She calls it the “Quest.” Local artist Fitz Maurice is on a mission to paint in every one of the country’s 59 national parks and capture the essence of each on canvas. She started in March 2012—committing to the venture full time on May 1, 2015—and so far, she’s painted more than 20.
“The whole reason I set out … to capture the national parks is because they’re such a phenomenal inspiration,” she says, noting that her paintings are on exhibition at Woods Cove Art Gallery, as well as Main Beach Fine Art. “I will ride horses, I will hike miles, I have kayaked my way there. … Whatever it takes, I’ll get there.”
A Laguna Beach resident for more than 25 years, Fitz has shown at museums, galleries and special exhibitions around the world, winning the Jackson Pollock-Lee Krasner New York award from The Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 2001. Until recently, she worked out of a space at Laguna Canyon Artists’ Studios. “Now my studio is the parks,” she quips.
To date, Fitz has visited Mount Rainier, Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon national parks, among others. This year, she wants to travel to Alaska, which contains eight national parks, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, founded in 1916. She’s seeking corporate sponsorship to help defray the costs.
The message in her paintings is to enjoy nature. “Drink your coffee outside, have lunch outside, get your kids to play outside,” Fitz says. “It’s important. People aren’t outside anymore, and there are so many gorgeous places to be. If you really embrace nature, it is so satisfying that you lose that constant nagging hunger to buy more stuff.”
Written by – Richard Chang