Freedom within Structure

It’s harvest time! After a summer of running farms, blogging, and drawing, the first body of work has been installed at the Maine Farmland Trust Gallery in Belfast, Maine. A year ago, when I was first invited to participate in the exhibit, I chafed a bit at the idea of completing didactic artwork on soil health or crop rotation, and I imagined creating a few small pieces to lend my voice to the issue of sustainable, healthy farming, after which I would quickly shift back to my other work. Instead, I find myself, a year later, with a transformed art practice and an ongoing project of running and drawing. Through this creative collaboration with the Maine Farmland Trust, I’ve discovered a new method of working. It has to do with the freedom of exploration that can occur within structure and the deeply satisfying artistic process that can emerge out of this context.  In the case of the farm running and drawing project, it begins with dialogue–discussing the land and farm boundaries with the caretakers of the land, the farmers. It then involves a tactile, embodied experience–running the land. The run is followed with a writing process, during which the narrative and conceptual issues emerge (in this blog). Next, I sketch–creating piles of visual notes and experiments. Finally, the experience is condensed into a finished drawing. Three examples are included below, from my experiences at Broadturn Farm, Lakeside Orchards, and Tide Mill Farm. These drawings are part of the current exhibit, and pieces based on Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Mitchell Ledge Farm, and Old Crow Ranch are in process.

Boundary: Lakeside Orchards, graphite pencil, watercolor and gouache on paper, 22" x 30"

Boundary: Lakeside Orchards, graphite pencil, watercolor and gouache on paper, 22″ x 30″

Boundary: Tide Mill, graphite, watercolor, and gouache on paper, 22" x 30"

Boundary: Tide Mill, graphite, watercolor, and gouache on paper, 22″ x 30″

Boundary: Broadturn Farm, graphite, watercolor, and gouache on paper, 22" x 30"

Boundary: Broadturn Farm, graphite, watercolor, and gouache on paper, 22″ x 30″

The current exhibit also includes 6 Perimeter drawings in graphite and watercolor on Yuppo–one for each of the farm experiences. Each drawing is echoed with a wall drawing in watercolor.

Wall Drawing and Perimeter Paintings on Yuppo

Wall Drawing and Perimeter Paintings on Yuppo

Gallery Installation, The Maine Farmland Trust

Gallery Installation, The Maine Farmland Trust

 

Tonight’s opening is a celebratory bookmark in the project. I’m grateful for the door that’s opened, leading me toward my future work. This week, I’ve begun contacting farmers, with the aim of running 6 more farms this fall. I’m ready for the awkward beginning of each new conversation, the unexpected adventure of each new run, and the richly satisfying process of condensation as the experience slowly transforms into art.

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About lucindasrunningblog

Lucinda is an artist/professor who has fallen in love with running. Her current drawings explore the experience of running around the perimeters of Maine farms.
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7 Responses to Freedom within Structure

  1. aldeming says:

    Lucinda, This is gorgeous work and the process very powerful! Congratulations and I hope the opening is a smash! XOXO Mom Professor and Director, Creative Writing Program Department of English Affiliated Faculty, Institute of the Environment PO Box 210067 University of Arizona Tucson, AZ 85721 520 621-3250 _www.alisonhawthornedeming.com

  2. Judy Kahrl says:

    I wish I could be there for the opening, but you have given us a real treat. It’s exciting to see, feel, experience some of your experience. And it makes me think even more about what I see at Fisher Eddy when I walk my circuit. (Ah, yes, walk these days which I love.) And fall, so much happens as the land moves towards winter’s differentness. The abundance of leaves falling, the grasses changing color, the colors shifting, and gradually the openness that winter brings when one can see between the trees to what may have been hidden in summer. Keep going, and I hope sharing.

  3. Pingback: The Lively Edge | A Moveable Garden

  4. Molly Williams sent me to this link and I am so glad she did. This is wonderful work. Congratulations.

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