The inspiration for my Passion Project
Before I introduce the Native Plant Project, I wanted to take a moment explain the inspiration behind this passion project of mine.
The main inspiration for the Native Plant Project stems from my childhood. My fondest childhood memories are of the vacations I took with my family every summer. They were humble affairs. We usually rented a car and spent a lot of time on the road, spending nights at motels along the route to our destination and eating homemade Korean food in our motel room that my mom meticulously prepped and planned in advance.
One year, we drove from Southern California all the way to Vancouver, Canada. We passed through California, Oregon and Washington, making pit stops at national parks, museums and botanical gardens along the way. I distinctly remember seeing Crater Lake for the first time and feeling entranced by the deep blue color and stillness of the water. I can still picture the colorful tulips we saw while visiting the Butchart Gardens in Victoria.
Another year, we went on a road trip to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. I remember stopping at a potato museum in Idaho and having the best baked potato of my life. I remember the mosquitoes that swarmed me as soon as we step out of the car at our camping spot in Yellowstone. I remember feeling both frightened and curious as we witnessed geysers gushing out of the ground and viewed the colorful thermal pools from afar. (Decades later, I'm still frightened by those thermal pools!)
Camping trips were also very common, usually at various state and national parks in California. I remember hiking to the base of Half Dome in Yosemite with my dad, one eyelid swollen from a mosquito bite. I remember visiting Sequoia and seeing the giant trees that seemed to grow straight into the heavens.
All these trips, although they were taken so long ago, created a lasting bond between myself and the environment. Now, almost three decades later, it is not at all surprising to me that my biggest source of inspiration is the beauty found in nature.
So ... how does this tie into the Native Plant Project?
Well, I have been working with botanicals for some time, but without a clear focus. I was painting plants for the sake of painting pretty things. But, as I mentioned in my previous post, I wanted to do more with my artwork. I wanted a deeper "why" for my creative journey ... and native plants came into the picture at just the right moment.
More about the Native Plant Project in my next post!
p.s. I hope you enjoyed these vintage pictures of me and my family circa mid to late 90s, when film cameras and oversized t-shirts/sweatshirts were a thing.