There is nothing more meditative to me than drawing a still life. I gave a drawing lesson yesterday to a private student. After the student left, I spent hours absorbed in the mapping, erasure, smudges, accentuations and exploration of form and space. This act of close looking is a kind of cartography that takes me from the real, into the interior space of memory where I begin my next conceptual project. Happy New Year beautiful people. My goal, I hate resolutions, is to keep making marks on paper.
Getting used to being lost, and the victory comes at the end of a solo hike when I have found my way back to where I started. At Hacklebarney, I test out my contemporary transcendentalist principle of self reliance. Self-reliance is so much about living consciously with an ability to face fear, name fear, and live the life you wish without letting fear hold you back. I lay on my back in a golden field and look skyward, as the whispers of air slip by and feel the energy of new leaves cradling the possibilities of spring.
I love to walk in the woods. It is how I think. I learn and listen from whatever I notice around me. I guess you could call me a "New Age Transcendentalist". Is that even a thing?
I began reading Henry David Thoreau's book, Walking, intrigued both by the simple title and seduced by the warm grayscale photo on the cover. It is a field I have easily traversed many times in many places. Thoreau says "what business have I in the woods, if I am thinking of something out of the woods?" In my walks in the woods, my mind wanders in search of a kind of stillness. It's the kind of stillness I can only feel when a sharp wind pelts against my cheek, or a bristle of tall grass scrapes a kneecap. Nature provides the gentle reminder that to feel these ephemeral experiences, you have to be still.
Let me know if you think transcendentalism is as relevant now as it was during Thoreau's time.