There is a wonderful scene in the movie Finding Nemo where the little blue fish, Dori, helps Nemo’s dad overcome his anxiety about going into a great, dark chasm. Her advice is to just keep swimming. I subscribe to this philosophy myself on many levels, not just to stave off anxiety or depression. Swimming, running, walking, hiking, biking, kayaking – any kind of movement…. are all great tools to get my brain to side step itself, leave the inner critic behind, and create. I get my best ideas while on the move. Recently my favorite activity has been kayaking where I am not only moving, but moving on water. Balancing in a boat requires a different sense of the physical body and for me this translates into feeling quite far away from my daily self, and closer to the magical art realm within.
Recently, my hub Tony and I headed to Lake Erie with some friends to Kelley’s Island for a Poker Paddle. The idea was to paddle around the island, pick up a hand of 5 playing cards at 5 different stops, then “play” the hand at the end of the journey for prizes. Due to a pretty stiff breeze the night before the paddle, we stayed on one side of the island to get our cards and for two legs of the trip were faced with the biggest waves I had yet to encounter. 4-6 foot swells was how it was described to me by those in the know; fellow paddlers literally disappearing behind large waves. It was a little scary at first but very exhilarating and I am thoroughly hooked! So now I find myself watching youtube videos of sea kayaker Freya Hoffmeister teaching people how to roll (Greenland Style) in their kayaks and reading about her adventures circumnavigating Australia. I find this all very fascinating. My goal is to roll in my kayak, some point soon hopefully, but I’ll leave places like Australia to Freya.
Our trip to Northern Ohio was more than just kayaking. We got to visit Marblehead Lighthouse on the mainland which struck me as a rather small lighthouse compared to the ones I have visited on the East Coast. But it must do the trick for it has been working to keep mariners safe and informed along Lake Erie’s coastline since 1819. There are a number of wonderfully charming homes to see on Kelley’s Island. My favorite of all of these is this Steamboat Gothic style home still owned by a member of the Kelley family and built in 1861. Lovely.
We did some hiking while on Kelley’s Island and I have loads of new images that I find inspiring for a series of encaustic paintings I am working on. Here are some shots of world famous geological formations, The Glacial Grooves, found on the island… among other cool stuff.
Lake Erie is not the only place I have been collecting images to feed my paintings. On subsequent more local kayak trips and even in my own back yard, I have spotted some beautiful mushrooms lately thanks to a juicy humidity that blanketed our area for days.
Along with researching textures and imagery for the wax work, I continue to work in my sketchbook almost everyday. While on our Kelley’s Island trip we stopped in the post office to buy a stamp and get it canceled in our books, a great little souvenir of our time there. I also did some drawing here and there when I wasn’t busy hiking or kayaking….
The sketchbook realm is feeling really active. My class at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, How to Keep a Sketchbook Journal – Getting Started will start up again mid-October. I love teaching this class as it feeds me artistically and I always learn a lot from from students. My project with my former student, now business partner Adam, Drawing Down the Vision, is nearing completion of stage 1 and ready for our initial pilot. Adam and I recently attended a lecture by artist Someguy, Brian Singer, who is responsible for the highly successful journal based social experiment The 1000 Journals Project. This project is a sign that the notion of keeping a journal or even participating in a group journaling experience is alive and well. People are feeling the need to make their mark in the world. I am thrilled by this and intend to get anyone interested out there picking up a sketchbook and taking note of their lives. For me it’s a way to make sure time doesn’t slip by me too quickly and to take note of the little daily stuff that really adds up to the richness that is my life.
Now it’s time to go live it.