I have been reading a wonderful book called Wanderlust: A History of Walking by Rebecca Solnit. In it she explores human evolution and how/why we first started walking. After we gained the use of two hands, we started to expand our reach literally and even in our ability to imagine and think beyond our physical locations. She meanders through multiple stories, touching on subjects such as pilgrimages and the history of scenic tourism to the advent of mountaineering. What I love most about this book so far is the clarity she brings to the process or practice of walking. It is one of the simplest, most beautiful acts we perform as humans everyday, and we take it for granted.
Through the reflections in this book, I have started to consider the connections between my work as a guide, my love for walking and my work as an artist.
I often reread this quote and replace the word "walking" with "painting."
Lately, I have started to explore my paintings as a way of walking through my thoughts. Either at the beginning or end of a day, I sit down with a single paper and start with one image or gesture. Sometimes I start by ripping up receipts or papers I collected that day that I find in my pocket. I glue these down as layers, or write quotes from books I am reading or things I heard people say. This has become my way of journaling through words and images, through layers of moments, collected onto one page. Here is an example from earlier this year:
This is how I approach my painting. The potential contained within a single white page or canvas is an open road. This is how it feels to wake up in a new place, step foot outside and take off for the day to explore the world. You choose the colors, the mood, when to stop, where to go next. It's completely up to you. When you get back, you can choose to share your experiences (or painting) or not.
Painting in this way is another way for me to share my experience of the world, and in some ways to give you a glimpse into the landscape I walk in my mind. I am continuing to explore this process and to try and write about it so that I can share and talk about my work more freely and fluidly.
Below is my most recent mind map painting, in which I am exploring walking through time and space as a landscape in itself.