Lucinda Bliss, Suspended, pencil and watercolor on paper, 40" x 26", 2012

Lucinda Bliss, Suspended, pencil and watercolor on paper, 40″ x 26″, 2012

My farm running project begins today at Mitchell Ledge Farm in Freeport. More specifically, the running piece begins; the planning has been underway for months. Since I started running a few years ago, I’ve been hoping to come up with a project that would combine my running and drawing practices. Today, I embark on a collaboration with the Maine Farmland Trust and 12 farms around the state of Maine, in which I’ll be running farm boundaries and making drawings in response to the experience.

Running connects me with nature, and navigating the boundaries of farmland will be a process of experiencing the land and noting, in a bodily way, how farming is contained and what encroaches on its borders.  Also, it will bring back memories of my childhood on my mother’s farms in northern Vermont. Running clears the mind and heightens perception. It exists in opposition to the desire for instant gratification, and it is that appetite (for instant food, information, etc.) that is in part to blame for the devaluing of farming and the natural world. Part 3 of the project will be to create drawings based on my experience of each run. The drawings will start with the literal shape of the path I’ve navigated, a graphic that will be drawn from the gps map of my run. Part 1 of the project has been dialogue-based, and communication continues to be a key aspect of the work. Gaining the trust of the farmers and the hard working staff at the Maine Farmland Trust has been a pleasure and has inspired me to create a clear, accessible structure for this project. Sometimes artistic process looks like making lists, writing proposals, and calling strangers on the phone to explain why I need to run through their fields in order to make a drawing! The icing on the cake will be the retreating to my studio to reflect on the experience and make marks on paper.

My farm runs will include the unexpected: terrain that’s tough to negotiate, a variety animals, electric fences… (I hadn’t thought of that one until I spoke with Andy at Mitchell Ledge Farm yesterday!).  I’ve just purchased a key piece of gear, which has made me more confident about the potential delays that might come up during these adventures: the Gregory Navarino 12 pack.  It fits snug against my back, can hold a large water bladder, has hip pockets, lots of little compartments and functions, and it’s red.


About lucindasrunningblog

Lucinda is an artist and teacher whose work focused on landscape and place. Bliss currently serves as Dean of Graduate Studies at the New Hampshire Institute of Art.
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3 Responses to Boundaries

  1. Andrea Galuza says:

    Awesome project Lucinda, Good luck toay.

  2. Very cool project! I’m looking forward to hearing more about how it plays out and of course seeing the visual output it inspires. I’d also love to hear/read a transcript of one of these conversations . “calling strangers on the phone to explain why I need to run through their fields in order to make a drawing!” (love that) Good luck!

  3. Judith McDaniel says:

    What a great way to combine two passions! And I’m glad your new hydration pack is red. Accessories always matter. 🙂

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