Have you ever dreamed of doing something so dear to your heart that it brought tears to your eyes? I did and decided to take to the Wilderland. Day by day, week by week and month by month for an entire year. Late last summer I packed up my home, put things in storage and moved myself to what is now my Wilderland Art Studio and Basecamp in the heart of Phippsburg. The goal was to walk, photograph and explore, then come back to the studio and paint from the photographs and my experiences of the day. Weather is not a deterrent because I decided to make this my job, Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn.
Wilderland: is a word first penned by JRR Tolkien, In the series “The Hobbit” this is what he decided to name a large region in middle earth.
Later Joni Mitchell used this word in her song “I Think I Understand”.
Fun fact: (She is a big fan of JRR Tolkien, her music publishing company is Gandalf Publishing!) In the winter of 2014 I listened to this song, many times, rolling the lyrics around in my mind. In Joni’s world it was not a place where Hobbits once lived but a state of mind, a state of fear and a way of finding sunshine in the looming clouds of life.
Oh, I think I understand
Fear is like a wilderland
Stepping stones or sinking sand
Sometimes voices in the night
Will call me back again
Back along the pathway of a troubled mind
When forests rise to block the light
That keeps a traveler sane
I'll challenge them with flashes from a brighter time
The word Wilderland jumped out over and over. When I was thinking about my One Year project down the reach, where the Kennebec River meets the Gulf of Maine I would refer to this region as the Wilderland.
So when I decided to do this project I named it kdbwilderland, it really seems to fit. I think it is a state of mind and a sense of place.
Lessons from the Wilderland.
I have been amazed and humbled by the things I have discovered on my walks out in this magical place. Often I am the only person at the edge of the sea walking the shore of a lonely pond, creek or marsh. Just me and a few birdies, squirrels, a skunk or two and maybe even a porcupine. I have marveled at entire ledges filled with many varieties of lichen and moss covered forest floors. I have even gotten lost, well disoriented really. Night was falling as a big thunderstorm was closing in, I made it out rattled, but fine. Always learning out here in the Wilderland. Nature, time and tides are tough teachers. Simple, things are black and white, it is or it isn’t, the sun has set, the moon has risen, the tide is in, the tide is out. I have come to respect, like and understand the absolute of nature. No confusion, no gray areas. The colors of the landscape are inspiring, everyday, always changing, never the same, not even twice, I like that too. One has to be patient waiting for the light, waiting for leaves to turn, leaves to fall, leaves to come back in the spring. A studied patience is required, everyday. All you have to do is accept and be available for all that nature is sharing on that particular day. Oh this Wilderland, my own personal heaven. I am in love on so many levels.
I have never been so in tune with my surroundings, the natural rythyms of the earth, my art and photography.
Art & Science. The focus of this project is to study and document a portion of the shoreline and surrounding landscape where the Kennebec River meets the Sea. This one year project will be documented in a creative manner through photographs, paintings, etchings, writing, a blog, facebook page and a book of seasons. This Wilderland.Maine Project will culminate with a large multi-media ART Exhibit.The work will spotlight how fragile and diverse our eco-system is. This area is unique because of the rivers, streams ponds, lakes and creeks that flow, along with the tides. The focused area is the reaches of Phippsburg and Georgetown in mid-Coast Maine. The landscape in this region has estuaries, mountains, hills, salt marshes, bogs cliffs, crashing waves, islands, rock outcroppings and sandy shores. This is one of many slices of the Maine Coastline that features a rich and varied natural environment.
The Wilderland can be anywhere that is a “Natural or Wild” open space. A place that is inhabited by birds, bugs all kinds of wildlife and a wide variety of plants and trees. This special spot makes your heart soar and will help you to breathe easier and is filled with the many sounds of day and night in the natural world. I am curious, where is your Wilderland? That special spot where you know all is right with the world? Consider sharing your spot with your like-minded friends and family because natural beauty belongs to all of us.