Art and paragliding

painting with flows of yellow spreading over mountains

Freeflight! In these times of lockdown and dreaming of the freedom of the hills, I thought I’d share this one with you. This is a fairly large canvas, and as with all my paintings starts from actual adventures or places I’ve visited and sketched. The art of adventure….and this one was pretty special to me! It is from my last summer living in New Zealand before returning to Scotland to set up again.

mountainous valley with paraglider flying in the distance and figures in the forground waiting to launch
Flying from Treble Cone, Waknaka, NZ, scary and mindblowingly beautiful.

A couple of years ago I spent a ridiculously happy summer learning to fly with Infinity Paragliding. This painting is ‘Freeflight’, exhibited at the NZ Art Show. It started from the incredible views across the Wakatipu basin from the school hill at Coronet Peak. Learning and waiting on the hill, watching the winds, with the whole sky stretched out in front of you. Knowing you are about to launch and fly off into it, is the most insanely exhilarating experience in the world!!

No lies, it was HARD too, heaps of theory to stay safe, lots of physical co-ordination that doesn’t always come naturally to me. Coupled with a few bumps and scares along the learning curve. I often stood at launch on the hill wondering why everyone else seemed to look so chilled at the fact we were about to run head-first off a mountain!! But the absolute sheer joy and freedom makes all the effort worth it!! So what better than to make art from adventure?

close up of art with mountains and a yellow sky
‘Free Flight’ painting detail

So the scale of this painting (152x102cm), and the open spaces and flow of colours, represent to me the ultimate freedom of free flight, the vast beauty of flight in the mountains. For bonus points, which of the paragliding pics in the gallery at the end of this post was taken in Scotland?! Clue…the weather is a little more challenging??!

figure taking off on an adventure from a snowy slope on a paraglider
Taking off from the snowy slopes…(confession, I fell flat on my face seconds after this photo!!)

My wing sits in the cupboard for now, very little flight going on for many reasons in the last two years, but even if I have to go back to school here in Scotland to refresh my learning, I absolutely can’t wait to get in the air again.
Bucket list, fly in Glencoe. I’ll get an extra huge canvas to paint that one!!

For more adventure-related art, read about my current project here!