Brett Warniers — Ivestor's Gap
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Ivestor's Gap


Image of Ivestor's Gap
  • Image of Ivestor's Gap
  • Image of Ivestor's Gap
  • Image of Ivestor's Gap
  • Image of Ivestor's Gap

Based on a journey through the Ivestor Gap Trail in the Shining Rock Wilderness, this artwork is inspired by a mystical experience I had while walking past Grassy Cove Top mountain.

This artwork feels like it was dropped in my mind by spirit herself. It's based on what I can only call a mystical experience, and I'd like to share the story:

I was solo hiking the 9+ miles to Shining Rock on the Ivestor Gap trail, and while passing Grassy Cove, I felt a presence with me. As with all of my solitude quests, I listen to the land - I watch the distant trees flow with the atmosphere, I feel the colors shift with passing clouds. These days in nature are a profound source of my inspiration.

As I'm entering a lush ridgeline forest, I notice the ground becomes particularly squishy. A thick, almost overwhelming silence encumbers my surroundings. Not a rustle of autumn leaves, not a bird in earshot - the only sound was my breath and footsteps. Something very suddenly felt different - as I look down at the rugged trail, a thought entered my mind:

"Y'all would get around better on a horse!"

Yes totally!! Wait, what? Where did this thought come from?! As I pondered, a very specific image of a woman entered my awareness. She was rugged like the land, as sweet as she is sassy, and possessed great wisdom like the elders. Her scarf billowed in the wind as it warmed her in the high altitude. Her personality became so clear and present to me, that my imagination became flooded with the kinds of adventures she must go on. She loved and cared for this land deeply.

I made it to Shining Rock that day, yet in the weeks following, I delightfully couldn't get her out of my mind. I was awestruck to have met this spirit, and captivated by the stories she told through me. I'm getting chills as I write this in the gratitude of this experience. This character is the central subject matter of this painting, who I've been calling Ivestor.