The Path

 

The foot paths that traverse Britain and European countries have an immense value to the contemporary walker, wanderer, and pilgrim. Many of these paths were set down centuries ago by those who used them for religious or utilitarian reasons and have retained a public right of use. They are presented to us on ordinance survey maps which allows us to explore them. I have the great freedom to set off at any time of the day and year and wander. As I walk along these, I have a sense of being part of a greater company of people who have used them, and their sense of history and spirituality inscribes itself into my mind as I walk. So many of these paths were created for a particular purpose of their time, they were born out of a necessity to hunt, to gather food, to lead cattle, to go from one church to another. It was part of the fabric of life, inherent to daily activities, to work to survival. The track survives as a witness and relic of the past, it gives us a sense of continuity, the sense of belonging to a humanity that not only is alive now but lived thousands of years before us, it gives us a sense of a greater span of time. The foot path is humble, the width of a single walker, often created of beaten earth, rocks and vegetation. It lives in harmony with nature, doesn't scar and devastate the land but rather, meanders along its contours in the same way as other animals make their pathways along the natural lay of the land. It is finding this harmony with the landscape through the use of ancient paths which gives a sense not only of belonging to a greater collection of people, but belonging to the land, how it undulates and contours and how I can flow with it, just another animal amongst the millions who have walked the earth in harmony before me. This is the path, the line that I respect, that I love, that beckons me to walk, to go and see what is behind the horizon, a pilgrim with my line on the canvas, exploring the contour of the paint, where it naturally flows within the landscape of the paint and leads the eye beyond the canvas, a journey inspired by the act of painting, of laying an imaginary landscape and working with the contours  to find the direction of the path.

 

Marie-Claire Hamon

we took a path into the hills 125x125cm.JPG