Right on the cusp of a season change, the fierce prairie winds howl. The first day out, I stayed close to home. The photo above is from the Route 66 city of Yukon. It seemed like the right place to begin. I came into Oklahoma for the first time along Route 66 and entered what was to be my home for the next three years, almost to the day.
Vonda Jensen, the journal’s creator, is putting a question to each of the photographers that is participating in this project and then share it in the journal. Vonda’s question for me was:
How have your dreams changed since you graduated from high school?
High school was over 25 years ago now. I’m not sure I even remember what I was thinking then. I don’t believe I had any solid dreams at 18. So this question was far from straightforward.
I don’t seem to get anywhere by pulling out a map and making a clear route from point A to point B. The best things happen on the side roads. Allowing for a few left turns, I have always ended up somewhere I never would have expected.
It was a high school art teacher that planted the seeds of my interest in painting, however, it was many years before I made any serious attempts to paint. I actually considered doing photography. I even wrote National Geographic, lured by a life of adventure and travel investigating mysteries in history and archaeology. I wanted to be Indiana Jones with a camera. They wrote back telling me about internships with the programs they support. I think I kept the letter.
I traveled many roads and collected many experiences before coming back to art. In 2008, I began a series of paintings based on the remains of abandoned farm houses and old pioneer buildings – a kind of 19th and 20th century archaeology. The historian in me began digging up stories about the buildings in the series. I began to realize there was a thread in this diverse journey I had been taking.
So on with the traveling journal…
Part of the deal is that every location must have a photo that includes the journal – a sort of evidence that the book was there, before it moves on to another state and another photographer. At least one photograph in every post here will include the journal and larger versions will also be posted on the project FaceBook page.
Over the next week, the blog will follow my experiences with the journal. And a theme is emerging. Each location I have chosen to include were places I visited at the beginning of my journey in Oklahoma.
Perhaps that is a good beginning for the journal as well.
* See the sidebar on the right for other “Oklahoma Stories”