Hiking Art

I bought a travel watercolor set to have with me in my pack on my hikes this week. It’s a nice Sakura Pocket Field Sketch Box. I got it in an awesome little bookstore on the main drag of Lake Placid that has an amazingly nice art section! It was an impulse buy on a rainy day walk into town.

I’m not a trained painter so I looked for creative ways to translate the nature and inspiration I experienced on our hikes, using  watercolors.

We did a short hike out to Moose Pond. It’s a beautiful spot to sit, breathe, pray, eat, and relax. The water inspired me that day. I thought about wetting the entire page with pond water, but wasn’t sure what I would do next. So, I did nothing! I sat, looked, and just experienced the place. I noticed irises growing between the cracks in a rock on the water’s edge. That sparked an idea! If I used one of the leaves to put the pond water on the page, I might be able to mirror the feeling of the water – movement, sunlight, colors, and flow.

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Baxter Mountain was our next hike. The wind at the top was sensational. It was my inspiration that day. But, how to show it?

The sound and force of the wind is hard to miss. It almost constantly moves the leaves and  actually changes the way tree branches grow. I love the sound and force of the wind, and the shaking of the leaves was a visual cue, so I knew I wanted to capture that … somehow.

It’s remarkable how awe inspiring, and moving (pun intended lol) the wind is to me. I absolutely love it. So, instead of of painting, I found several spots to sit, do yoga, eat, pray, and just let the wind buffet me. I collected a few leaves before we hit the trail off the summit, stuffing them in my pack to use when I got home.

Here’s my first leaf inspired piece.

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It took form as I worked. I wasn’t happy with it at first. But, I ignored my displeasure with the product, and kept going, enjoying the process. As I did, ideas came to me. I remembered a bubble art project I did with my Kindergarteners, and let that direct me.

I really like the abstract nature of the finished piece. And, I love the accessibilty and transferability of the method! I’m contemplating how to incorporate it into my class this year. It has nice potential as an art-science integration.

Rain has interrupted my hikes but not my art. Today I worked on getting watercolor paint to adhere to the leaves I gathered yesterday. My plan was to make leaf prints.

This is much harder than it seems. Close your eyes and imagine rain hitting the leaves. What does it do? Yup, it beads up! So guess what the watercolor paint does … beads up! Ugh! But, with a bit of stubborn persistence – wearing down the leaf it seemed, and getting the paint to the right consistency – it worked. The paint stuck to the water resistant leaf!

I am super happy with the result. The colors remind me of the leaves, sky and sun. The one in the middle is that one brilliantly colored red leaf we always come upon on our hikes. The black is the large rocks that encourage thousands of nature-filled step ups and downs on our hikes, as well as the small stones that sometime weigh down my pack. Next time I may put the black around the entire edge. We’ll see. It’s a process, and I’m loving it!

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Speaking of process, clearly my process involves mess! It never feels like mess while I’m working. It feels like (and is) immersion, beauty, intentness and art!

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But, yeah, my process is messy, and I’m good with that!

 

 

 

 

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Embrace the Mess

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I recently did a workshop for 4th, 5th and 6th grade students. I encouraged them to be willing to embrace the “mess” inherent in creativity, thinking, and great work.

My queen-size bed isn’t big enough to hold the “mess” of my presentation preparations. Fantabulous isn’t it?

Clearly, I embody my teaching.

 

#Show your Work!

I’m doing final preparations for my National Coalition of Girls Schools 2016 Global Forum presentation, and I picked up Austin Kleon’s books – just to immerse myself in some good creative energy and thought. On page 44 I found this:

“3. SHARE SOMETHING SMALL EVERY DAY!”

Every day. EVERY day! Eee gads. Yup, that’s what I thought, Eee gads! Lol, how in God’s name can I do that, and not lose my mind? or my health? or both?

Then I read it again. Share something SMALL every day. Something SMALL!!!! 😀 Ah, I can do that. Well, lol, honestly, I don’t know if I can, but I can try. Maybe I will share something small some days …. or most days … or every  week. Who knows? But, I am embracing sharing something small today.

So, (along with my presentation) this is what I’ve been working on the past few days. (My plans are to do a smaller version of this journal with my Kindergarteners!)

Front outside cover…

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Front inside cover …

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Acrylic paint applied with an old credit card and my fingers, collaged with hand written papers and papers torn from magazines, embellished with paint marker writing.

I’m embracing the process, and the work — in its mess, and uncertainty, and “unfinishedness” — as an artistic representation for my life, my health, my journaling … sometimes messy, sometimes fantastic, sometimes beautiful, always in process! And, much like my life, I’m liking it!

(Btw, the back inside and outside cover remain blank canvases … white gesso … awaiting further time, inspiration, desire.)

Resources:

Show your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered (Austin Kleon, 2014 Workman Publishing Co).