RailRoads, Burial Mounds, & Paintings
by Daric Gill
What’s your sacred place? Where do you go to contemplate?
If you’re at all familiar with my blog, you’ve no doubt gotten to know me a little. I’m the type of person who likes to venture out on little day-trips to get into the right mental spot. Building a little bit of happiness ‘to go’ into my workday is crucial for my creative process. Especially during the warmer seasons. The pursuit of the right materials and thinking spaces for the latest two “Absolute” paintings has taken me on a journey that has spanned through woods, over miles of railroad tracks, into an apparently abandoned man-made prairie, and even atop of a 2,000 year old Adena Native American burial mound. Read onward to see the whole process.
*Process Image Gallery Following Article*
Painted on reclaimed birdseye maple, “Absolute: Memory” is the second part in a 2-piece micro series. See the first piece here, “Absolute: Opinion”. I first created the general conceptual theme for these pieces and then set out to find the right subjects to paint. As with many artists, I’m continually building a library of objects that lend themselves to being featured in my artwork. Since I’m currently collecting objects for several future art pieces, I felt that this would be a perfect excuse to go on a few impromptu art-hikes.
Each afternoon I suit up with my trusty Remington backpack, iPad & iPhone, pen & sketchbook, a Kershaw pocket knife, and a 97 mpg two-stroke engine. Those are my tools.
A very fun part of my job is pursuing interesting locations to investigate. This is an area I take quite seriously. It’s a way for me to stay conceptually hungry. Sometimes these investigations takes me to places I’d not necessarily have come across unless I did a little (how should I say this) gorilla style exploration. Don’t get me wrong: I never vandalize and in fact I make a habit of leaving the places I visit in better condition than I find them. I respect fully the value in my inspirational setting. But, I may or may not choose to view certain suggested instructions with a healthy dose of curious disregard…
Secret Locations | Secret Moments
As you can imagine, I’ve collected copious amounts of secret locations. From which I can find abandoned industrial hardware, botanical specimens, and places to ponder or sketch. Any man-made sources collected are discarded debris intentionally or unintentionally left to ruin. Over the years, I’ve accumulated a mental map of key locations that are likely to provide useful subject matter. A sort of mental treasure map, if you will, for finding Daric-like materials.
Though I visit many wooded areas, the right set of wildflowers were the hardest thing to locate for this piece. Most of the landscapes that I venture to are on the peripherals of the city and the unusually cold winter has been fairly stifling on the current season’s wildflowers. On this set of trips, I accidentally stumbled upon a 2,000 year old Adena Native American burial mound that was smack dab in the middle of an industrial landscape. Next to it, a barricaded rock quarry that provided the Birdsfoot Trefoil wildflowers used in this painting. Although only two miles away from my studio, I’d probably never had felt the emotions of this sacred place had it not been for my daily explorations.
A typical outing starts either by a moped ride through inspiration-rich locations or through a fairly new style of exploration I’ve created for myself. On several recent occasions, I’ve looked to new technology for my urban-to-rural exploration. Part of my morning duties have including scouring over surrounding locations via satellite imagery. If I see a densely wooded area that seems to be in the public domain I set my courses for such a location and head out.
The last step in a long journey to a painting: my easel