Birch Trail

I have been inspired many a time by street art or leaving art behind for someone to enjoy. This weekend on a hiking trip to the White Mountains, I did my own interactive art project. Every time I go on a hike where there are birch trees I pick up the bark that has fallen to the forest floor hoping to paint on them when I get home. This trip was a three day hike so I could either collect and carry or paint and leave behind.

Day 1:

We took a break at lunch. Fresh with the idea to leave art on birch bark along the trail I made this.

As we moved on I took a note from Andy Goldsworthy. I had about 30 seconds to put up each of these or risk being left behind my group. There is only one picture and it is my first and messiest. I was hopeful my group would notice some when I got ahead of them but, everyone had their eyes down to keep from twisting an ankle. It seems these pieces were best for the hut crew, who knew the path well enough to look up and to notice the items out of place.

Once we were at the first hut for the night I took more time on pieces. Making one to leave with the hut crew and making one more to leave along the trail the following day, which wound up close enough to the hut I believe they went on a hunt for it.

Day 2:

Piece close by the hut.

Can you still find it in these trees?

After the grueling day two hike up Adams, Jefferson, and Mt. Washington I was super happy to sit at a table for a couple of hours and paint. I made four pieces, one for the hut crew, one to leave close to the hut, and two to leave along the trail. Sadly one of the pieces blew out of my pack before I could grab a picture of it, but the other three found homes.

For the hut crew:

Piece close to the hut:

Along the trail:

This weekend was an adventure. One that I was not in perfect shape for. However, I am so happy I found a way to entegrate my art into the trip. It takes the edge off my painful feet.

(note, all of this art was done with non-toxic water soluble materials. If the pieces were not picked up by another person a rain shower would wipe the bark clean and the bark would then continue on its way to decomposition as it would have if I had left it on the forest floor.)


5 thoughts on “Birch Trail

  1. Great idea, Casey! I love that you used water soluble non-toxic paint–it’s like the Buddhist monks who let their intricate sand mandalas be blown away. Your painting look great on the bark, too. Especially like the painting of that little red guy in the landscape!

    • Thanks Ann Marie and Jim! I need to plan some more hiking trips so I can do it again. Funny how BIC(butt in chair) worked better for me through walking.

  2. What an awesome idea! Leaving pieces of you, however ephemeral as you explore the Nature… beautiful! And fun it would be to discover these! I hope they were discovered by people before the rain did it’s work! I love the fox’s expression!

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