The Artwork of

William Lathrop

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Artist in Residence - 2005
Entry Date: 01/10/2006 - Tuesday

I wasn't expecting how connected I became with the natural world. My senses became more attuned; my perception clearer and I developed a deep sense of wonder and amazement at the small and large miracles around me. How large boulders came to rest where they lay, how a birch woods evolves into hardwood, or how certain mushrooms catch rainwater. My mother nurtured a love of the woods when I was quite young, but I no longer live so close to the outdoor world on a daily basis. This experience reawakened my attachment to the natural world and has become an important component of my vision as an artist.

The most memorable facet of my experience at Pictured Rocks was the intensity of the isolation. I had no access to television, the Internet and only limited access to the world through my cell phone. The pressures of daily family life were absent. Even the public and park staff provided rare respite. This created an intense isolation that was difficult at first, but something I came to treasure. In particular, the isolation left me time to write this journal. This writing helped lead me to a deeper sense of myself, my vision as an artist, and helped solidify and preserve the experience.

A residency includes pressure to create a cohesive body of work. That pressure forces discipline that isn't as compelling in unstructured travel. My goal was to paint one to two paintings each day. During my stay I painted about 20 plein air studies and shot hundreds of images. That work will form the foundation of my painting for much of the upcoming year.

I also see my residency as a way to help support the National Park System, and more broadly, the preservation of the natural world. I believe strongly in the need to preserve as much of the natural world as possible. I have found that many of my collectors are likewise tied to the outdoors. I love what I do and feel lucky everyday that I get to do it. Even luckier if I can also inspire others by helping them see the value in what must be actively preserved, to be preserved at all.

All Materials Copyright © William Lathrop, 2007
Last Modified on June 05, 2007