• Karen Thomas

A Dartmoor Weekend

Updated: Jun 1, 2019

Is there anything better than the great outdoors?

Immersion in nature. A chance to escape the news. The bleating, harsh political voices so prevalent at the moment. Restoring the soul, nourishing vision and creativity. When I take a day - or hour for that matter - to enter the natural world, it feels like gentle green tendrils, working as some sort of knowing jump-leads, attach themselves to my energy systems and start sharing their strength and magic. A strange description I know, but there it is. A sense of wonder is renewed, awareness is heightened and a sense of wellbeing settles around me.

I often joke that I’ve reached the age where existential crises rock my world every day. I mean really, what is the point of me?! I know this is a first-world self-indulgence. My forebearers, struggling through wars and god-alone-knows what else, probably didn’t have time for a mid-life crisis. But if there’s one thing that always brings me back to centre; reminds me to be a human being and not always a human doing, it’s the great outdoors.

But I digress! (nothing new there ;) ) This bank holiday weekend, I took two blissful days to get lost on Dartmoor. Scrambling up bits where you have to use hands too, jumping rocks, taking in grand vistas. Mildly sunburnt then rained upon. Old enough to know better, I stood in the middle of a river on a massive boulder to capture quickly this view and feeling. Not my best, rescued with judicious use of gouache, but I think you can sense my joy at being there.

If you haven’t been to Dartmoor, well ... you're missing out. It’s tempting to simply drive it’s little open roads, gazing at the views from carseat comfort. But if that’s your usual outdoor modus operandi, please, pull over! Step out into the breeze and away from the car parks. It is truly unspoilt still, timeless, and it just keeps giving.

On a more prosaic note, if you reach Widecombe-in-the-Moor, you’ll find my annual exhibition of Dartmoor wildlife original paintings from 25th June through to 26th August at The National Trust. I have been so lucky with the reference material I’ve collected lately. Patience has paid off recently - cumulative hours stood or sat quietly with sketchbook and long lense finally reaping rewards. I shall leave you with a taste; as I begin to paint my intention is for this exhibition to be my best yet.

Meanwhile, I'd love to bring you all onto that boulder with me in the middle of that beautiful river. Watch you don't slip! Last one back to the tearoom buys the cake! If viewing this brings anyone a little joy, and perhaps a moment of connection with nature, I’m happy for that to be “the point of me”!

As always, thanks for reading friends 😊