Have an Adventure: Process it through Art
Something has always to called to me; adventure has always beckoned. As a little artist, I would steal away for hours of the day and lose myself in the woods behind my parent’s house. I’d draw and dream and explore, build sculptures out of sticks and then cart my creations home at the end of the day. As I grew up, I began to replace the crayons and sticks with paints, and the woods with new forests and new cities, but the mechanism was always the same: Have an adventure. Process it through art.
Every place I visit leaves its fingerprint on my work. Chile left shades of earth; blackened caldera, blood red pumice and white glacial structures in my paintings. Morocco introduced pinks, reinforced my love of blues (did you know there is a specific shade of blue named after the Majorelle garden in Marrakech?) and encouraged a more playful/pattern-ful application of strokes. Living in Berlin taught me lines; breathing and architectural. Barcelona taught me rhythm, and fostered my first steps into abstraction as I sat alone in a garden. Other adventures have introduced new forms and ideas to explore out, or simply encouraged me to venture down unfamiliar paths with unfamiliar tools. I never book a place to make specific work, as there’s no telling what inspiration will take hold.
Once I get home, I’m a flurry of creation. Painting and drawing for hours on end; my husband has to remind me to break for dinner (He’s the best). But. It wears off. A few weeks, a month after we return home, the storm of new ideas ebbs and I’m able to think critically about what I’ve learned, what has moved me, and how/if to incorporate it into my body of work.
It’s not always as grandiose as the mountains, or as enveloping as learning a new culture. Sometimes it’s just the way the breeze blows through my hair, or smells of some fruit I don’t recognize.
When I’m in a new place, all my senses are heightened. I listen better, taste food more thoroughly, relish boring views from a train car. And each of these things feeds my work, compelling me to respond in really the only way I know how: via marks on a surface.