In 2018 I submitted for publication a few of my paintings and their stories to nature-themed magazines and websites. Woods Reader responded with interest and in 2019 they published “The Rope Swing”.
In 2014 when I imagined organizing an exhibit of landscapes I’d on sketched and painted on, and of, the Panhandle Trail, this image was the principal image I envisioned and became my symbol for the exhibit, “Sun Shadow Ice & Snow: Seasons of the Panhandle Trail”. I painted it from photos I’d taken in 2009, and people who visited my tent were so excited to see the rope swing they’d grown up with, and some of their parents did too.
When I sent my submission to them I had sent one painting and essay, and later as we discussed other possible stories I sent two more. In Spring 2020, they published “Running Through the Woods”, one of my favorite nature paintings ever, with a big emotional component explained in the accompanying essay.
The painting was another one I’d been wanting to paint, a day in the woods and on the trail with my great-niece Cassidy and great-nephew Kyler from 2011, from the same visit where I got the reference photos for “The Swimming Hole” and the photo “Looking Forward”.
“Running Through the Woods” is something everyone should have the chance to do when they are growing up, just letting loose and running along a path with the tall trees all around and the expanse of green urging you on.
One of my greatest inspirations is the natural world, whether it’s my back yard or the woods or an overgrown field, the shapes and textures, color and scents, flora and fauna seen and unseen, the wind and sun, all create an almost overwhelming experience for me. Creating art to capture the moments I treasured was a natural move as a painter and photographer.
Because of that, each painting has a story, and I love to tell it: how the painting came to be, the chance finding of a special place, the perfect moment of a season, the discovery in the milieu of my life. The whole process is a part of my experience in nature, and often the reason I’m there.
While you probably follow me for my artwork, I have a degree in writing and that was my first career choice. I’ve done a lot of professional and technical writing but I long to get to those short stories and personal essays. I love my art and all the other things I do, but I’ve been wanting to get back to that dream of just writing for writing’s sake. I hope I’m on my way.
Purchase issues of Woods Reader with my work
I will tell you that, if you enjoy reading creative writing and essays about the experience of being in the woods, you would love every story, essay, poem and photo that’s published in this quarterly magazine.
Each issue is $10.00 (that includes the shipping, handling and taxes), but both issues together are only $15.00 because the shipping cost doesn’t increase.
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