It's good to get out of the studio, and into the outside.
I take daily walks with Clutch (possibly the world's largest miniature schnauzer) and for the past 7 years these walks have been an important part of my artistic practice. I find the pace of walking compliments the slow nature of my contemplative process. I liken it to my own form of active meditation. It can take months of almost daily walks through a neighborhood before I really start to see the beautiful quirks that compose the place.
Recently, I have started to venture out on a few mountain bike rides. Living next to Pisgah National Forest we have no shortage of bike trails, but they can be a little intense for a newbie. I'm not a very strong biker, not yet. And after seriously slacking on getting back to it following an injury this past summer, I have a lot of catching up to do if I want to return to where I was, and start improving from there. So on New Year's Day we ventured south to the Jackrabbit Mountain Bike and Hiking Trail in Hayesville, NC.
Mountain biking involves a lot of visual and spatial acuity. I think that is part of why I enjoy it. It's also a lot of fun. On the last ride, I couldn't stop thinking about how the activity of biking so in line with the activity of drawing. It's most enjoyable, and effective, when you find the state of flow. If you don't know what I am talking about, try to experience it as soon as possible. Flow is that slightly altered state of consciousness where you are alert, but relaxed. It happens when you are confident and absorbed in the activity at hand, your spatial awareness is heightened and that drunken monkey chattering stream of consciousness is briefly silenced. With this escape from temporal awareness, focus is imparted on an intuitive and holistic view of the overall patterns and structures present in the moment.
Biking takes you further, and out there you can discover some truly amazing places. In these adventures, I have seen and experienced some incredible scenes of nature. Unlike the nuances of a neighborhood, that can take months to reveal themselves, I find that the natural world is more inclined to smack you squarely on the face. KAPOW!
For the past week, I have been trying to think of what I can say about this guy, who we found on the beach at Lake Chatuge. I don't think I can capture the awe in words, so I'm not going to try. I will only say it was an breathtaking and beautiful scene that I found to be a completely life affirming way to start the new year. Of course, that doesn't explain it at all.
There was a palpable sense that he wanted his photograph taken. So I took the snapshots. Now I'm sharing.