ELIZABETH, Illinois (CBS2/FOX28) — "It's all about the light," Henry Matthiessen repeats as he adjusts his big digital camera to capture the rays from the disappearing sun as they glow on the underside of dark clouds hanging over the rolling hills of Jo Daviess County.
His goal is to capture the dramatic shot you've never seen before and blow it up to a size you can't ignore and that means anticipating better than anyone else.
"Once the sun is under the horizon, I like to stay about an hour at least after, so you can pick up the cloud movement and tonight it's pretty spectacular. I'll take photos at some pretty famous locations and at sunset there will be maybe 40 people there with their cameras and a few minutes later I'm there all alone."
Henry travels the country for amazing moments in time, but one of his favorite locations is still right here next to his hilltop home, near the village of Elizabeth, where he built Stoned Art Studio. It overlooks a sprawling valley of farms which glow with green grass during the summer and provide start winter beauty covered in white. The studio itself is something of a work of art. It's built out of reclaimed materials, including huge wooden beams recovered from an old locomotive shed and a metal roof salvaged from an ancient barn.
"I wanted to have a really cool experience for people coming in to visit with me where I could show off my photography and my stone work. "
And thus, Stoned Art.
Many days you can find Henry outside with a Mason's hammer in hand, tapping away at a stack of stone as his cat Charleen lays on the edge of the table "helping." It is not an exact science, but the general idea is to encourage a piece of slate-like stone about an inch thick to became a six or eight inch oval revealing the character of the layers along the edges. Henry then carefully drills a few holes through each piece of stone and fastens two or three of them together into a miniature rock formation of something you might see off in the distance in Monument Valley in Utah.
He then threads a fiberglass wick through each hole which makes for a one of a kind candle that is gracing more coffee tables every day. He's also gaining a lot of new fans as part of ARRT or All River Road Talent, an art trail that invites travelers to find some incredible works just off the beaten path along the Mississippi River. As you know, a picture is worth a thousand words, so please join Matt Hammill as he takes you ROAD TRIPPIN' to one of the most beautiful locations in Elizabeth, Illinois!