Winters in Nashville are interesting. It starts getting the coldest around January and it only snows for a few days on and off unless there is a rare winter storm, but those are not common. I’m not complaining though since being outdoors and walking in nature is my go to for relaxation and the most effective way to unplug from the constant buzzing of daily tasks and errands.
Since my hiking adventures began in Nashville I started noticing a common pattern. There are mushrooms everywhere! I had not seen as many mushrooms or the amount of varieties elsewhere (so far). It rains a lot in Tennessee, so I suspect that may have something to do with it. Mushrooms love humidity and need it to thrive.
So far one of the most vibrant mushrooms I have witnessed on my adventures has been a neon green kind. It pulsated with life from a far and the brightness of the green beckoned me from a far to come and take a closer look. It was an unexpected surprise to discover how interested I have become in these tiny, spongy and diverse fungus. Sometimes we end up finding sparks of joy in the most unexpected ways.
Forest clam dense and velvet soft you cling to the rough edge of a mighty companion is it an arrangement of convenience? Or perhaps, something more? How did you get up there? So high does the rest of your kind know where you are? Your Orange burns bright amidst this barren way.
I see our little planet as our very own precious floating terrarium. It’s too easy sometimes to forget how we are indeed floating.
This one is hand-painted using gouache on cold-press watercolor paper. I can’t remember when it was done so it may have been some years. 2 or more? Time flies especially when making something with our hands. Each mark is a recorded moment in time. Preserved. Saying, “this is how I spent that day” and it was wonderful.
I have found that to stay motivated I have to press pause and go somewhere outdoors amongst trees, dirt and bees. However, every time I have lived in a medium to large city the great outdoors were fairly inaccessible.
A car is necessary to drive far distances to reach the nearest park or preserve. A wild piece of land with nature growing freely beyond fences, landlords and fees is hard to come by near a city.
Did you know there are hardly any sidewalks in the city of Nashville, TN? Pedestrians have to walk next to the edge of the road, and walk past benches with advertisements cautioning drivers to look out for pedestrians.
Downtown has plenty of sidewalks, and some upperclass neighborhoods get some sidewalks but not the whole city. Since when is providing a safe stretch of land to go out for a walk only for some and not for everyone?
Most of 2019 has been spent working on digital mediums. Learning new techniques using digital software and keeping my digital design skills sharp. But I have missed the feel of a pencil scratching the surface of a blank piece of paper.
The above painting was made using traditional materials. Gouache and Watercolor. Every time I look at it I am reminded of the tiny moments that came together to make this image. There is no going back once you start a watercolor painting. You have to commit or start all over again, and perhaps that is what I like about traditional media. The assertiveness it demands. That I had to just keep moving forward because the option to go back and erase was not available.
I took time to make something with my hands and some gouache paint today. It is always a grounding experience to push color around with a tiny paintbrush. This image has been in my head for a while. I tend to wait to start a piece until I have figured out what the most effective medium is to tell the story, and I don’t always know where the story may end up. The way I see it though is that the most important part is just to start.
This year I’ve been experiencing a more unplugged life than the past couple of years. So far the first things I’ve noticed is that time feels slower paced, more spacious, and solitary. It’s as though each day is a page being turned without hurry in a crowded room.
The other day I went to visit the ocean to recharge with the smell of sea salt and the steady hum of the waves. To my surprise several Horseshoe Crabs were mating by the shore. I recorded the moment in my sketchbook which is starting to become a visual journal.
I usually don’t use reference for my drawings or paintings. Over the years I have tried to work from memory. I’m now going back to basics and committing more time to life drawing to better understand my subjects and how their existence makes my existence possible.