Coping Through Art and Nature

photo of artist on mountaintop

Since 1982, artist-explorer Tony Foster has undertaken 17 “Journeys” — watercolor diaries based on a wilderness theme. Each Journey is comprised of 10 to 50 paintings, along with associated notes and symbolic objects or “souvenirs” made with the intention of revealing wild places or exploring a specific idea or theme. These Journeys often involve multiple expeditions, with subjects ranging from mountains and canyons, rainforests and deserts, the Arctic and the tropics, to volcanoes, coral reefs, and such iconic natural landscapes as the Grand Canyon and Mount Everest.

photo montage of artist in extreme locations

Some Journeys take up to 10 years to complete, and often expose the plein air painter to harsh weather and challenging conditions. Between trips, the artist resides in the Cornish village of Tywardreath, England.

When COVID-19 required people around the world to stay at home this past spring, Foster postponed plans to canoe the Green River in Utah for his next Journey and instead committed to using his allotted daily walk to hone his observation skills.

watercolor nature sketch

watercolor nature sketch

“I have come to realize that anything studied intently enough will offer insights into the extraordinary variety and beauty of our world,” says Foster.

watercolor fish sketch

watercolor nature sketch

watercolor nature sketch

Venturing out from home with a tiny notebook and a stub of a pencil, Foster found a different route to walk each morning where he made notes, drawings, observations, and discoveries. Foster converted this information into a small painting every afternoon, and together these studies comprise Lockdown Diary–56 Days.

watercolor nature artwork

In this video conversation, Tony Foster and John Muir Laws discuss this unique piece with Kristin Poole, artistic director of The Foster.

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