I've always thought of myself as an artist. When I was a kid that's all I wanted to be, after the normal aspirations of being a paleontologist, astronaut, or astronomer. Those ideas never really stuck. I always felt a calling to do art and it was relatively easy as a child to make art all the time. As an adult that became more difficult with responsibilities and social events taking over art-making time. I always found some time here and there, but being able to focus all my energies on using my creative vision without being overwhelmed or distracted seemed to allude me. Then a few years ago, while really trying to figure out how I might be able to do art full time, I realized that if I called myself an artist, I needed to LIVE and BREATH art. I needed to have my art with me all the time, whether it was doodling on paper with pen at a friends house for dinner or bringing a small art kit with me while traveling. I found that if I could bring my art with me, my art experience would become richer for it. While hiking, camping, or on a road trip, I could pause and spend some time creating art from a beautiful view that I had just seen or was in front of me at the moment. It didn't have to be perfect. It didn't have to be a masterpiece. It was just my creative interpretation of the world around me, right then. It was a different way to experience nature for me, to add to the adventure that was already unfolding for me that day or in that moment.
My art in particular lends itself well to this kind of activity because I paint mostly landscapes and the natural world. What better way to connect with what you are creating than immersing yourself in it! I have found new joy in art many times over, simply by bringing my watercolors with me on an adventure. I usually paint with acrylic but I find watercolors to be a better portable paint option. In many ways, these small watercolor paintings are just a study of a certain point of nature I am seeing but they can work themselves into larger paintings that I create in my studio. Its all joyful and productive, which is a combination that I try to achieve constantly.
I brought my art kit with me on my most recent road tripping adventure. Some of the places where so amazing and I feel lucky I was able to spend time painting the beauty I had just experienced. I am a photographer as well and love taking tons of photos of the world around me. Photos aren't quite the same as a painting, however big or small. Having a painting of something I had seen felt more special, a unique vision of that time and how it felt to me. I can't wait to have more adventures this summer and to see what I might create while experiencing the world around me. Life is a grand adventure!
Here are a couple small pieces that I painted while on a recent road trip.
Bandelier National Monument, New Mexico
Rio Grand Gorge near Taos, New Mexico