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Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Floridian in Montana ~ I am found and lost again



"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time."    ~  Thomas Merton

Upper Terraces at Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park
I recently traveled to Montana through the generosity of a new friend, and had the opportunity to visit the towns of Bozeman and Gardiner and then Yellowstone National Park.  My past memories of Yellowstone include black bears begging for treats along a road filled with a line of family sedans from the 50’s and 60’s.  I also vividly remember the colors of minerals in the hot springs, the many earthy tones of rock, and the unforgettable fragrance of pine and spruce needles wafting up from the warming forest floor. 
 
Sketching the page above.
Although I love to sketch, one of my complaints is the process of separating oneself temporarily from immersion to get out drawing materials and begin.  And although I love to share my experiences, it is also difficult to set oneself apart in order to think and write coherently.  If only there was a way to share without that process!  Once started, my hope is that I can regain that immersion, that feeling of connectedness that is unexplainable. 

Along the road in Yellowstone,
this is actually the Gardner River.
Quick composite sketches from
the passenger side of the car.
All I can do now is to point at something that caught my eye and to use my ungainly words and making-of-marks to communicate.  So bear with me… (ha, no pun meant here)…
 
There is something in the geography and geology of the northern west that feels like completion.  That along with the quote above are about all I can say that will make sense right now.  I came home to Florida in time to be present at the death of a good friend, and on top of that my brain is still processing the depth of beauty of the northern spaces of Yellowstone Park. 

Tatanka (Lakota word for bison), car-sketching.


Aspen, skull, rock, and wooden birdfeeder.
Sketching in Yellowstone did enable me to both find and lose myself while I was there, and I am still mucking about in my right brain when I least expect it.  Those handy left brain skills have jumped ship and left me to scratch out misspellings, gape at proportion errors, and wonder why I’ve become non-verbal.  In the meantime, life moves on… and on.  There are cats to feed, laundry to tend to, phone calls to return, and life in general that requires finding myself when I so long to be lost.  Just for a bit longer…
 
Click on any image to view larger.

The two sketchbooks here:
Strathmore Toned Tan spiral sketchbook, 80 lb, 5.5 x 8.5 in
Sakura micron Pigma black 01 ink pen
Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer and General Pencil’s Kimberly watercolor pencils
Niji waterbrush M


Aquabee Super Deluxe spiral sketchbook, 93 lb, 6 x 9 in
Sakura micron Pigma black 01 ink pen
Sakura Koi coloring brush pen (sap green)
Faber-Castell Albrecht Durer and General Pencil’s Kimberly watercolor pencils
Niji waterbrush M