20 x 16 Acrylic on Canvas
20 x 16 Acrylic on Canvas

The golden faced sunflower is extremely common in Kansas they inspire all of the mythology that surrounds the Greek concepts of their sun god who supported all the arts in the ancient culture.

From deTraci Regula, About.com Apollo was the son of the supreme Greek god Zeus and Leto, a nymph. Zeus's wife Hera was outraged and convinced the earth to refuse to allow Leto to give birth anywhere on its surface. But the island of Delos allowed Leto to take refuge there and give birth to Apollo and his twin sister, Artemis, goddess of the hunt and wild things. The goddess Themis assisted in raising him by feeding him ambrosia, the sacred nectar of the gods.

When I first learned about Greek mythology, it intrigued me to discover that a familiar nearby town name had Greek inspiration. We have all heard of the Oracle at Delphi, well, Delphos is a quaint (blink and miss it) town where I grew up in central Kansas. I remember many events I attended at The Bohemian Hall which stands three miles west of the Pike Monument in the post-rock country. This was the center of the early Czech community.

But there is much more to this little town than meets the eye…

Spiritualism first came to Ottawa County, Kansas in 1873. The first meetings were held in a home. The group became known as the Universal Church, which is said to be the earliest religious organization in the area, although Methodists, Catholics, and Presbyterians also came to this area in the 1870's.

In 1877, the group traveled to Delphos, Kansas with 13 members. Within a few years, their numbers grew to nearly one hundred members. The camp was located in an oak grove northwest of Delphos, were Spiritualists held summer camp meetings for many years. Hundreds of people attended the meetings, many of them coming in on special trains, which ran two or three times a day from Salina, through Solomon, and onto Delphos.

It's estimated that the trains brought in between 1500 and 2000 people at the peak of the Spiritualist's popularity. The train tracks ran right along side the campsite. The meetings in those early years had a carnival-like atmosphere with many tents and a large stage.

A large tent was used for services for two years after the camp was moved. Later, a local resident had dug a basement on his land in Wells, planning to build a house over it. When his finances ran short, he sold the lot to the Spiritualists. The basement was enlarged and with the help of the men in the community, rock was hauled from surrounding pastures, to lay up the basement walls. Cooking for the men was done on a wood range in one of the cabins, which were moved from the Delphos Camp.

The original charter was issued by the State of Kansas in 1881. And it states, "This Corporation shall be The First Association of Spiritualists of Delphos, Ottawa County, Kansas [...] The purposes for which this corporation is formed are the attainment and promulgation of knowledge, religious, scientific, and educational." Due to the death of many of the older members, the fact that more had moved away, and flooding along the Solomon river (which had caused several meetings to be canceled), the camp was dismantled and moved to Wells, in 1934. From http://skyways.lib.ks.us/towns/Delphos/our_history/spiritualist_camp.html
Learn more about the Spritualists at http://www.sunsetcamp.org/

My parents lived in Wells, Kansas early in their marriage. My grandparents had a farm just a couple of miles outside Wells. I can remember my mother talking about having gone to one of these meeting simply out of curiosity. She was told that she would soon have a drop leaf table with seating for three... I have that drop leaf table right now in my kitchen and I use that table often to create my paintings.

What a wildly ironic connection, Apollo, Delphi, Delphos, Spiritualism and my kitchen table which is used to create art!

I am using a new technique to create these pieces. I have used templates that I have created by taking photo enlargements and cutting the template out in many stages to separate the initial colors. Then I continue with finishing the floral by painting them much like I have done with my past pieces. This technique expands my freedom with composition and contemplation of several possibilities. I am no longer tied to the first stroke of the brush to position the flower.

Believe it or not there is more to come on the next Post. Apollo in Delphos Facing the Evening Sun!

Topics: Kansas Wildflower Series