This past week my daughter Michaela and I took a road trip around our state of Wyoming, mostly on paved highways but occasionally on dirt roads. We traveled more than 1000 miles and saw geological wonders, historical sites, Native American objects, masterpieces of Western art and contemporary land art. We walked amongst dinosaur tracks on a prehistoric beach and where Buffalo Bill Cody auditioned acts for his wild west show. We drove through natural gas fields, oil fields, vast coal mines, and abandoned gold mines; past massive mansions in Jackson Hole and run-down trailer houses in towns suffering the bust effects of the boom cycle inherent in an energy state.
Since before she was a year old and could hold a crayon, Michaela has been my art buddy. We’ve drawn, painted and made stuff together, gone to museums, exhibits and lectures together, and have had too many art discussions to even consider counting. We feed off each other and inspire each other. She’s introduced the work of artists unknown to me that have informed my work. She left me in the dust intellectually a few years ago, and now that she’s working on her Ph.D. in Art History at the University of Toronto (focusing on environmental art history), I learn even more from her and am challenged to be more mindful in my work.