Sunday, February 24, 2008


I love to be outside. Probably the foundation of my being a landscape painter. And my well being. Darby seems to suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. She needs sunshine fairly regularly. I don’t mind overcast, clouds, rain, snow. I prefer it, actually. What I like to call Big Weather. I enjoy a beautiful day as much as the next person, but I don’t need that many. I find days and weeks of bright sunshine kind of tedious. But either way, I want to be out in it.

Of course, I love my Gore-Tex.

Somewhere under there is my beautiful wife, having fun, wishing it was sunny.

On the Way Upstream blog, I read of a recent study by the Nature Conservancy, documenting for the first time the building evidence that people, especially children, are spending less and less time outside, in the natural world.

From The Nature Conservancy-

“As a scientist and a conservationist, I find these results almost terrifying,” said Oliver Pergams, assistant professor of biological sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago and lead author of the study. “We are seeing a fundamental shift away from people’s interest in nature, not just in the US but in other countries, too. The consequences of this could be deep and far-ranging for health, for human well-being, and for the future of the planet.”

When tied together with ideas like Nature-Deficit Disorder - outlined in Richard Louv’s book, Last Child in the Woods- this study leads to some ideas for addressing a lot of childhood issues - get them outside.

Under the layer of snow is a very happy Finn, loving her favorite season.

For me, to be removed from the environment, not to be outside on a regular basis, leaves me stressed, depressed, and generally unhappy. I enjoy cities and all they contain, for about three days. I had a studio - a wonderful, north-light filled space- at Anderson Alley in Rochester, for a couple years. I loved the space and my neighbors, but I hated being in the city all day everyday. The studio I am in now is less than ideal, but it is in a pretty ideal location. I’m out with the dogs for at least an hour everyday, and usually a little more around the studio. Kind of a minimum for my well being. And the source of my work.

And I love my new neighbors, too.

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