I feel most comfortable in my skin when I am outdoors, and I am most at home in the mountains. There’s something grounding about hitting the dirt at the end of the day, hiking or biking up a favorite trail, and finding a perch on top of a hill somewhere to drink it all in. I find myself sitting in awe as the sun drops below the horizon and the worries of life fade away, stunned by the importance of it all. The quiet beauty, the magnitude of the landscape around me, my smallness in the midst of it all. As long as I have this – these quiet moments in places where the world has been stripped bare by snow and wind and altitude – I will be more than okay.
I seek out these moments of clarity, because I have a hunch that the more I listen to the echoes of the hills, the better my paintings will be. I paint the landscape because I have a big pie-in-the-sky goal of translating that centered feeling that I get outdoors onto a two-dimensional surface. I hope that maybe, someday, someone will get that same grounded feeling just looking at one of my paintings. I might be working on that my whole life.
And so it is that the best paintings are not necessarily the ones that are picture-perfect postcard views, but the ones where I’ve sat quietly with the landscape and absorbed it, and let it change me a bit.