Intentional Creativity: American Parks, Arches and Canyonlands

Arches National Park

Intentional creativity requires nurturing, exploration, and synthesis. Our parks systems are excellent resources for this part of a creative practice. A couple of weeks ago I visited Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park in southern Utah. Both are part of our amazing national parks system, and are remarkable places. Along the way I explored several state parks as well. The trip was part of an intentional practice of feeding my creative language, and embedding visual experiences with emotional responses. This type of practice develops a “reservoir” of ideas and memories that is an important part of building internal creative resources. New ideas flow from new experiences and help prevent stagnation of thought. 

Arches National Park
Sunrise, Arches National Park

One outstanding part of the trip was sunrise in Arches. While I resisted getting up before dawn, this was a “not to miss” experience. The intense morning light makes the incredible landforms glow, illuminating layers of open arches in a golden rosy brilliance. The crowds are thinner, the air fresh, and we wandered on “primitive trails” that brought quiet and time for personal reflection.

Morning light, Arches National Park

Another exceptional experience was leaving the Moab area for the southern The Needles entrance to Canyonlands. Because this area is more remote large crowds do not seem to gather here. While not alone, we had lots of space to explore this amazing and unusual landscape. The trail we chose winds through slot canyons and lower parts of this vast park, then climbs up to the sentinel rocks with fantastic vistas. 

The Needles, Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park
The Needles, Canyonlands National Park

As an artist I felt overwhelmed with inspiration, and creative impulse. I took extensive reference photos, and consciously tried to embed the feeling of space, beauty, and visual information to bring it back home with me. I am currently working on a piece about rocks and arches. Also percolating in my mind are gestural pieces that relate to motion and forms, more than specific places, on this trip. It remains to be seen what emerges from my studio, but the creative nourishment from this trip remains an inspiration.

Land patterns, Canyonlands National Park

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