Half Landscape, 2006, Oil on Panel, 24x24
Yesterday I mentioned taking a walk during an ice storm. The walk is something I try to do about every other day-with varying degrees of success of course. Sometime I go several weeks without taking it and sometimes I do it everyday for months at a time. Basically it is a walk around the block. But it is a country version of a block, meaning it is three miles, complete with hills, little traffic and wildlife. Part of it is a county road and the other two roads (up until a year and a half ago our road was gravel) are more residential. Well kind of-there are only four houses on those two roads. Our 60-ish neighbors down the road, faithfully do the walk at least several times a week, often with their house guests in tow. I am in awe of them.
Doug and I often take the walk together, sometimes the kids come and we usually take our dog Penny along. If we let her off her leash she runs about 25 miles, crashing through the woods and chasing deer and flushing out birds, while we walk the three and she is usually waiting for us on the porch when we get home. When Doug and I go we discuss many things, our finances, his company, my work, art, politics, the kids. It's a great time for us to have a conversation that is not interrupted by kids or the phone. When I go by myself I spend my time thinking about the future, such as what direction I'd like to take my work, the design for my studio if I can ever get it built, um, how to get it built, and some of my favorite thoughts are to imagine what I'd do with our money pit farm if one of the lottery tickets that I buy once in awhile were to actually be a winner. Of course by thinking about it I totally jinx myself and have no chance of winning. Anyway, I have always had a problem with thinking and obsessing too much about the future and what I will do rather than what I am doing, to the extent that it really affected the present. So over the years, I have learned to do all of my daydreaming and obsessing during my walks alone. This has really been a great help in my daily life as well as in my work as I have learned to curb my tendency to over think painting and its direction by saving my imagination for select periods of time. When I am not in the mood for my grandiose future, I try to deal with my real life by making various plans and trying to figure out how to organize my schedule.
Often I have to drag my butt out the door to take the walk, but by the time I get around the corner I am always glad that I did. And by the time I get home I am usually brimming with optimism and well-being. Part of it is the chance to indulge myself in the daydreams, but the other benefits are a result of watching how things change, or don't change along the route. I love taking the walk during dramatic weather, when it's pouring rain or when it's really cold and the snot freezes in my nose or even in the summer when the flies circle around my head and burrow into my hair. I don't think I'll ever truly be the outdoorsy type but this walk has gotten me pretty close to it.
This is a painting based upon one of the fields we pass along the way. It's usually filled with deer and that's generally where Penny parts company.