Alright, two weeks in a row of updating the website! Shall we take bets on how long the streak will last? I vote for Q, because my brain.
Speaking of spelling (I know we weren’t, but my brain and I were), am I even spelling “moleskin” correctly? I’ve noticed it autocorrects to “moleskinE”, which doesn’t make much sense to me phonetically, unless I’ve been pronouncing it wrong all these years as well. Either way, I don’t care, so let’s move on.
If you actually had the interest or patience to have read last week’s blog entry, you may recall that I mentioned a bit of a back story surrounding my recent White Mountain moleskin sketches. It’s now time to delve into that.
I have been hiking and camping in The White Mountains of NH with my wife and kids for many years now. In addition to enjoying the actual act of hiking, I love the scenery up there. The views always mesmerize me and feed my creative mojo (I have mojo?), as well as puts life into perspective. Nature is kind of like my church. Since our first forays into that mountainous wonderland, I have lamented that I never really had the time or opportunity to make any art while I was in such inspiring environs. This was largely due to having young kids that needed near constant encouragement or wrangling. With their shorter legs, we were also often pressed for time. We needed to keep moving in order to finish our hikes before sunset.
However, my desire to draw in The White Mountains is far older than our years of hiking. It’s older than my kids. It’s older than my marriage. It’s older than me.
That last one isn’t true. BUT, my urge to heed the creative impulse inspired by those majestic peaks does date back quite a few years. Back to 1996, in fact. I had just completed my first year in the art program at UMass Dartmouth when my whole family (aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents) on my mother’s side decided to take a big group vacation up to The White Mountains. My Aunt Lucille and Uncle Steve had been making a similar family trip with their children/my kids pretty much every summer for years (as far as I can remember), so they had some key spots for us to hit. I have always loved spending time with my family, so that trip is a very happy memory for me. Unfortunately, possibly due to how frequently I space out and daydream, even my good memories have a lot of holes in them (though I can vividly remember odd things, like walking around in diapers or being on an infant scale at the doctor’s office). I couldn’t tell you the names of most of the places we went, how long we were there, what time of year it was, or, until recently, even what year it was. I remember loving the trip. I remember loving the mountains and wanting to live there. I remember vaguely some of the locations, some of the personal interactions.
I remember riding a gondola up to a peak and lamenting I didn’t have a sketch book with me.
Fast forward back to the present. On August 19, 2017, my wife and I took the kids on a four day, three night camping trip in The White Mountains. The plan was to hike the Wildcat range, which we did, then spend the other days doing smaller hikes and visiting some tourist spots. On Tuesday the 22nd, on our way home, we stopped to hike Bald Peak across from Canon Mountain and to finally check out Artist’s Bluff, a spot we have driven by and talked about many times. Up on the bluff is where I finally, after 21 years, took out a sketch book and drew in The White Mountains.