The inspiration behind the collection, Trails of Central Ohio

In early December, I wanted to work on loosening up my painting style a little and begin a small series of paintings that could be done in one to two hours. Although, I enjoy painting all of the little details in my earlier works, I wanted to see what would happen if I limited the amount of time I allowed myself to complete a painting. I decided that I would paint on canvas paper for this series as it wouldn’t be too much of a loss if I didn’t like how a painting turned out. I thought I would ask my audience on Instagram what kind of paintings they would like to see me paint next from the choices of portraits, still lifes and landscapes. The subject matter of landscapes won by a landslide.

 When I run, I love to take in the beauty of nature around me and so the collection of Trails of Central Ohio was conceived. The first painting, Antrim Morning I, that I painted in this series was from a photograph that I took several years ago on a cold, winter morning of the hill in the parking lot at Antrim Park.


While I was stretching and getting ready for a Sunday long run with my team, I noticed and loved the way the early morning light and low hanging clouds enveloped the bare trees. The atmosphere was cold, dark, and moody, but yet peaceful. The next painting, Antrim Morning II, I worked on was of the same location as the first painting, but it was from a photograph that I took almost a year later in Autumn. As I sat in my car waiting to begin my Sunday long run, I was mesmerized by how the sun shined on the bare trees as it began to rise over the hill.

I love running at Antrim Park because it is a great central location to meet my friends and teammates to run and there are plenty of miles both north and south of that point to log many miles. The crushed gravel around the lake also offers a soft surface to run on which helps ease the pounding on the legs while offering beautiful views of the lake.  

The following two paintings are of the paths of Antrim Park. The first one, Antrim Lake Path I, is of the soft, crushed gravel path that wraps around the lake, and the second one, Antrim Path II, is of the Olentangy trail path that runs past the lake.

I have logged so many miles during my marathon build-ups on the Rails to Trails path in Hilliard because it is very close to home and it offers many miles of flat ground which is great when trying to lock into a tempo pace. I’m very familiar with all of the mile markers along this path and each one brings me so many memories of special runs I shared with friends filled with stories and laughter. It also holds many memories of runs that tested my strength and resilience during tough workouts on cold, windy days or hot, sticky ones. So, this path is very special to me and I created several paintings at the different mile markers along this path.                                   

  For the painting, Rails to Trails Winter Wonderland, I stopped to take a photo of the magical snow-covered winter land. This evening run was quiet and peaceful with only an occasional lone runner that would pass by me.

For the painting, Rails to Trails Mile 1, I was on a routine, easy run several years ago when I noticed that someone placed a child’s winter hat upon the first mile marker. I was so charmed by this image, that I had to stop and take a photo. I kept this photo for years because I just loved the sweetness of it. I knew it would make a darling little painting of our neighborhood path.   

The next two paintings, Rails to Trails Mile 3.5 and Rails to Trails Mile 4 were from photos taken on the same day. It was a rainy, cool afternoon in December and I was having a particularly great run. I just loved the way the colors of the trees, the grass, and the puddle spotted path looked on this cloudy and rainy day.     



The next painting, Rails to Trails Mile 6 is the view of the very end of the path. This photo was taken a year ago while I was healing from a hamstring injury. This time in my life was a very emotional one because this injury derailed me from my dreams of qualifying for the Olympic Trials. I was in the best shape of my life, and yet in a quick instant, I was left hobbling with a tear in my hamstring. This photo was taken from my bike, and I loved the way the sunlight peeked through the trees and sprinkled a beautiful pattern of shadows on the path. For me, this image was about hope. Although I was living in a moment of shadow, there still was some sunlight peeking it’s way through giving me a sense of hope and optimism.  

The next two paintings are of smaller paths I sometimes take off of the Rails to Trails Bike Path to add more mileage and change the route and scenery a little.

The first painting, Hilliard Municipal Park Path- Bright is a painting I created based on a experimental idea of using paint directly from the tube without any mixing. I wanted to create the illusion of depth by working with the inherent value of each paint color. This experiment resulted in a stunning, bright landscape of the Hilliard Municipal Park Path during a sunny, Autumn day in early November.

The second painting, Homestead Park Winter Bridge, was painted after running through the park on a wintry afternoon. The park was all decorated for the holidays and the covered bridge looked so beautiful within the blanketed fields of snow. I was truly running in a real-life winter wonderland!

The final painting of the collection, Lower Scioto Greenway Trail, was inspired during a run with friends on an early Saturday morning. While running on the lower Scioto Greenway trail, I looked up and saw the Columbus skyline in the distance. I loved the way the black fencing on either side of the path led my eyes towards the tall buildings on the horizon. For this painting, I had to stop my friends in their tracks to take a quick snapshot of this view with their phone for me because I knew I just had to paint it!



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