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The Sublime Landscape and Beyond: An Artist's Retrospective and a Poet's Vision

poems by Michael Baldwin
paintings by Johnny Bowen

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A collaboration between two longtime friends who found they both appreciated each other’s creative work: one a painter, the other a poet. Michael Baldwin, an award-winning poet, has, in the past, written poems for artist Johnny Bowen and his family for various occasions. In 2009 Bowen asked Baldwin to write poems for several of his paintings that were to be in an upcoming show at the Arts Center of the Ozarks, Springdale, Arkansas. The project became a labor of love as Baldwin saw the high quality and inspired vision in Bowen’s paintings. In 2020 Baldwin decided it was time to publish a book dedicated entirely to Bowen’s art and Baldwin’s poems. The Sublime Landscape and Beyond is the result of many years of rewarding collaboration.

ART /  Subjects & Themes / Landscapes & Seascapes
POETRY / General

ISBN: 978-1-956056-05-1 (print; softcover; perfect bound)

LCCN: 2021946717

Copyright 2021; released October 2021

114 pages; 40 full-color images

Author Biography

About the Poet—Michael Baldwin

Michael Baldwin is a native of Fort Worth, Texas, and may be descended from the Lakota mystic warrior Crazy Horse. He’ll be glad to tell you that tale over a couple of beers. Baldwin holds a BA in political science and master’s degrees in library science and public administration.
      Now retired from a career as a library administrator and professor of American government, Baldwin’s poetry has been published extensively in literary journals and anthologies. His poetry was featured on the national radio program The Romantic Hours and has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
      He was awarded the Violet Newton Prize, 2000, for the poem “Lovedrunk Lunar Eclipse”; won the Eakin Manuscript award, 2011 for his poetry book, Scapes; and won the Morris Memorial Chapbook Award, 2012, for Counting Backward From Infinity. His book of Texas poetry, Lone Star Heart (Lamar University Press, 2016) vied for the Texas Institute of Letters Poetry Book Award. His book The Quantum Uncertainty of Love (Shanti Arts Press, 2019) was a National Book Award nominee.
      Baldwin has also published: a mystery thriller, Murder Music; four collections of science fiction short stories: Passing Strange, Surpassing Strange, More Than Passing Strange, and Beyond Passing Strange; a children’s science/adventure book, Space Cat; a book of humorous Texas ranch stories, Chronicles of Frank; and a book of flash plays, A Few Bricks Shy of a Chevrolet.
      Baldwin resides in Benbrook, Texas, with his wife, Helen. They are active with several community charities, coach a local high school tennis team, and help nurture their two wonderful grandsons.



About the Artist—Johnny Bowen

Panoramic vistas of ancient Ozark mountains lit by the last rays of the setting sun. Texas hills and valleys covered in the brilliant hues of autumn. Crystal waters flowing through time-eroded landscapes older than Man. These scenes of the natural world are the inspiration for the realistic and intricate oil paintings of Johnny Bowen.
      Bowen’s award-winning and widely collected paintings reflect his own sense of wonder and awe of nature, and his techniques follow in the footsteps of the great American landscape artists of the nineteenth century. Initially self-taught, Bowen soon made contact with respected Texas artist Dalhart Windberg and became a student of his in 2000. Bowen’s representational realism is influenced by Windberg as well as by the nineteenth-century artists of the Hudson River School. “My painting heroes include Durand, Church, Moran, and Bierstadt, and I aspire to create the same feeling of the sublime wonder of the natural world as did these great artists.”
      Bowen grew up in Fort Worth, Texas, and developed a life-long friendship with a boy who lived down the street, Mike Baldwin. “Mike and I spent a lot of time exploring the creeks and fields around Fort Worth, looking at protozoans through Mike’s microscope, and viewing the heavens through the telescope Mike and his Dad built. Mike was very influential in sparking my interest in science.”
      Bowen met his future wife, Peggy, when they were students at the University of Texas, Soon after marriage and graduation, they moved to Arkansas and have lived on Sugar Mountain south of Fayetteville for over forty years. “After traveling around the country, we decided that northwest Arkansas was as pretty a place as we had seen, and we moved here as soon as we could,” Bowen recalls. They have two children.



“Johnny Bowen’s paintings reflect his inspiration just as surely as they reflect the light that imbues them.”
Becca Bacon Martin, The Morning News

“He is one of the most skilled painters I have seen come through these galleries. I really think his work is deserving of special recognition.”
Jennifer Pease, Visual Arts Coordinator, Arts Center of the Ozarks

“Johnny Bowen paints pictures of transcendent reality. They seem to grab and hold you, reaching out almost in 3-D. He invites a mood of contemplation. Johnny’s work makes me smile, makes me glad to be alive, and helps me to see more clearly the beauty of creation.”
Lowell Grisham

Articles and Reviews


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