new endeavor took me down miles and miles of Kansas’ country roads as I looked for those quaint historic main streets, stone buildings, modern and old windmills, grain elevators, cows and more. These paintings are meant to inspire the viewer to see the ordinary and what we take for granted in a new way by bringing them into the foreground of our lives. Using super-saturated colors and a modern graphic look, I make the native limestone, brick, metal or animals pop with energizing life by injecting the painting with inspirational color that enhances the beauty of the object whether it is natural or man-made. My hope is that these works of art excite the viewer to explore and see our country roots and fall in love with the urban and rural beauty of our historic downtowns, silos, roads, and natural ecosystem because these Prairie Structures are what make us truly Kansans.
Topeka artist Becky Drager graduated from Colorado State University with a BFA degree majoring in graphic design. In 2011 after 20 years of working in the graphics field, Becky returned to her home state of Kansas and began painting full time. She is very active in the arts community and organizations of Topeka and surrounding areas.
January 25, 2014, Becky opened her first solo show called Prairie Structures: Natural or Man-made at the Emporia Arts Center exhibiting 43 paintings. In 2012, Becky was invited to participate in SouthWind Gallery’s Topeka Paint Out where she found a niche painting urban scenes of historic downtowns and other Kansas landmarks using her distinctive graphic style. Her acrylic painting, “Kansas Avenue Blossoming”, won the first place and the juror’s award and “Looking Up” won fourth. Her art was published in Topeka: a great arts town. We painted it!
Becky recently received the honor of a Certificate of Recognition from Topeka’s Mayor Larry Wolgast for her painting, “Snowfall on City Hall” which was used on the Mayor’s 2013 holiday card. The painting will hang in the Mayor’s office. She was selected to exhibit in the 2013 Symphony in the Flint Hills art show and her award winning work is in corporate and private collections and also showing in Kansas City, Strecker-Nelson Gallery in Manhattan, Warehouse 414, Yeldarb Gallery, SouthWind Gallery and Beauchamps Gallery all in Topeka, the Trusler Gallery in Emporia and the Kansas Leadership Center in Wichita.
Other honors are a first place award for “Celebrating the Tradition” an acrylic painting for The Kansas City Club’s 130 year anniversary and a second place for “Prairie Fire” in People’s Choice category of Inspirations 2012 Exhibit. Topeka Art Guild’s Kansans Paint Kansas, she received a third place award for “Orange Glow” and an Honorable Mention for “Snow Bluebird”. She also won an Honorable Mention for her “Night Light” acrylic painting in the Topeka Art Guild’s Earth, Wind and Fire exhibit.
Becky Drager Fine Art acrylic paintings have been called “Happy Art”. These paintings of Kansas’s prairie structures inspire the viewer to see the ordinary in a new way through the use of super-saturated colors and black outline giving it a modern graphic look. Subjects such as native limestone, brick, metal or animals pop with energizing life because they are depicted using inspirational color and unusual perspective that enhances the beauty of the object whether it is natural or man-made and draws the viewer in.