I just got back from an almost 4-week run away from home trip. It's the first time I've ever done that. I remembered who I was and am - for that matter - on this trip. I felt like I could breathe again and hear my own voice once more. My original idea was to escape to my sister's place at the lake and just paint. Then we thought "hey, let's invite the oldest sister along". And, of course, she thought that was a great idea. Then she took it a step further and said "hey, why don't we go hiking?" We all thought that, too, was a great idea. And so we all made it happen. So, in that trip we had 3 travel days, 4 days of hiking, 7 days of full family at the lake, and only one week of actual painting time. I had a lot of breathing time, exercise time, writing about art, brainstorming about art, and discovering gouache paint. I created 4 small gouache paintings for my sister's lake house and started 2 - 9"x12" portraits.
I never realized until this trip that in order to become more clear headed about what I'm doing, it's necessary to get completely away from where I am and what I am doing and how I am living day to day. I know that to say this is one thing and to have the ability to do this is something else altogether. And, until now, I just haven't had to ability to do it.
We hiked on the Appalachain Trail two separate days. One hike was 12 miles and the second one was 14+ miles. We hiked in Pisgah National Park up to Looking Glass and back - amazing views up there. And we hiked another trail that was difficult in elevation, lacked trail markings, and included humidity, and an abundance of gnats that decided my sweaty face was the perfect target for their little bodies. But, we did it and made it through together. I learned that my mind and body are at peace in these hills and on these trails.
The lake was where I painted and wrote and brainstormed. But I also tried to learn to ski (failed beautifully), saw beautiful sunsets on the lake, enjoyed an amazing fireworks show, participated in - and lost - a corn hole competition, was a part of the 4th of July boat parade (big water guns are fun - we need more for next year), laughed a lot and got a little pissed off with my family ("you're not the boss of me"), and just floated and chatted and laughed some more. And napped. Let's not overlook the importance of that.
I know, I know, this blog isn't really about art. But, in a way, it is. I needed this. I needed to recharge. I need to plunge into something where all my focus was on one task - the hike and rest. That has made a great difference for me indeed. My mind is clearer. And I will go back to my studio feeling refreshed. And grateful. So grateful.
Painting dogs, children, trees, clouds, roads, flowers, flowers, and more flowers all in hot southern Louisiana!