After moving from Lancaster County, PA, to Arden, DE, in 2013, I started hiking with a group on Sundays in nearby parks and nature preserves. It was the path by which I got my bearings geographically and socially. My new wooded landscape was a contrast from expansive views of farmland I saw from the windows of my house in Pennsylvania. Walking the forest paths around Arden, I noticed that my gaze was often downward and my thoughts, more introspective.
Irish poet John O’Donohue remarked on the way the vistas of his youth, limestone rock formations and the sea, helped to shape his psyche. “What amazes me about landscape, landscape recalls you into a mindful mode of stillness, solitude, and silence where you can truly receive time.”
Sunday hikes gave me those gifts. They had become my new Sabbath—a chance to pause, take in the natural world, and set my intentions for the week ahead.
Sparked by my new practice and in the ancient tradition of religious art, I started a series of abstracted paintings to represent my spirit’s journey. The mixed media paintings are an exploration of styles and materials with the commonality of the forest subject acting as the matrix of this series. As in my previous work, I used metallic paints, but for this series I further amplified surface sheen using metal leaf—a nod to altarpieces of the early Renaissance. Gone are the serene horizon lines of landscape. In their place, vertical strokes—a magical conjuring of trees—represent a walking rhythm and an ongoing conversation with time.