Inspired by Walden: My Art Pieces For the Fourth Annual Juried Art Exhibition at the McKinney Center

Poster 2016

I am soooooo excited and nervous to reveal my two art pieces that will be on display at The Fourth Annual Juried Art Exhibition at the McKinney Center in Jonesborough, Tennessee. Whew, that was a mouthful! Before I get to the reveal, I just wanted to thank all of you for your support and kindness. When I was ready to give up, there was always a sweet message from a reader, a friend, or fellow artist. As any artist or maker knows, it is not easy putting our work (our babies–because each piece is truly a labor of love) out there for the world to see…to judge…to possibly criticize. But we have to.

There’s nothing more daring than showing up, putting ourselves out there, and letting ourselves be seen. 

Brené Brown

*drum roll* Now, I introduce “Solitude Ride” and “Cosmopolitan Owl”–both inspired by my love of Walden and Henry David Thoreau + my love of paper, old books/magazines, and mixed media.

"Solitude Ride"

“Solitude Ride”

I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods

Factoids about these works and how they came to be:

  • I used the actual pages from my high school Walden book (let’s not talk about how old this book is!) in each of the art pieces in my series inspired by Thoreau’s wish to live deliberately and his advice that “we need the tonic of wildness…At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.”
  • Using book pages in this collection was a must because Thoreau stated that books are the treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations. And who am I to argue with Henry *wink*
  • “Solitude Ride” is based on the fact that I am an outgoing introvert. I am the one that blurts out weird, random trivia at parties because I just can’t help myself…and I am just that nerdy and awkward *wink* As much as I love being around people…friends…family, sometimes, “I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.” Thanks, Thoreau, I could not have said it better myself.


  • I loved “patching” these works together with papers and paint (like a quilt or a puzzle) because as Henry stated, “No man ever stood the lower in my estimation for having a patch in his clothes: yet I am sure that there is greater anxiety, commonly, to have fashionable, or at least clean and unpatched clothes, than to have a sound conscience.”
  • Confession–I have no formal art training and no degree in fine art. I make everything up as I go along. Like a child playing in the sandbox or scribbling on paper for the first time, I am free to create from my own imagination and not from anything that my brain has been “taught” or “trained” to do. “It is remarkable how easily and insensibly we fall into a particular route, and make a beaten track for ourselves. I had not lived there a week before my feet wore a path from my door to the pond-side; and though it is five or six years since I trod it, it is still quite distinct. It is true, I fear, that others may have fallen into it, and so helped to keep it open. The surface of the earth is soft and impressible by the feet of men; and so with the paths which the mind travels. How worn and dusty, then, must be the highways of the world, how deep the ruts of tradition and conformity!”
Just being my outgoing, introverted, ridiculously awkward self with my daughter Abby.

Just being my outgoing, introverted, ridiculously awkward self with my daughter Abby.

  • “Cosmopolitan Owl” took a long time to create because I had to find all the right pieces to “patch” together. Bless, I almost gave up on her! Finally, after countless hours of searching, I found the perfect vintage magazine ad + vintage bird anthology with the coolest picture of an owl holding a mouse in its mouth. Once I found those two things, everything else just happened.
  • Henry, why don’t you tell the readers about the inspiration behind our “Cosmopolitan Owl” creation: “I rejoice that there are owls. Let them do the idiotic and maniacal hooting for men. It is a sound admirably suited to swamps and twilight woods which no day illustrates, suggesting a vast and undeveloped nature which men have not recognized. They represent the stark twilight and unsatisfied thoughts which all have. All day the sun has shown on the surface of some savage swamp, where the double spruce stands hung with usnea lichens, and small hawks circulate above, and the chickadee lisps amid the evergreens, and the partridge and rabbit skulk beneath; and now a more dismal and fitting day dawns, and a different race of creatures awakes to express the meaning of Nature there.”
"Cosmopolitan Owl"

“Cosmopolitan Owl”

Honestly, I could chat about Walden all day + I have quotes for days, but I won’t show y’all just how awkward and nerdy I am on this post *wink* However, if you stick around long enough (or check out my social media), you will probably get a good idea!

Don't miss one awkward and fun moment--follow me on Instagram and Twitter @ChasidyHathorn

Don’t miss one awkward, fun moment–follow me on Instagram (yes, there are lots of photos of my furbabies, but they are super adorable) and Twitter (my business, more serious side).

Thanks so much for sitting a spell with me today as I chatted about “Solitude Ride” and “Cosmopolitan Owl” + my obvious love of Henry David Thoreau. I am pretty sure that Henry and I would have been the best of friends, if we could have sorted out the seating arrangements *wink* “I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.” –Thoreau 

**p.s. the next work in the series is based on the three chairs quote! That is all I can tell you…nope…not going to tell………

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