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Finding inspiration from the front porch

Curt Clonts
Courtesy Photo

I live in a quirky 100 year old house in College Hill. When we were looking for a house 15 years ago I told my wife that I wanted a house where I could sit on the front porch and watch our great Kansas thunderstorms and sunsets. We bought this house, largely because of the porch. The porch is deep enough that people walking by often don’t see us sitting there. It has a 60 year old set of rattan furniture, with cushions upholstered with blue and red Mexican blankets. There are potted plants and a few limestone sculptures out there as well.

Curt Clonts

Just about every idea I’ve had in the last 15 years involving art shows, paintings, travel, and family matters have taken place on that porch. Our friends, who are mostly artists, often come by and we sit on that porch and have deep-dive discussions on art, books, music, and happenings in our local art world and beyond. Our dogs are always laying at our feet out there—good porch dogs. Serious conversations never end without a few laughs thrown in.

I can’t imagine the world we’ve built around art being complete without that porch. It’s as big a part of me as my studio, which exists in the back of the house. Sometimes, when it’s raining hard, I will sit out there with a cup of coffee, sketch book in hand, and design my next painting. Sometimes I put the book and the coffee down, close my eyes, and drink in the sound of the rain—hoping it never stops.

It rained hard on a recent Sunday, and I was out there. I thought about my next exhibition and exactly when I would begin my next series of paintings.

It felt good, and all was right with the world.

Curt Clonts is a Wichita-born artist who volunteers as KMUW's art reviewer. When Curt isn’t working in his College Hill studio he is usually spending time with his wife, kids, and grandkids. He also spends the spring and summer months kayaking and camping.