086. The Forest Year: An Introduction

I've been hinting about this on my social media and during my live art streams - but I thought I would finally sit down and write a proper introduction to my latest project: The Forest Year.

First of all, I want to thank everyone who has encouraged me to get over my fear of writing. I started this blog over a year ago in order to get more comfortable with the act of writing and translating my mixed-up thoughts into something relatable. The consistent practice of writing this blog led me to finally starting my fantasy/adventure novel (Oru), and this new project!

You can keep up with progress on this project through my book website as well as this blog, and my Instagram!

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Introduction

This is a year-long experiment/personal project spanning from January-December 2018.

My goal is to be in a forest for minimum of 1 hour per week for the entire year.  That's minimum 52 hours of observation. You can follow my live Forest Count here! I will be documenting my journey through writing, painting, sketching, and more.

 

At the end of the year, I will compile all my discoveries into an art book.

Why Forests?

There are few spaces in the world that offer complete and total peace; spaces where one is immersed in ancient energy and surrounded by bountiful life. 

The density of life within the forest creates a place of silent respite, while at the same time producing its own natural symphony. To enter a forest is to sign a silent, internal pact, to honor your ancient desire for nature. You are immediately cut off from your usual routine, surroundings, and modern worries. Each step brings you deeper into the heart of the Earth, each step offers a new chance at returning to your natural state of harmony. The forest offers protection and comfort within a world of chaos. You have only to let your guard down and allow the energy to penetrate your senses.

Humans have a primal desire to be in nature. On the grand scale of human evolution, it is only recently that we have moved away from our natural landscape and into our concrete jungles.

Sadly, in modern times, it is not unusual for children to grow up in the built environment, rarely experiencing the prolific beauty and peace of the wilderness. In some places, the concept of nature reserved for “vacation” - where we must completely vacate our normal lives, and sometimes spend ridiculous amounts of money to return to the wild places where we should feel at home.

The healing properties of nature reach much further than medicinal remedies. Natural sounds such as wind and waves are often associated with mental and emotional recovery, meditation, and finding your “inner balance.”

I feel very lucky to have grown up on the edge of nature. I spent most of my childhood roaming the fields, forests, and lakes of upstate NY. I spent the last ten years exploring the wilderness of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. And now, I spend my days discovering ancient and wild places in the Scottish Highlands, translating what I find into photographs and paintings.

I’ve had a keen awareness of the benefits of nature since I was a child, and my love for wild places grows stronger as I age. It is my hope that this adventure leads me beyond the surface-level enjoyment of nature and into something much deeper and profound.

Either way, I’ll be sharing the journey along the way!