I painted this many years ago after a beautiful week in the mountains. It now hangs in my studio and serves as a reminder to myself. I go to the forest and the mountains as often as I can. It doesn't have to be someplace completely removed from civilization, but I want it to feel natural, wild, beautiful, peaceful and inspiring.
When we got to the mountains today, my eight-year-old son and I decided to visit a place we hadn't been to in a while. Our energy was high as we started walking along the trail and it wasn't long before we wandered off the trail, through the trees, and down steep slopes. As soon as we reached the creek everything slowed down. It was as though that burst of energy on the way down set us free and now we were at ease.
I looked at the patches of white snow beside the bright green moss. I listened to the water trickle over the rocks. I could smell the wet forest around me, which I love so much! I continued to walk around slowly, gently touching the squishy moss, wet leaves, rough bark or crinkly lichen. I realized that this is part of my creative process every time I go into nature. It's how I awaken my senses and immerse myself in a place so that I can begin to create.
I don't set out with a plan to make art and while I'm creating I don't think about whether anyone will like it. Since I've never put that pressure on myself, I feel rejuvenated and inspired by the experience instead of drained or stressed. As I wander around eventually something clicks and I have this incredible urge to create. Maybe it's land art, photography, drawing, poetry or simply gathering materials to use later.
For a long time, I use to whittle and paint with watercolor beside the water. I never thought much about it. It's just what I did. Allowing myself the time and space to play in nature with my children, experiment, wander and get inspired is what drives my creativity and it's how I deepen my connecting to the natural world.
Most people assume that we must be big hikers but in fact, we usually get about 20 minutes or 20 meters down a trail and then stop because we see something that interests us. Before we know it three hours have passed and it's time to head home. I appreciate the views from the top of a mountain but for me, the magic happens when I'm bent over a log covered in lichen wishing I had a sketch pad to draw those beautiful forms.