words and art by w a l t e r w s m i t h

Mountain Biking

Departure Days | Fall In Play

This is a morning workout and practice run on a lake under construction in my home town of Gray Court, SC. This was my first exploration of this terrain. Keeping it simple. A mix of soft and hard ground. Lots of rocks, making for a lot vibration moving through the body (I actually injured my left forearm from a violent vibration sustained while descending one of the slopes). It has taken a few months for it to heal. But I love the locale it looks and feels other-worldly. And being that it is less than 5 minutes away from my home, it provides a nice work out in preparation for the mountain trails. Music by glitch master Alva Noto. The video itself has little processing and no editing.


Farmer Jack And The Athertons – An Elderly Gent’s Mountain Biking Experience

This is such a cool video. A quarter of the way through it Farmer Jack decides to give the bike a try with some rather good results. 🙂

http://youtu.be/NcWDmTZdU_M


Maps and Trails (Turning the Page – A Bend In the Curve Remix)

Crossing the bridge of discovery we find ourselves….

Biking to a new place

Some thoughts on ambition and the nature of Self….

How often in life we complete a task that was beyond the capability of the person we were when we started it. – Robert Brault

Ambition is not what man does… but what man would do. – Robert Browning

It is in our nature to discover things and in our will to reach them. – Walter Smith


Looking Forward to 2012 – An Artist Shares His Thoughts

Looking forward to a year of art, writing, and contemplative journeys in 2012….

Riding the path to a creative tomorrow

Somewhere in the waking, I will paint with more than one color, write with more than one word, express more than one idea….

This will be my last post of 2011. It is Friday morning, December 30th. I am sitting in front of my computer while listening to Fluid Radio on ITunes. As I begin typing, Fluid Radio is playing a track entitled Shooting Blankets from the band called Two People in a Room. It is a quiet morning. The ambience is meditative. The cats are hanging about; grooming themselves, eating and listening to the sounds. I am preparing lunch; whole grain pasta, and tomato basil sauce with scallops and meatballs. I wanted to go to the gym this morning and do some spinning or weight training, however when the urge to write beckons, expression and creativity governs the day.

I have been thinking for some time now what I wanted to work on and accomplish for the New Year. This past year I feel I have been quite successful. I spoke more in depth about my past achievements in my recent post It Has Been a Year of Blogging – Some Thoughts I Wish to Share. Now it is time to look forward.

The very first thing on my agenda is the opening of my online store n e w d i g i t a l s c a p e s for selling my art. I have completed the design of the site (Imagekind is my site provider) and I am now in the process of uploading, editing and organizing my art galleries. I am very excited. An online store, I believe, is well suited for my digital art, and should provide a high quality venue for the purchasing of my art. Prints in various sizes, high-end photographic paper, canvas, and assortment of frames are all available. Links to the site will be available on my website and on my blog in January.

I am also looking forward to returning to my love of video art. I just got a HD video camera, and will be upgrading to a semi-professional editing system. I hope to investigate a distinct realm of processing which I call “video as chance”. It is a form of video expression that allows for time, space and subject matter to dictate what come into the lens of the camera. In the meantime, I will continue to create 2-dimensional photographic work. As I hope to continue to find new ways to structure my work in a beautiful yet provocative form.

I will continue to blog as often as I can. In the past year, I have come to appreciate blogging as a great tool for finding a consistency that sustains the creative process. The heavy schedule of creating new art, and marketing my online store may mean less posting. But I always let the mood of the moment carry the day, so we will see.

Another important part of my exploratory nature is my connection with the mind and body through challenging physical adventures. Top of the list is finding new mountains to climb on my mountain bike; long road trips on my road bike; rocking climbing and hopefully sky diving. That last one will take a little courage.

I hope to finish out the year with the publishing of an art book that centers on my blogging experience. Art for Posts is the title.

All in all I am looking forward to expressing ideas and concepts, and continuing the communication I have come to appreciate with so many talented writers, photographers, musicians, and artists.

2012 is a year for us. Let’s do it together.

Art rules.

Ideas conquer….


Weekly Photo Challenge: Fall 02

Mountain biking and Fall weather go hand in hand. My Trek taking a break.

Fall weather and my Trek


Weekly Photo Challenge: Mountains 04

Mountain biking at Tsali Recreational Area in North Carolina

A photo challenge that includes mountains would not be a challenge without a difficult mountain bike to the summit. In this photograph I have just reached the top of the Right Loop at Tsali Recreational Area in North Carolina. The elevation at this point is around 5000 feet.

The popular Tsali Recreation Area has long been a top destination for mountain biking in Western North Carolina, and even the entire eastern US. Containing nearly 40 miles of trails in a system with four excellent loops, it has been rated as one of the top 10 places to ride in the USA. The area is located on a hilly peninsula reaching into beautiful Fontana Lake, at the base of the Great Smoky Mountains. The four long main trails at Tsali wind along the lake shore and onto the wooded, steep interior ridges. There are several connector trails, gravel roads and extension trails that give a few more options for rides besides the main loops. Three designated overlooks along the trails provide sweeping views of Fontana Lake with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the other side. The trails are fast, hardpacked singletrack, and they’re extremely well designed and well used.


Biking to a Place Inside and Out / 06

Sometimes on the bike the reality of life and the beautiful dream become one

I am very fortunate that were I live, I can immediately access miles of rural back roads to immerse myself on my road bike. I spoke earlier about the sense of transformation that is achieved while biking. Here on these winding roads and gently sloping hills, I pass by farm lands, historic areas, woods and beautiful estates.  What enhances a great ride is the right music. There is a distinct difference in the selection of music for road and mountain.  On the road there is a need to be able to hear your surroundings for safety measures. Hence, my selection is always, soft, slow dancing ambient. My favorite band for a ride is the neo-classical ambient band from Austin Texas, Stars of the Lid. In fact, this has been the most prolific band for me in the past two years. This is aural mastery of the highest order. In contrast, when mountain biking, there really is no need to be conscious of your surroundings.  Now your music can flow anyway you like. For the mountain, I prefer long flowing electronic sounds from bands like AES Dana, Bombay Dub Orchestra and Near the Parenthesis, or French Pop artists like Etienne Daho, France Gall, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Alizee to name a few. It is here on the mountain when you need that extra aural drive to push your rhythm to its fullest—to make that climb.

Music plays a significant part in creating the aural soundscape in which to find transformation in physical movement


Biking to a Place Inside and Out / 02

Biking across the tracks and taking photos at Laurel Creek.

In Philadelphia, growing up as a teenager in the 1960’s and 70’s, I enjoyed the freedom biking gave to my friends and I. We had back then what we called “Vroom” bikes. These were the bikes with the big V-shape handlebars (before the smaller BMX).  As a group of young riders we were very competitive. We often challenged others boys from rival gangs in competition to see who could do the longest “wheelies” (lifting the front wheels and pedaling for blocks at a time, turning corners, and riding backwards). Needless to say, we sometimes found ourselves in fights, arguments and riding for our lives. Gangs were a prominent fixture of Philadelphia in the 60’s and 70’s and although we were quite young we were not immune to the violence in rival neighborhoods.

Meditating next to a river of glass and rock at Laurel Creek


Biking to a Place Inside and Out / 01

Resting at the end of the Laurel Creek Trail, Madison County, NC

There is something about biking on a trail or on the road that leaves one breathless—sometimes literally breathless. The energy consumed, the movement imposed, and the feeling of space and time standing still. In all of this there is the sense of traveling without moving, yet always a feeling of perpetual flight.

I love biking, then and now…

Reaching the summit at Tsali Recreational Park, Graham County, NC