CAMPING PAINTINGS, Upper Peninsula, MI, July 2015

During the summer of 2015 I started a series of camping paintings. At each new campsite I will adapt the tent paintings in response to the site. During the first trip, I used a Eureka kitchen tent (c1964) and attached additional pieces of custom-fitted canvas scrim. I camped at Lake Superior Forest Park and North Gemini Lake Forest Park, both on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  January – March 2016, I worked on the West Coast of the South Island in Aotearoa New Zealand, and the West Coast of the United States, using a Eureka Draw-tite mountaineering tent (c1954). In August 2016 I worked between the Moray Coast and Isle of Harris.

Camping Paintings is informed by parallel histories of plein air painting—popularised within the leisure-time of modernism—alongside markers of the anthropocene.  Current thinking reassembles landscape: from something to be consumed toward something  we are a part of—not apart from. Camping Paintings involves personal investigation of what it means to be in a particular site or situation via the medium (and shelter) of painting. Working on this project, I researched histories of camping as a settler-colonial practice, and as part of  transitory modes of living or surviving. More personal narratives include my grandmother’s painting practice. Often unfinished small-scale plein air works made while watching children: riverbanks, beaches, backyards. An intimate and lifelong engagement with the North Otago landscape, not valued within a national art world, she exhibited at the North Otago Art Society, at home, and through home-made greeting cards.

I began Camping Paintings in 2015, a time where consciousness of climate change had become material. Perhaps since 2011, people have been experiencing climate change personally, intimately, within the weather systems that move through their landscapes.

Camping Painting is adaptive at the level of its internal composition and how that intersects and interacts with the external one—the immediate landscape—and within the frame of the camera. With heightened sense of physical exposure, the composition also adapts to changing conditions like light and wind.

Camping Paintings happen over time, painted three and four-dimensionally, with multiple perspectives. 

This is an ongoing project and I’ll update this page after future trips.

11_webThe Eureka kitchen tent photographed by the lagoon at Ox-Bow School of Art in Michigan.

67_webLake Superior Forest Park Campsite, Luce County, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

64_webLake Superior Forest Park Campsite, Luce County, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

3_webLake Superior Forest Park Campsite, Luce County, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

5_webLake Superior Forest Park Campsite, Luce County, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

18_webLake Superior Forest Park Campsite, Luce County, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

42_webNorth Gemini Lake Forest Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

29_webNorth Gemini Lake Forest Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

32_for webNorth Gemini Lake Forest Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

23_webNorth Gemini Lake Forest Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

40_webNorth Gemini Lake Forest Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

30_webNorth Gemini Lake Forest Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

72_webNorth Gemini Lake Forest Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

57_webNorth Gemini Lake Forest Park in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

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