In 2019 I finished my 50 states series! I found that through painting the states it awoke my desire to travel even more. Since then I've made it my goal to see the places I painted in each state now that I've painted them. If you've followed my state series or read the blogs, you might know that for most of the states I'd be seeing a brand new place for the first time, and for others I'd being going back to a place that I fell in love with and possibly viewing it with new eyes.
So to mark off each State I decided I'd take my decal to the scene and photograph it there. With finishing the series at the end of April, I made it to 3 of the State locations in 2019, so here goes #1!
French Canyon in Starved Rock State Park, Illinois
At the end of July my sister Elizabeth and I took a little detour on our trip to Michigan for my first out of State art show! We left early on a Friday morning and made our way to Starved Rock State Park in IL. Having pretty much only driven through IL on the freeway seeing fields and endless fields, I'm a little embarrassed to say my expectations for this park were a little low. But, I'm happy my expectations were wrong. We crossed the Illinois river and entered vast trees and the park boundaries. It was a nice hot sunny July afternoon, we grabbed a park map and made French Canyon first on our list. It's less then a mile from the Visiter center and well worth the hike! As we approached the canyon you could immediately feel the cool air it creates. (which was very refreshing on a day like that!)
This photo above is the view as you enter the canyon before you round the bend. Thankfully the waterfall was at more of a trickle because I would think this spot isn't always accessible.
I was blown away by how big the canyon walls actually were, this is a case where pictures don't do the scene enough justice! It was totally unreal to see this place with my own eyes after I had painted it. I was at a loss for words soaking up this feeling and it's a joy to share it with you!
I highly Recommend Starved Rock State Park in you live in IL or are passing through on interstate 39 with time to spare! Outside of this Canyon there are quite a few more, and a great trail along the Illinois River with a lock and dam!