I journey to distant places only accessible by foot or four-wheel rig in order to capture the simplicity of existing in the dynamism of the natural world. Each oil painting is done on location using a pochade box and travels with me back home, imbedded with the spirit of the landscape.

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Seeking Solitude – Going Solo on the Trail

Being alone on the trail is a soothing, grounding experience. It forces a level of comfort with the self and the here-and-now that the distraction of company doesn’t offer. Getting comfortable with that is, however, a whole different matter.

Four Miles, Two Paintings and One Baby – Going Solo at the Bridge to Nowhere.

It’s high time I introduce my son to a trail that means so much to me – Bridge to Nowhere in the San Gabriel National Monument mountains, CA. It’s where I cut my hiking and backpacking teeth; it’s the first place I’ve witnessed the changing of the seasons and come to know as a second home on the trail. He naps as I maneuver the winding mountain roads and wakes with anticipation when I finally pull into the familiar parking lot. There are few cars and even fewer people on the trail; we have it to ourselves in its rugged…

Plein Air Painting on the Trail – A Gear Shakedown

Inspiration strikes everywhere on the trail – on the summit of a mountain or in the depths of a canyon, in the middle of the day or when the sun is quickly setting. A painting kit that’s light enough to carry, tough enough to endure the trail and quick enough to deploy on snack breaks or when the light is fading is essential for plein air painting on the trail! Here is my set-up:

Little Adventures Around Town

Not every adventure can be an isolated multiday far away from civilization. I’ve been extremely lucky to have a plethora of hiking trails newly discovered in my part-time residence here in the San Diego area. These trails are little hidden gems in the midst of urban sprawl. The climbs may have buildings marring the view but the climbs themselves give a taste of the wilderness, the herons are just as graceful here as they are in the backcountry and the views of the distant ocean are breathtaking from the peak of a local park as they are in the early…

Discovering Strength at the Grand Canyon

I dreamed of traction spikes crunching into ice and snow gracing the soaring geology of the Grand Canyon in winter. It was a dream we rush into reality as my pregnancy moves along into the fifth month. The frigid air nips at our unacclimated faces on the porch of the Yavapai Lodge as we disembark to the South Kaibab trail. Herds of elk meander along the rim while condors freewheel overhead, striking the clear blue sky through with their imposing black wingspan. There is no snow despite the cold. The brutal series of switchbacks decending into the canyon peals away…

Calling it Quits on the Trans-Catalina Trail

They cut my abdomen open and gave me cabin fever when I birthed my son. A c-section is major abdominal surgery. Combined with the residual pregnancy-complication related back and hip pain, I spent the first few weeks of my son’s life teetering around with a cane. I was a postpartum wobbly tornado of stir-crazy eagerness. Needless to say I wasn’t in the most reasonable mindframe when I swore that I was going to solo trek the Trans-Catalina Trail at three months postpartum. I’ve done this trail a few times before. There really is no excuse for not knowing better. The…

The Close Silence of Death Valley

The expanse of Death Valley seems unfathomable as our two-jeep party enters the park via long highways and high, winding roads. The desert stretches into the distance and is framed by the rugged ridgelines of mountains and stricken through by the blinding white of salt flats. Two coyotes pose by the one lonesome National Park sign as we hit the park boundary proper, and out of nowhere: Stovepipe Wells, a small, rustic town with amenities such as a restaurant and gas station. We stop to fill up on gas and give our rigs a last-minute check, then hit the dirt road…

Discovering Moab – Part I

We don’t see much of anything when we arrive at Moab, UT. A half day’s drive stretched into the wee hours of the morning. Such is life when on the road with a three-month old baby. After a few hour’s sleep the morning sun reveals the powerful Colorado and beautifully bizarre red rock formations characteristic of the land – just steps away from our camp site. Despite my apprehension for the day’s plan, I stop and paint. The baby is left in his grandma’s good hands. I am new to this. I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m putting…

Back with a Buddy

I’m back! A very complicated and rough pregnancy forced me to take a break from painting on the trails. It was all worth it because now I have a little buddy to take with me. This is Dakota Tayag-Jerz’s official welcome to the world post here on ArtXAdventure! I just got back from wheeling, rafting, camping and hiking in Moab and Arches National Park, UT. Dakota’s three month birthday was on the 19th and he’s already been to Big Sur CA, Sedona AZ, Moab UT, Joshua Tree National Park CA, and the plethora of trails available here in the San…