My Monroad Trip Paintings and Reflections

The following pieces are four of my favorite paintings that I created for this project and I feel that they represent a culmination of all of the work I put into this project. My first few paintings were incredibly bad, but over the course of painting more, I began to feel significantly more comfortable with the watercolors and happier with what I produced. I feel that I successfully captured the lighting in the environments I observed and in doing so have done some justice to the amazing views I witnessed.

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My Monroad Trip Observations

As I’ve mentioned before, the lighting in the early morning and late afternoon hours was the most captivating and that which I took the most photos of. The sunrises started off with bright red light that washed over the landscape before shifting into softer yellow highlights and purple shadows. This light would transform the grassy or soybean-filled fields lining the railroads into quilts of yellow, green, and soft shades of purple and pink. The sunsets were really similar with shadows growing longer and the sides of mountains appearing almost artificially illuminated by vibrant red light.

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My Monroad Trip: The United States of Awe

I’ve been dreading writing this post because I’m terrified by the idea of putting what was probably the most amazing experience of my life into words. How can I capture the fullness of my awe of both the natural beauty of this world and the diverse people who occupy it, without diverging too far into stories about people whose thread of life knotted with mine for sometimes only minutes or without unpacking the mental journey that accompanied this physical one? How can I use language to paint for you what was the achievement of my dreams and how can I adequately describe the recurring unbelievable realization that I was living and present in these magnificent places. I have more than 5000 pictures and just as many memories and stories to tell. Any attempt feels frustrating, as though I am chipping away at something so large and beautifully imperfect, to fit into an easily digestible and outwardly perfect box.

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