When Brian Ritchard drove through the Midwest on road trips in recent years, he found himself struck by a relatively new sight: Wind turbines. There were so many of the tall towers with their spinning rotors on the farm fields he passed, dotting the land like slender, machine-made trees, that they seemed a part of the landscape.
Ritchard is a Chicago-based landscape painter. He found the sight intriguing — and reminiscent of 17th-century Dutch landscapes that incorporated windmills.
And he had found the subject of his next body of work.
He made a sketching trip to downstate Bureau County. He followed up with trips to hillier country in Texas and...