How trail running helped me nurture my passion for drawing.
Running through the scenery which he paints, landscape artist Peter Taylor found new inspiration and came back to his passion for sketching.
Off of Ontario’s famous Bruce Trail in the town of Dunedin, Peter Taylor is easily spotted running trails training for his next ultra race. This small town where he lives and works as a landscape artist is north of Toronto and slightly west of Barrie– the hub which many associate with being one of the last major stops en route to cottage country.
Living here, Taylor has the luxury of being able to experience on the day-today what many will plot for a weekend away. The trails in Dunedin are a great way to be in nature. For Taylor, it’s not just about training for an upcoming ultra, he uses the running lifestyle to take breaks from painting or to draw inspiration when faced with the blank canvas.
So far this spring and summer have not been the most productive in the studio.
I’ve had a blank canvas on the easel for close to a month with a few images in mind but none I really want to dedicate my time to. Kind of a lame excuse really. I know if I just squeeze out the paints, pick up a brush and start painting I’ll find my groove.
It’s been a long cold winter and lately I’ve just been enjoying my time with my two year old, gardening,and running a ton. I guess I’m just recalibrating my creative spirit. Well…maybe that’s just another excuse. I love painting and I know all too well that really when it comes down to it you just have to put the work in. That said I also want to work at something that excites me and I connect to. Like planting and eating a vegetable garden, there’s a connection to weather,planting,weeding and harvesting. Food just tastes better when you’ve put the time in the dirt.
Mountain Sketch #1
Last November I decided to sign up for what will be my biggest foot race of my life. A one hundred and twenty mile event in south British Columbia. Seemed like a good idea at the time, sitting in my warm studio dreaming of mountains. I think the biggest challenge is not the race but the journey preparing for the race. The amount of time and discipline it takes to just put in the miles is a real challenge. Some days I wonder why I do these things. Why do something so long that will hurt ALOT. When I have my doubts I remind myself that doing really hard things comes with great satisfaction. Plus spending time outside doing something so simple and raw as trail running gives me a feeling of freedom in this crazy world.
Mountain Sketch #2
Obsessed with the mountains I decided to pick up a few pencils and just start sketching some of the places I’ll be running in. Drawing always seems to bring back my momentum. I feel like it connects me to why I started to paint-and when my painting feels contrived or stale it’s the drawing I return to. These past two days of sketching has ignited a new creative fire in me. It’s important to just start and momentum will follow.
In making something you connect deeply with-the end result always seems to just be better.