Lindsey Fox is a Portland-based watercolor artist who hits the trails with her watercolor paper, paints, and pens and creates on-site artwork of the stunning vistas she encounters. Her work celebrates and contributes to the protection of the wild places she loves to explore. In our interview, we talk about perseverance, mountains, and the capricious power of wind.
Tell me about your five-month hiking artist residency through the Pacific Crest Trail, it sounds thrilling, grueling, and beautiful.
It honestly changed everything for me. It’s hard to explain, but once you realize that you are capable of putting one foot in front of the other and walking the length of a country, that privilege puts some things into perspective. It also changed my idea of a “career.” It made me realize that I am an Artist and that is the way I see and approach the world. It jump-started a body of work that continues to evolve and for that, I am forever grateful.
When you get into more abstract representations of nature scenes, I love how the abstractions take on a geological tone, is that intentional?
Yes. I took a few geology classes in college and the maps, cross-sectionals, and observations of rocks in nature have always been huge sources of inspiration for me. There is also something that I love conceptually about geology. There are layers upon layers of sediment that over time create the formations we see today. In some way parts of my process tend to mimic this. One mark informs the next, and, on a much smaller time scale, things evolve.
And you also have a career in textile design and pattern making, can you tell us about how those two worlds intersect?
My art has always found its center in my obsession with pattern making. Multiples in nature have always been a source of inspiration for me and it's made its way into my creative approach and process. It's both a meditative process and a way of seeing the world.
For about 10 years out of college, I was working with brands, for the majority of the time Nike, to create textile prints for apparel. This was the dream job for me. It was such a blast and a wonderful way to get paid as an artist. Recently though I felt the pull of my own artwork more, something that shifted during the pandemic, and I chose to pursue my artwork full-time. I still do freelance textile design once in a while and it’s such a fun addition to my practice.
What brought you to the Pacific Northwest in 2013?
Textile design and mountains. 🙂
Can you tell me about the location of our featured homepage art this week?
This was a piece I created after a trip to Artist Point in the North Cascades. My brother and I woke up at 4 am to catch the sunrise and the light was so magical. The hope felt in that rise was magical and the piece attempts to communicate that. It now resides in a private collection in New York.
It must be challenging during hikes when you see a stunning vista that you want to paint, but you have other factors to balance like getting to your next campsite safely before dark. Do you have any stories of getting into a pickle on the trail?
Painting is always my priority on hikes now. This is a direct result of what I experienced on the Pacific Crest Trail. During that five-month trip, I had to be a quick painter, which was a good challenge but resulted in me not being able to paint as much as I would have liked. After this trip, I went full-blown the other direction, painting as big as framing would allow and taking as much time as I wanted on hikes to paint. This takes planning, but it works! As far as pickles go, most of them involve wind, paper, and high places. But every painting has been safely retrieved so far!
And what about the opposite, what’s your best, most positive trail experience?
Honestly looking back, even the not-positive parts are fun. But one of the most memorable moments from my hike was hiking up Cispus Pass and looking over the Yakima Valley as a full moon was rising. I made two paintings based on that place. I still remember that moment so vividly, I could paint that feeling entirely from memory.
Find more of Lindsey Fox’s work at lefoxstudio.com and follow her on Instagram at @lefoxstudio.