Pretend you are professional trail runner.
If you detest running, try pro hiker.
Where I write ‘run’ or runner, insert your preferred choice.
I promise I have a point.
Every day you arrive at a new location to begin your trail run. (hike/ portage)
It’s your job. You know how to run, what equipment you need, your nutrition plan and how to pace yourself. Dedicated to training and improving, you are in your element.
Your work day begins at the edge of a beautiful massive mountain forest, which you are viewing for the first time.
Now. Run to the other side.
Oh, and there is no trail.
You have no idea the distance you need to cover and no map.
No clue of what obstacles or challenges await you, like hidden lakes & bogs, boulders or wildlife.
It’s your job, so you will do it regardless of weather, or circumstance.
You may be able to pick up a deer trail at times, clipping along at a great pace, fresh air pumping in your lungs.
You may struggle thru thick bush the next.
You may need to camp out for a day or two to get your bearings, or weather out a storm.
You may run in circles without realizing it and spend valuable time doing so.
You may run to the highest location first, to get a lay of the land. It might help. Then again, it may not.
You witness incredible vistas and beauty, feeling connected to it all. Your body sings with awareness. You are fuelled by passion.
You have moments of such clarity & freedom you are emotionally overcome.
You encounter storms and obstacles so enormous, your aching body drops to your knees in defeat. Distraught visions of quitting swirl in your tired mind.
From this vantage point your field of vision changes. Renewal washes over you as you spot wildflowers bathed in sunlight blooming among vivid moss. You feel the magic.
Finally reaching your destination you may be euphoric, championing your efforts with a mental pat on the back as you stand alone at the edge of the silent forest.
You may drop to the forest floor exhausted.
You may even wonder if you are at your destination. Do you need to travel further up the mountain?
After all, there was no map or guidebook.
You have only instinct to rely on.
It’s been known to serve you well.
You mull the experience over, wondering how you could have navigated more efficiently.
You may judge your competency & skill, reviewing your efforts as your worst critic. You decide what you may do differently, and savour valuable discoveries. You rejoice in the spark of magic.
You feel a rush of both gladness and sadness, because you will never run this same course again. Ever.
The run make take days, weeks, perhaps months.
Each is unique and you never know how long it will take. After all, you cannot see the finish and aren’t really sure where it is.
After a course is completed, the next day you are dropped off to a new to you location.
You do it all over again.
Such is the life of a professional painter.
To my friend who wondered what it is like to paint professionally, and how I approach each new canvas.
There are discoveries, highs & lows of each piece.
I have no template, formal pre studies, or patterns.
I mix all colours on the fly.
I never know how long each painting will take.
Unlike in past careers, if I hit an obstacle, I have no one to call upon.
We artists are lone wolves.
It’s a requirement to be resilient, patient, have clarity and sense purpose.
It’s an absolute joy to experience newness every single day creating something that has never been before.
It’s invigorating to be challenged and find new pathways with every turn.
Hardships make one savour the treasures.
It’s never stagnant or routine.
Evolving the work & continuous learning emerge from the frustrations. That’s when growth happens.
Humour and a good pair of trail running shoes come in handy.
This may bring understanding to questions & comments like these:
“You have been doing this for so long, you’re a pro, it’s routine, right?”
“It’s natural for you, so you just sit down and plop paint on.”
“You don’t really think about anything, do you?”
“It’s easy for you”.
“It’s a passion career, so you would starve to paint, right, selling isn’t so important?”
“It’s not like a real job or you have any stress”.
P.S. Artists: brush the shoulder chip off.
It’s difficult to explain how our work & life is.
We may feel misunderstood or not respected.
However, it’s an amazing gift to do what we do. To have incredible vistas surround us and be able to explore this beautiful wilderness we call art. To feel the magic and communicate it to those unable to run, reach or see for themselves.
~My friend Robert Genn wrote:
“Art is a path on which we honour our world. Art may not be the only path, but it is a good path, even though at times a difficult one. As bearers of this honour, we artists do not need to simply render our world as we see it but as we might ourselves redesign it. As artists, one of our privileges is to invent.’) (On our path, design is everywhere and invites the soul. From my window, art is a worthwhile cause. Whether we choose to delineate the rare birds that come to our shore, to broadly honour the spirit of the sunset, the deep forest beyond or the tiny foreground mosses, this is our opportunity to connect. In a world that appears now to have more connectivity than ever, and yet also less, this is what art looks like from my window.”
~ All work available for sale. New Georgian Bay 5ft x 4ft & New Wildflowers 6×8 panel. All work is original oil.
Note: The blue wildflowers were spotted on my run today, inspiring both post & art.