The world wide web can be a strange place. We “meet” folks with whom we share interests and affinities. Friendships are made with people we’ve never laid eyes on in real life. Seattle artist Melanie Biehle and I share a love for the Northwest, Gilmore Girls, art, and travel.
Her most recent painting series, Nomads, “is inspired by wanderlust, how it feels to be a traveler, and what I imagine it would be like to accept a new place as home for a while.” No wonder I love it so much, it perfectly describes my life!
I love the graphic quality of Melanie’s work– can’t you just see the wanderings across each of these pieces? See more from the Nomads collection and read about the inspiration behind each piece on Melanie’s website. And be sure to follow her artistic journey on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!
I like my trees tall. Really really tall. During the year we spent among the Redwoods in Humboldt County, California I was in tree heaven.
Of course, the beaches of the Northern California coast are a sight to behold– wild, desolate– they don’t call it The Lost Coast for nothing. But when we wanted a local hike, we liked to head into the deep Redwood forests.
It was there that we found trees so wide you could live inside and so tall you could not capture their entirety on camera.
But my favorite thing about the Humboldt Redwoods was the way the light filtered through their elevated limbs, drifting slowly down until it barely graced the forest floor.
A magical world filled with mystery and wonder. The trees seemed to speak to each other, I wish I had known what they were saying.
Although that year in Humboldt had its troubles ( we got my mom’s cancer diagnosis and I spent two months out of that time in Florida with her ), we look back on it very fondly. The trees welcomed us and we would be happy to be among them again sometime.
favorite hike | fern canyon
Deep in the Prairie Creek Redwoods but just a few steps from the ocean lies this completely magical place. You feel the temperature drop as you descend from the trail above, ferns and mosses completely cover the soaring canyon walls. I couldn’t stop smiling while we explored this incredible place!
don’t forget | to set your alarm
If you want to catch a peek at the Elk herd in Prairie Creek. You’re more likely to see them in the large meadow outside the park’s visitor center in the early hours before the warmth of the day drives them back into the forest.
what i love most | the light
While Redwoods can be found in other parts of California, there was something about the combination of those giant trunks and the foggy coastal skies filtered the sunlight. No others are quite the same.
See my Redwoods inspired LATITUDE painting, The Birds Are Singing In Your Eyes Today here.
Ya’ll it has been a whirlwind few months. Followed by a whirlwind five days in Greenville, SC for the opening of my LATITUDE show at Art & Light Gallery! Greenville welcomed me with warmth and sunshine and made this Northwestern girl feel right at home.
Teresa Roche, the owner and curator of Art & Light has created such a beautiful space! From the moment you step on the front porch and open the screen door ( so Southern, ya’ll! ), the space feels like stepping into sunshine. The house turned gallery/ art studios exudes old Southern charm, yet its clean white walls and sparse rustic furnishings feel completely modern. The mix of contemporary and organic is perfect for my work! Want to take a peek inside? Come on in!
Because A&L is housed in an old Greenville home, the galleries are small rooms perfect for wandering. Candidly, I was a bit worried that my work was too Northwestern in feel to fit in with Greenville’s historic, Old South vibe.
I was so surprised not only with how beautifully it fit, but with how many Gville folks either had NW connections or found their own LATITUDE moments in mine.
Ceramic artist Dee Sullivan created custom pottery pieces to go with the LATITUDE paintings, such a treat and they were just perfect! If I had a home to put them in I would have gladly purchased several, one wall pocket especially caught my eye ( and everyone else’s I might add! ).
My family came in from Florida and North Carolina to be with me and see the show but I also have a new Greenville family! Thank you to Teresa, Kiah, Everett and all the Greenville folks who have made this show such a success! There’s still time to see LATITUDE, the work will be up at Art & Light through the end of March. And if you’re not in Greenville, you can peruse all the paintings on my website.
Most images by me. Family group photo and panoramic gallery photo by my sister-in-law. Greenville family photo by Everett Waldrep.
Exclusive just for Artsy Forager readers! I’ve updated my website with all the works in my solo show, LATITUDE, opening tomorrow and I’m only sharing the news here on Artsy Forager.
Tenderness & Time (48.53.53 N), 2015, acrylic on canvas, 36×36
So if you’re not in Greenville but would like to see what’s in the show, just follow this link to the show page on my website. I’m on my way to Greenville as I type! Will be posting updates on Instagram and be back here next week for a recap of how it went!
Even though I’ve been focusing much of my energies these last few months on my upcoming LATITUDE show at Art & Light, I’m still working behind the scenes helping other artists through Forager Services. And if you’re in or near the Greenville area, I’d love to help you, too!
I will be teaching two workshops at Art & Light Gallery in Greenville on Saturday, March 5th and I’d love for you to come and join the fun!
Interested? Here are some details–
FINDING YOUR VISUAL VOICE ON SOCIAL MEDIA
SATURDAY, MARCH 5 (11:30 AM – 1:00PM) $35
Social media has become an integral part of any artist’s marketing program. Your social media platforms should represent your brand to potential clients, collectors, and collaborators in a way that inspires and excites. You already create beautiful artwork. We’ll work on cultivating your social media outlets to reflect that same creative voice!
What we’ll cover in the workshop session–
Why a unique and unified visual voice is important to your success on social media
We’ll look at the major social media outlets ( Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram ) and discuss the advantages to each
How to focus your energy on the platform(s) that work for you
How to use one platform to funnel content to others
How to look objectively at your work and discover and identify your visual voice
How to incorporate your unique visual voice into your social media posts
How to style your voice across several social media platforms
CALL THE GALLERY WITH YOUR PAYMENT TO RESERVE YOUR SPACE
ART & LIGHT, 16 AIKEN ST. GREENVILLE, SC 29611 (864-363-8172)
FINDING YOUR WORDS AS AN ARTIST
SATURDAY, MARCH 5 (2:00 – 3:30 PM) $35
Creating art comes naturally. Writing about yourself and what you’ve created? Not so much. So many artists struggle to put into words what makes them create, what their work means to them, what they want it to say to the world. Sometimes they just need someone to help them find their own words.
Whether you’re an artist, gallery owner, or other creative type, maybe writing just isn’t your forte. We’ll work together to put into words what can be so difficult to express.
What we’ll cover in the workshop session–
Examine examples of good & bad art writing
How to begin
How to edit your words
Keywords to include and avoid
How to present yourself verbally
CALL THE GALLERY WITH YOUR PAYMENT TO RESERVE YOUR SPACE
ART & LIGHT, 16 AIKEN ST. GREENVILLE, SC 29611 (864-363-8172)
You can also RSVP on Facebook here but you’ll still need to call the gallery with your payment. If you can’t attend, please help me spread the word by sharing a link to this post or the Facebook event! Thanks, friends!
Every place that inspired the LATITUDE series has special meaning for me. But there is one that stands out among the rest. GLACIER.
I knew long before setting eyes on Glacier National Park that it was a place close to my husband’s heart– which of course, meant that it would be close to mine in a way that we always find love for the things our partners love. But I had no idea that seeing it would effect me so significantly.
On our first trip up the Going To the Sun Road, I was overcome by the beauty and grandeur that surrounded me. Blue skies met sliced mountain peaks, slivered waterfalls slicing into the green, windows down, Eddie Vedder singing to us through the speakers. I looked over to my husband and we both had tears in our eyes. We had found the place we both adored.
High up in Northern Montana, sharing it’s land with Canada, Glacier feels like another world. Remote and wild, to see Glacier’s best requires hiking deep into her bowels, sharing the wilderness with grizzly and moose.
As much dramatic as Glacier’s soaring peeks and icy heights can be, there is a softer side. The quiet found in the glassy reflection of Lake Bowman or Kintla Lake, the hush of the grasses along the North Fork river.
Glacier is where our souls find rest, the one place we’ve found that we never want to leave.
favorite trail | ptarmigan tunnel trail
I lovingly refer to this trail as “the death march”. We embarked on this 10 miler after we’d already hiked 5 miles into Iceberg Lake and my boots were not in the greatest shape at that point and by the end of the hike, I could barely walk. That being said, the views were spectacular and the trail grueling but isolated. An excellent reminder of just how insignificant we are in this vast landscape.
don’t forget | bear spray
There is a strong grizzly population in Glacier and we’ve seen more of them in this park than any other– from the car and from the trail. Making noise while hiking is the best way to keep from surprising one of the great bears– we sing or just shout out random words. Bear spray has been proven to be the best deterrent if a grizzly becomes a threat. Shooting one will just make it mad.
what i love most | the wild
While Glacier has it’s fair share of visitors, you can really get lost in the wild here without too much effort. You are sharing the same air as magnificent mountains and fierce predators, feeling lucky simply for coming back alive from each hike. It is an exhilarating place.
If there is one place in the West that captured my Floridian imagination, it was Yellowstone. I dreamt of prismatic springs, gushing geysers, bison roaming. It is a completely magical place and I am spell bound every time we visit.
At 2.2 million acres, Yellowstone offers more than enough roaming room for the body and mind. And in the Fall, when cooler temperatures and unpredictable weather keeps the crowds at bay, it is easy to feel completely alone in its wilderness.
The drama of the soaring mountains of nearby Grand Teton give way to rolling hills and prairies that seem to go one forever.
Those famous thermals are an attraction in themselves ( and I’ll share more about my obsession with them in a later post! ), tending to draw the crowds away from lesser traversed areas. Which is just fine by me. It’s on those quiet hikes that I really lean into a place. Finding what others are too busy to see.
One particular night, when the air was cold and crisp, we fell asleep to the sound of elk bugling in the river valley below. It was the most beautiful lullaby.
Oh before I forget, Happy Birthday, Yellowstone! The park was established on this day in 1872. One hundred forty years young!
favorite trail | garnet hill loop trail
There is so much to see from just a short walk, that though we’ve hiked quite a bit in YNP, I’m not sure we’ve found our absolute favorite trail yet. But the gentle Garnet Hill loop trail up in the Northeast section of the park provides breathtaking views and plenty of opportunity for wildlife sightings without a lot of physical effort.
don’t forget | your binoculars
You’ll need them if you want to spot wolves! There are several locations in the park where the wolves can often be seen at dusk– just ask a ranger to point you in the right direction. We spent hours watching them, transfixed as three wolves crossed the Yellowstone River to hunt a herd of bison grazing on the opposite side.
what i love most | the wildlife
Just driving through Yellowstone is akin to going on an American safari. From the car alone we’ve seen bears, elk, pronghorn, deer, trumpeter swans, birds of prey and more bison than I can count.
Sometimes the love we discover for a place comes unexpectedly. We had visited Grand Teton National Park for a few hours on our way from Yellowstone to Jackson one summer morning a few years ago. While I thought it was a beautiful mountain range, I didn’t see the magic. Yet.
Fast forward to late August 2015 when a work contract for hubby landed us in Idaho Falls, ID, less than two hours drive from the Grand Tetons. We were only in the area for ten weeks and split our weekends between Yellowstone and the Tetons. As the landscape transitioned from the lush green of late summer to Fall and on to the beginnings of winter, I was transfixed not just by the enormity of the landscape but the variety of color and texture all around.
As the temperatures fell into Fall and parts of the park began to shut down for winter, the number of people we shared the park with dwindled. After six months in the overpopulated Bay Area, we relished the peace and quiet of sharing a hiking trail only with each other. And the occasional moose.
Getting deep into the Tetons and seeing those iconic peaks from different vantages was an amazing experience. But this places isn’t just about the mountains– there are calm, clear lakes in abundance, waterfalls and rocky streams to be heard before they can be seen.
In the Tetons, we found a peace and way of beauty we’d lost during the stress and sadness of the summer. We experienced our own “rewilding”, reconnecting with the wildness in this place and within ourselves.
favorite trail | granite canyon trail
Taking the Granite Canyon Trail was a last minute decision as the return route on our Grand Tetons backpacking weekend. In Fall, the trail was bursting with color and sweeping views were to be had in all directions.
don’t forget | comfy hiking boots
To really see the Tetons at their best, you need to get some miles under your feet. And the terrain is rocky and can be slick in the rainier months, so good hiking boots are a must. I wear Vasque boots and hubby wears Asolos. Little tip– forget fashion when shopping for hiking boots. Comfort and fit are much more important!
what I love most | changing Fall color
I was amazed by the colors of the Tetons in Fall! The aspens begin their transition in soft yellows and oranges, then burst with saturated hues as the temperatures drop. The prairie grasses go from jeweled mustards and burgundies to faded straw and lavenders. And of course, the entire scene changes as the light shifts through each day and season.
Follow the hashtag #findinglatitude on Instagram to see more of the places that have inspired the LATITUDE show and series. PLUS, share your own inspiring places by tagging #latitudefound!
Back when we spent a year on the Northern California coast, one thing ( besides snow in winter ) we found ourselves really missing– big mountains. The coastal mountains have their own drama and magnificence but we really missed those high mountain peaks and valleys. So we made sure to carve out a week to mark a must-see national park off our bucket list– Yosemite.
We spent a week in late August of 2014 camping in Yosemite’s grandeur. The months leading up to our trip had been stressful– hubby hadn’t had any time off in nearly a year, my mom had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and we had dealt with my own health scare, which turned out to be nothing but was very frightening nonetheless. We were in serious need of quiet time together in the wild.
If you’ve been to Yosemite in late summer, you can attest that time alone is a bit hard to come by. The park had over 4 million visitors in 2014 and I swear the majority of that number were there at the same time we were! To avoid crowds, we tried to get out early and stay out late, and chose to avoid the more popular trails in favor of the paths less traveled.
The California Sierras have such a unique look to them– the tall pines and cedars intermixed with granite peaks and rocky river beds. In places like these, it’s easy to understand why California holds such a mythical, magical allure. Our early morning and late evenings gave me a glimpse of the magnificent way the light moves among the peaks and through the valleys. Sunrise at Tunnel View is a mind blowing experience! As is driving the park road after dark, the car lights your only illumination as the trees rise above.
favorite trail | glacier point to nevada falls Glacier Point was only about a 15 minute drive from our campground, so we spent more time exploring there than other areas of the park. Our last full day in Yosemite, we awoke before dawn and hiked from Glacier Point out to Nevada Falls ( you can take the trail all the way to the Valley floor or up to Half Dome but we wanted a nice, quiet hike, not a death march ). Starting so early meant that we were treated to not only a spectacular, misty sunrise over Half Dome but we had the trail to ourselves for most of the morning. It was the first time in the whole week were were there that we really felt at peace and were able to soak in Yosemite’s wilderness.
don’t forget | astronomy app
The weather was so perfect while we were there that we slept without the rain fly on our tent every night, so we were treated to looking up into the star-filled night sky while drifting off to dreamland. Unlike so many areas of California, ambient light is kept at bay in Yosemite and the darkness allows the starry sky to truly shine.
what I love most | sunrise
So we are normally very far from morning people. But something happens when we are camping– we can’t wait to get up and see what the day will hold. The days we rose before the sun in Yosemite we drank in the way the light poured in, not many people yet stirring, we were able to watch the wilderness come alive. Get up early in Yosemite. You won’t regret it.
To see more of the places that have inspired the LATITUDE show and series, follow the #findinglatitude hashtag on Instagram!