• Tory Voner

Nature is My Savior, and so much more.

Updated: Mar 22, 2021

Throughout this whole pandemic, I have been retreating into nature, more and more, just to survive what is going on in this crazy world. Sometimes, you have to strip everything away, and realize what's the most important to you. I highly recommend just going to your nearby forest, and take a 30-60 minute walk/hike through the woods. Meditation, is such a great tool that I have been utilizing more and more this past year. Meditating in the woods packs a huge double punch to wash away all those doubts I have about myself, and others. All of us are on our own journey, even if you have and live with a big family. We need to look inward to ourselves, to see the larger picture. I feel this has been hugely lacking in our society as a whole.


Frequently visiting the mountains in the Berkshires of Massachusetts has been the thing I have to look forward to, thanks to my sister who lives out there. Living alone being in the same three rooms most of a year, I don't think I would have been able to produce as much artwork as I have. Every time I go my sister and I travel to experience new hikes, new vistas I can potentially use for my inspiration. One of my pieces just sold from my birthday vacation week last November, where I spent the entire week working on this piece.

This is the view from my sister's backyard, in the fall. It's called "Eagle Mill in Fall." This mill is located on the Housatonic River, in Lee, Massachusetts, which is highly polluted from General Electric. They just made a deal to dig a giant hole near here and are going to dredge up all the damage they did in the 1930's-1970's when they continuously dumped PCBs into the river. Mind you, this damage goes all the way through Connecticut and into the Long Island Sound, so this cleanup will be incredibly extensive. No one is allowed to fish or swim, it is still that toxic and will be for a long time, unless this is cleaned up. But it will go into a giant pit, so it doesn't just go away. We need to treasure places like this, and something like a river being contaminated effects SO many things. I just wish big corporate companies would think before they produce anything. It effects communities like the Berkshires for many decades, and that just shouldn't be. See article here about the effects from NOAA. This painting sold at my Solo Show at Tremonte.


I took this photo below while I was finishing off the painting above. I was hoping for warmer fall weather in early November, usually I get lucky and we get one last warm spell before its freezing all winter long but not the case in 2020! It was in the 70s when I arrived, and two days later it snapped into the 20s and snowing! Brrr! But the snow lightly covering the mountaintops, over the beautiful fall foliage, was something I would never forget. I knew I captured a painting I would attack in the near future.

I really wanted to make that snowy mountaintop shine. Capturing the varied colors of snowy whites I thought would be harder than it was. Everything seemed to just flow right out of my paintbrush with this one, and came together just as I envisioned. That doesn't always happen! I call this piece, "Snow Kissing Fall in Lee, MA." It is 18" x 18", and is $575. Bring some nature into your home, I guarantee it will put a smile on your face! This piece is now showing at Nudel Restaurant, in Lenox, MA.

Going on an adventure into the great outdoors to discover new places, new woodlands, new waterfalls and bubbling brooks, is something I never grow tired of. At the end of the day, it's something exciting that I will remember always, gives me great cardiovascular exercise, (which we all need a little more of, lets be honest!) and I go to sleep happy that I pushed myself out the door to try something new. I require beautiful eye candy in front of me sometimes, just to inspire me and my artwork. Never have I found a better place for that then Mother Nature.


One of my favorite trails near my sister is right in her town of Lee, MA, on October Mountain. She always refers to it as the "Gorge trail." See trail info here. The drive to the trail is just a preview of the beauty to come. A few miles of bumpy dirt roads leads to the trail, with a lake and beautiful mountainscape vistas to your left. You may have to drive very slow on these roads, but I am always very ok with that, daydreaming and looking into the blue-toned hills in the distance. First time I went there, I went completely past the trail head, so keep that in mind if you want to go there! Only a few cars can park near it, but most people don't even know about it, which is another reason I love it. Truly feels like a hidden gem.


Now, getting out of the car, I always make sure I have a backpack full of goodies, water, sketchbook, cell, and as many layers of clothing as I think I will need, depending on the season. Also, this hike is very steep, so I need my hiking stick. On the way down you always get "spaghetti legs" as I call it, so you will be thankful, trust me! On the left of the trail the entire way up, is a series of brooks and waterfalls, the largest being right at the beginning of the trail. Many come here just to see that, then turn around and head home. The worst of the steepness is really only the first mile though, so don't let that scare you off! Gets your heart pumping, hurts so good. The best is yet to come.

The entire trail is alongside this waterfall/bubbling brook, and you cross over it many times. Make sure you have your waterproof hiking boots on! I always feel like a child again, hopping from stone to stone, the sounds of the bubbling water washing away all of my fears and thoughts. Ever hear of walking meditation? This is a great place for that. I always feel at my best near the water, but I also am a water sign, so maybe that is why. At the top of the mountain, is a beautiful lake, with a picnic table and a beautiful rushing dam rushing down from it. Great place to sketch, meditate, or whatever your heart desires. This 7 mile hike usually takes me a few hours, and you can either head back down on a road (if your legs are just too tired), or head back the same way you came, which is what I usually do because I want to be alongside the brook. Savoring every last moment. Last time I went I went snowshoeing on it, and made it back just in time for sunset. Absolutely epic.




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