Present Light: Inspiration
I recently sent an email to my mailing list announcing the name and release date of my next collection! For those of you who aren't on that list, my latest series, Present Light, will be launching April 9th. I've dedicated so much of my heart and time to this series and I'm so in love with the result. This process has really stretched my imagination, challenged me to get curious about the world around me and allowed me to turn my attention inward. There's so much more I'd like to say about that, but before I get ahead of myself, let me fill you in on what inspired the collection.
Winter in Rockaway
In the summer, Rockaway beaches come alive. People flock here from the city, so naturally it gets loud, busy and overflows with energy. The winter here could not be more different. It's quiet, slow, isolated and the weather on the coast can get pretty intense. The first few winters here, I remember wishing they would pass quickly. I just wanted it to get warm so I could actually enjoy living at the beach. As you can imagine, that made the season reaaaally long. Something shifted in me this winter though. As the new year began, I accepted the solitude and embraced it as an opportunity to rest, recharge and slow down. In changing my mentality, I discovered that this slower, more subdued state aligned perfectly with what my body, mind and creativity needed. Believe it or not, now as winter is coming to an end, I find myself wishing it would last a little longer. I'm actually going to miss it.
Connecting with Nature
When the year began, I made it my goal to get outside for a walk every day. While that may not have happened every single day, walking the beach started to become a ritual. While walking, I challenged myself to be fully present and take in my surroundings. No podcasts, no texts, no music, no pictures...ok, sometimes pictures, but for the most part, I tried to make sure I was in the moment. The more I practiced this, the more I found myself craving it. Just breathing in some fresh air for 10 minutes was enough to shift my mood, change my perspective and in turn, the trajectory of my day. I began to really pay attention and notice intricacies of nature that I may have otherwise missed. The subtleties of the muted winter colors and textures calmed me. I was captivated by the way the low winter light changed the appearance of a beach that had become so familiar. I started to notice beautiful patterns in the sand. I brought interesting pieces of driftwood home. I became a little bit obsessed with the textures and colors of oyster shells and started to collect them. Before I knew it, nature was literally filling up my studio.
Inspiration in the Studio
Present Light slowly began to come to life as a direct result of this practice. Being surrounding by the textures and colors of driftwood, shells and other natural objects gave me plenty of hands-on inspiration to work from. Finding beauty in these ordinary objects translated into curiosity. I felt compelled, not to recreate nature in my art, but to further connect with nature through my art. More than that, I was inspired to infuse my paintings with the sense of peace I felt outside. I wanted to bridge the gap between nature as observed from a distance and nature as an immersive experience. To accomplish this I felt strongly that natural materials needed to be physically included in my work in some way. I started to brainstorm and before long, my mind was bursting with ideas that I wanted to explore. And so, the experimenting began.
Late-day sun illuminating beach grass on my way home