David Park Boston Street Scene 1954

I thought about what sort of post I wanted to make during this time of social distance. It's become clear that one of the real pleasures that makes our current situation more bearable is walking outside. So many people found getting out into nature alluring that the trails and beaches became packed and had to be closed off. So now our walks are limited to neighborhood strolls but we can project ourselves out into the wilder world in our minds. Here's some inspiration. And some music.

Here's some music... "By The River" by Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer

Above: Fairfield Porter (1907-1975), April Light, 1962

Above: Fairfield Porter, Tree-lined Street, 1972

City parks are a place to find green and open space...

 Above: Alex Katz

Above: Henri Matisse, Les Gorges du Loup, 1920/1925, National Gallery of Art, Chester Dale Collection

Above: Tom Fairs, Chiltern Pond, outside London 1990-1995

Above: Tom Fairs sketch. Fairs taught fine art and stage design at Central Saint Martins from 1967-1987.

Above: Henri Matisse, Couple Walking in Landscape, One of a series of etchings for a book of poetry by Stephane Mallarme, 1932

Above: Charles Burchfield (1893-1967), Park Landscape, 1916

Above: Roger Muhl (1929-2008), Jardin au printemps, 1987

Above: In London the parks are so big it feels as though you're in the countryside. This is a picture I took in Hyde Park a couple of years ago.

Above: A mown grass pathway through the orchard at Sissinghurst Garden

Above: Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947), From the Balcony, 1909

Moving into the countryside the walks get longer, nature less planned...

Above: Charles Burchfield (1893-1967), Dusty Road in July, 1952-1958

Above: Paul Nash (1889-1946), The Edge of the Wood, 1919

Above: Henri Matisse Large Landscape, Mont Alban, Nice, Spring 1918. Strange to think that this was painted at a similar time after the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic had started, in January of that year. This is painted in the spring as it is now. Apparently the first wave of flu that spring was mild and may not have preoccupied everyone as it does now. 

 Above: The Country Heart, book cover drawing by John Minton

Above: John Minton (1917-1957) A Forest Lane, 1944

Above: St. Just, Cornwall, May 2018

Above: Felix Vallotton, Paysage Avec Chevre, Vence, 1924. A chevre is a female goat.

Above: Felix Vallotton, A Vallon Landscape, 

Above: Alex Katz,  shown at Gavin Brown, 2015

Above: Maureen Gallace, Summer Road, 2000

Above: A turkey with her chicks walking down a sandy road in Wellfleet on Cape Cod.

Above: Summer 2018, on the path to St. Ives.

Above: Alex Katz, Landscape, 1953

Above: Milton Avery

Above: Felix Vallotton (1865-1925), Chemin avec fillette portant un panier, 1911

Above: Henri Matisse, Landscape, 1918, collection MOMA

Above: Point Reyes National Seashore, December 2019

Above: Ros Byam Shaw, Instagram, December 10th, 2016

Above: Local hike, July 2013

Above: Point Reyes Station, December 2019

Above: Point Reyes Station, September 2019

Above: John Constable (1776-1837), Study of a Cloudy Sky, 1825

Above: Point Reyes National Seashore, December 2018

Above: Still from Preston Sturges "Sullivan's Travels", 1941

Above: Tumblr, unknown 

Above: "Hiking Mount Lowe in 1902"... a socially distanced walk.

Above: Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit, a book that studies the history of walking, and its inherent value, allowing for spontaneous experiences and time to think. A nice review in the New Yorker here.

Another book about walking was published last year, this one about its neurological benefits..."In Praise of Walking" by Shane O'Mara. It talks about what goes on inside our brains when we're walking, helping us to be more creative, happier, and healthier.

Above: Cornish path, May 2018

Above: Dorset road

Above: Walking to the bay, Wellfleet

Above: Steven's sketch of me on the path to the bay.

Above: Steven's sketch of our daughter, Point Reyes National Park.

Above: Alfred Sisley, Spring at Bougival, 1873, collection Philadelphia Museum of Art

Above: David Hockney, Woldgate to Burton Agnes, 2007. Oil on canvas, two panels

Above: Lois Dodd, Gordon Lane, 1985. There's a great interview with Lois Dodd here.

Above: Alex Katz, Road, 1998

Above: Zenzaburo Kojima, Morning Fields, 1933

Above: Zenzaburo Kojima, Early Fall, 1933

Above: Fairfield Porter, Tree, 1954

Above: Sag Harbor path, July 2007

Above: Henri Matisse, Crossroads at Malabry, 1916

Into forests, 
young with dappled light,
and ancient, deep, dark, and mysterious...

Above: This postcard shows the site of Thoreau's hut, on Lake Walden, Concord, Massachusetts. The hut is no longer there but is memorialized by this cairn of stones. Here's a link to Thoreau's essay "Walking", published a month after his death from tuberculosis in the Atlantic Magazine, in their June 1862 issue. His passion for walking is beautiful to read about in this piece.

Above: Growing up this was my archetypal idea of a forest....Christopher Robin and Pooh's 100 acre wood. 

Above: One of my favorite moments in the story...Pooh and Piglet search for a woozle, following increasing footprints that appear to mean more and more woozles when it's really their own steps becoming more numerous with each circle around the path. Pooh is getting very worried until finally Christopher Robin explains things and all is well. I have such fond memories of my dad making up tunes to the songs Pooh sings throughout the books and singing them together.

Above: Painting by Flora Roberts, an artist who paints lovely floral murals and designs wallpaper has just designed her first wallpaper for Hamilton Weston that you can see here.

Above: John Nash, A Path Through Trees, 1915

Above: Ros Byam Shaw, Instagram, May 17th, 2016

Above: Nicolae Grigorescu (1838-1907), one of the founders of modern Romanian painting.

From Emily Carr's Wood Interior Series

Above and below: Paintings by Canadian artist Emily Carr (1871-1945). Not a well known painter in the US, in Canada Emily Carr is an icon, namesake of the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver. Carr was born in Victoria, British Columbia in 1871, the year that the province joined Canada. Carr studied in San Francisco, London and in France, being much influenced by the fauvists and bringing that influence home in 1912. Her whole life she'd been fascinated by the art and way of life in the aboriginal villages of the northwest, and turned to those communities for inspiration, bringing a fauvist sensibility to her work. She painted scenes from the villages she visited. To support herself she opened a boarding house and painted very little for 15 years. Eventually her work came to the attention of museum curators and artists and she became part of the group of seven, Canada's most recognized modernists. She found spiritual resonance in Theosophy, forming a vision of god as nature, and painted her vision of the forests in British Columbia. Her most well known and respected works come from this part of her life, starting in her late 50s. This NYTimes piece about seeing Vancouver Island through her eyes gave a great sense of who she was.

Above: Emily Carr, Young Pines in Light, 1935

Above: Emily Carr, Cedar, 1942

Above: Otto Marseus van Schriek (1613-1678). I learned about this artist through seeing Nicholas Party's exhibit at Hauser and  Wirth this past March. Party was inspired by Otto Marseus van Schriek's incredibly dense details of forest floors, mushrooms, snakes and all the flora and fauna there.

Above: Light coming through a dense forest.

Above: Walking in the Kumano Kodo, Japan

Above: A forest painted in a gallery by Zhang Enli, at Hauser and Wirth, Someset, 2015.

Above: Olympic National Park

Above: The Amazon rain forest

Above and below: Japanese forests, photo from a beautiful flicker travel feed by Ippei and Janine Naoi. Above from Okinawa, below from Chiba.

Above: Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine, Yakushima Island, Japan. These forests have ancient cedar like trees, yaku sugi which are over 1,000 years, jomon sugi, over 2,000 years, and some even 3,000 years old, older even than Shintoism, the indigenous Japanese belief system. The forests are so dense that there are no flowers, and no birdsong. The light is green as it filters through the leaves and pine needles.

Above and below: Hayao Miyazaki of Studio Ghibli found his inspiration for the forests of Princess Mononoke in the forests of Yakushima Island, below Kagoshima. You can read more about the forest, Shintoism, as well as Miyazaki's references in this NY Times article.

Above: A scene from "My Neighbor Totoro" by Miyazaki.

Above: From Tumblr

Above: Photo by William Wegman

Above: Jake Berthot, Chapel Trail Near Alter Road, 2000

Above and below: Asher Brown Durand (1796-1886), Kindred Spirits, 1849. Durand was a member of the Hudson River School of painters. This depicts the painter Thomas Cole, who had died in 1848, and his friend the poet William Cullen Bryant, in the Catskill Mountains.  Cole and Bryant had been close friends, and the painting was commissioned as a gift for Bryant who had given Cole's eulogy. You can see the names Bryant and Cole carved into the tree limb on the left of the painting shown in the detail below.

Above: Thomas Cole (1801-1848), The Picnic, 1846. Cole is one of the figures in the painting Kindred Spirits.

Above: Lee Friedlander photo of Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry, 1959.

Above: Shoda Kakuyu, Green Shade, painting of hikers in a gorge, 1933. This may have been painted from life, as Kakuyu's teacher Yamamoto Shunkyo was an amateur photographer who took his painting students on this kind of excursion.

Above: An article in Holiday magazine, this photo is of Sequoia National Park. 

Above and below: Redwood photo "Among Giants" by Josef Muench from the book "West Coast Portrait", 1946.

Above: Jessie M. King, Walking in the Woods, 1910

Above: Vintage hiking photo, 1920s

Another song...Essence of Saphire by Dorothy Ashby

Above: Edouard Boubat, Parc de Sceaux, Cerisiers Japonais, 1983

 Above: Graciela Iturbide, Mujer Angel, Desierto de Sonora, Mexico (Angel Woman, Sonora Desert, Mexico), 1979, collection Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

Above: Hamish Fulton, a walking artist, 

Above and below: Walking sculptures by Richard Long

The soft grass of open fields blanketing the earth...

Above: Cornwall, May 2018

Above: Leonid Andreyev, 1908

Above: Louis Lumiere, 1907, one of the first color photographs taken.

Above: Francoise Hardy, 1966

Above: Ivon Hitchens, The Striped Cardigan, 1938

Distant views, with patchworks of all kinds of greens and a big sky above...

Above: Otto Ubbelohde (1867-1922)

Above and below: Shell worked with an amazing array of great contemporary artists and illustrators to create maps and guides promoting travel in England. This one, from 1964, includes a painting by David Gentleman. It was John Betjeman who originally conceived of the idea in 1933. He wanted to develop guides that weren't focused on "the deeds and residences of royalty and the nobility".  and brought his Oxford friends in to write copy and his painter friends such as Graham Sutherland, and Ben Nicholson, and John and Paul Nash to provide the artwork. An enlargement of the image is below. 

Above: Georg Schrimpf (1889-1938), At Lauterbach (Tyrol), 1928

Above: Derwent Lees (1885-1931), Landscape at Collioure, 1910

Above: Dorset, May 2018

Above: John Nash (1893-1977), Dorset Landscape, 1930

Above: Etel Adnan, who frequently uses Mount Tamalpais as her subject.

Above: Unknown

Above: Eric Ravilious Chalk Paths, 1935

Above: Dora Carrington, Farm at Watendlath, 1921

Above: Hiroshige, Ashida

Above: Etel Adnan

Above: Paul Gaugin, Road in Tahiti, 1891

Above: Unknown

Above: James Walker Tucker, Hiking, 1936

Above: Jens Willumsen, A Mountain Climber, 1912

 Above: Edouard Vuillard (1868-1940), Landscape of the Ile de France, 1894

Above: Felix Vallotton, Landscape at Villeneuve-Loubet, 1924

Above: San Anselmo hike, 2019

Below: Walking along a river or canal....

Above: Claude Monet (1840-1926), Windmills near Zaandam, 1871

Above: Vincent van Gogh, The Langlois Bridge, 1888

Above: A path along the canal in Omihachiman, Japan, last fall.

Above: Catskill Mountains, 1887

Walking with a glimpse of the ocean...

Above: Mark Gertler (1891-1939), Near Swanage, Dorset, 1916

And one more song...Poem for Eva by Bill Friesell

Above: Felix Vallotton (1865-1925), La Route D'Honfleur

Above: Point Reyes National Park, December 2016

Above: Point Reyes National Park, May 2013

Above: Jason Frank Rothenberg, Point Reyes, 2014, Sears Peyton Gallery

Above: Hiking in Big Sur, January 2012

Above: The Salt Path, by Raynor Winn is a terrific memoir of a couple that embark on the South Coast Walk in Cornwall when they've lost everything suddenly through no fault of their own, and discover that Raynor's husband is terminally ill. With no place to live, and close to penniless, this crazy plan seems to make more sense to them than any other. They embark on a 630 mile walk, along the coast, wild camping all the way. It's an uplifting story, and becomes a best seller. One of the insights that is especially relevant these days is the different reactions they get if they say they've just taken a midlife adventure, thrown caution to the winds, sold up and are wild camping, or if they say they have no home and are wild camping. The adventure is always greeted as inspirational, whereas their homeless reality scares away almost everyone they meet.

Above: This author, and this series of books, provided all the guidance to the Winn's on their walk.

Above and below: Photos from our trip to Cornwall in May 2018. That sign post is one of the markers the Winns were following. 

Above: Coastal path between Mousehole and Lamorna, May 2018.

Above: Portrait by Austin Schrmerhorn

Above: Island of Gaiola, Italy, a part of Naples.

Above: Walking in New Mexcio's White Sands National Park, photo-chromatic postcard from the 1950s. It's over 224 square miles of what appears to be white sand but in reality is gypsum.

Above and below: Provincetown, from John Derian's instagram feed, April 2020.

Above: Robert Macfarlane is a passionate walker and hiker. This book is about old foot paths running mostly through the UK but covers some other parts of the world as well. One of the walks I found compelling is called the Broomway... a walk at low tide along the english coast that rapidly disappears at high tide, taking many people with it when they're caught unawares and disoriented. It is described as the most perilous path in England. It starts in Essex at the Wakering Stairs and was the only way to get to Foulness Island without a boat until a bridge was built in 1932. There is evidence it's been a path since 1419. There's a good article about the walk here. It's definitely a good idea to have a local guide!

Above: Photo of Robert Macfarlane by David Quentin, during their walk together on the Broomway.

Above: These are the path markers to help you find your way.

Photo: Finn Hopson

Above and below: Another fascination of Robert Macfarlane's is holloways. Those are recessed paths created by time...centuries of footsteps, hoofs, the wheels of heavy carts rolling, and rain, deepening the path all the way to bedrock. Apparently they take at least 300 years to develop.

Photo: Matt Emmett

Above: Halnaker Holloway, South Downs UK. 

Photo: Hamish Fulton

Above: Hamish Fulton who took this photo is the one of the artists shown earlier whose practice involves walking

Winter walks and mountainous settings....

Lois Dodd, Water Gap, Last Snowfall, March 2003 

Alfred Sisley (1839-1899), Snow at Louveciennes, 1878, Collection Musee D'Orsay

Above and below: Etchings by Roi Partridge from the book "West Coast Portrait", 1946.

Above: Unknown

Above: Unknown

Above: Caspar David Friedrich, Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog, 1818

Above: Gunnar Lundh, 1941

Above: Gino de Dominicis, "Attempt to Fly", 1969

Above: Unknown

Below: Big Sur, December 2008


  1. Laura: Once again, I am in awe at your talent for putting these together as you do, and at your photography. Barbara

  2. Dear Laura, 
    Thank you for another beautiful post.  It's always such a treat to receive your offerings.  I recently came across the wonderful work of Lois Dodd, and your link to the interview with her was just what I needed to read today.
    Wishing you a lovely day!
    Kind regards
    Sonia van de Haar

    1. I love her work so much...glad you're familiar with her.

  3. What a wonderful thoughtful collection of images, books, and thoughts. Thank you for taking the time to put it all together.

    Bruce & Marcello

  4. Hi Laura,

    I am a friend of Helen's and she sent me your link. Your post was such a feast for the eyes. As a painter, I could not have asked for a better line up of examples, featuring so many of my favorite artists. Impeccable curation! Thank you for the beautiful stroll. Warm regards, Ronnie Maddalena

    1. Glad to know we share some favorite artists...hope to see your work sometime.

  5. amazing laura-just beautiful! feel like i just went on a trip! and love steve's watercolors in there! bravo! xx

  6. Hi Laura,

    I love this. The music was a beautiful addition to these walks. As always, scrolling through these was like going on a little trip. Much needed these days! Well done, Laura! xoxo

    1. Thanks Marty...so glad it felt that way...what I was hoping for! xo

  7. Beautiful to walk down these oh, so carefully chosen paths. Thank you for your keen and aesthetic eye. Beauty is everywhere! So thoroughly researched and curated...

  8. I second all of the above. Beautiful post. Thank you.

  9. What a treat. So many gorgeous images. Emily Carr is a special favorite. Thank you for so thoughtfully and patiently curating this sequence of images and sharing it with us.

  10. this is a beautifully curated sequence. Thank you so much. Has given me much joy and inspiration.