The Shape of the Walk

As part of my art practice I have been recording circular walks through the GPS mapping App Strava. It is a neat way to see where I have been and gives me data such as the time it took to do the walk, the overall distance and some information about the terrain. I find by having a visual record of each walk it helps me define the moment and aids memory.

I am fascinated by the way in which the mind appears to shut down on a walk to the point where external visual information doesn’t appear to be processed and the brain is left to wander internally finding unrelated life stories from the past and other debris. At times it seems that the rhythm of the walk takes ones mind into an area that is open to the void of meditation.

Another aspect of the walk for me is the latent image stored in our subconscious. The image, shape or colour may only be discovered long after the walk in the studio, the results have a sense of deja vu.

Peripheral vision is an interesting aspect of how we look at the world or other ways of seeing. Not focussing on the extremities of our vision is where the suggestion or the broad brush stroke is, arguably more beautiful than the fully realised and understood target image.

On Tuesday of this week I went on a delightful walk with the ceramic artist Penny Ericson. We explored the area known as Whakanewha Regional Park or Rocky Bay. It was a short walk taking in the flat area of beach, where we saw Herons, a pair of Paradise Shelducks and Kingfishers. We walked up to the headland through dense trees to a Maori Pa, which is a village or defensive settlement with visible archaeological concave indentations on the hill top that would have been used for food storage.

The map shows our progress as we loop round twice. The shape has an uncanny resemblance to New Zealand, North and South Island, an unexpected and wonderful surprise to see these shapes.

Another occasion while painting in Owhanake Barn, I took a break and walked the edge of the barn and around the garden boundary to create another GPS walk shape. On this occasion the walk seems to resemble a strong head shape.

On Wednesday afternoon in between rainfall I took a walk from the Barn and around Owhanake bay through Fossil Bay vineyards and back to Korora Road.

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