With creative time at an all-time premium in 2014, I was lucky to get these few small sketches and paintings finished. No big canvas for me this year - or for the past four years come to think of it. Trying to work an hour or so before and after work and a full day every weekend on my PhD research has left almost zero time for art. This year's journal time seemed like a vapor compared to pre-graduate school days when I could fill a sketchbook a year!
|Pine Barrens, NJ|
Sometimes the urge to sketch overwhelms me and I must stop and sketch. My hikes in Virginia's Bull Run Mountains and the New Jersey Pine Barrens were less about putting miles down and more about finding places to sit and notice how these places were different from my close-to-home hikes in the river hills of the Susquehanna.
|Bull Run Mountain, VA|
Although I was able to do more birding in 2014 than I have in the past few years (once my dissertation proposal was approved the first thing I did was take a pelagic trip!) my favorite subjects had to take a second row seat to some new explorations in landscape and watercolors. Trying to budget creative time with research time was a challenge. It was a challenge, too, trying to find room at the big Gettysburg farm table to work! Stacks of books, papers, notes, files, and computer left little room even to sit down and eat.
|Peach Bottom, PA|
These are very small studies on 6 x 9 and 8 x 10 watercolor sketch pads. My friend Sylvia gave me a backpacker's watercolor set a few years ago and I am just getting around to using it. I plan to take w/c's with me on future long distance hikes and paddles so it's been fun learning what a very limited set can do. Thinking about the AT again as well as the Camino de Santiago...
|Blackwater NWR, MD|
|Elk River, MD|
|Zakiah Swamp, MD|
|Kennett Square, PA|
What I noticed about my journal work this year was lack of reflection as compared to journal pages of ten years ago. Not much in the way of poetry or scientific observation either. I guess I'm in a different life landscape now in my early fifties compared to younger years. I blink and a week has passed. I work steadily on a project or a paper, look up, and a month has flown by. Then a year.
I'd like to blame my PhD work for the lack of creative output, but that's not true. The process of research and writing is its own creative path, especially so for my pursuit in environmental history and landscape ecology. But I do look forward to having more time to get out and travel again! God knows I have a stack of blank sketchbooks waiting to go!