In addition to the hundreds of oils, pastels and photographs that Parker has produced, he has meticulously documented his experience in each park, as well as the more esoteric details from his journeys between. He writes, and he carries an Olympus voice recorder in his pocket at all times, incessantly recording his observations.
At the half-way point of his project, Scott wrote up a “State of the Project” report. In his own words, below, you can get a sense of the scope of his dedication and adventure.
STATE OF THE NPP 2003
It is with great satisfaction and pride that I announce the first half of National Park Project has been realized. Since leaving Chicago last September I have worked in 30 national parks, completing over 100 works of art while archiving thousands of photographs. My work and travel have left me eager to address the remaining 26 National Parks in the second half of this unique project.
During this year my work improved and I have identified many of my working habits. Cataloging has enabled me to articulate these compositional, aesthetic and handling habits. I am consciously manipulating these findings so that their strengths may be enriched and capitalize on the weaknesses. Many of my efforts have yielded clues of future work. I have yet been able to complete the puzzle with these clues; however I am confident that with time the course will be evident.
This project has afforded me the focus and intensity to grow as a painter and drawer, as well as a person. Oh yeah, I have also seen the most beautiful natural areas that our country has seen fit to protect.
Since my departure from Chicago I have driven to Alaska, the Florida Keys, Maine, and back to the northwest. 38,000 miles traveled in the car; 130 tanks of gas used; 13 oil changes and one set of tires worn out so far. I have had the opportunity to visit Taliesin West, the Alamo, Marfa, the Corvette museum, Fairchild Gardens, the muscle car museum, Monticello, Sam Clemens? home, the Enchanted Highway. This year I have witnessed four sets of friends wed, met my nephew and became a god father. I have fished in thirty-two states and caught fish in thirty of them, twenty states to go. Locked my keys in the car twice this year and then called AAA twice. I've been broke twice too. Two pairs of walking shoes have been worn through and two sets of sandals have been retired. In April I met the sheriff of Monroe County Florida during a late night petanque game (similar to boci); play however was not interrupted. I got drunk in Teralingua. I was fortunate to visit many friends across the country and enjoy their hospitality. Failed miserably at surfing, I could not reconcile the fact that I appeared as the weakest seal in the water to the northern California sharks. I have seen bears, moose, sheep, wild horses, whales, porpoises, elk, bison, and tarpon, ferrule mules, brown and white boobies, bald eagles, goats, owls, wolves, tourists, loons and more. I dropped my camera once, once is all it takes. This forthcoming year I look forward to complete the National Park Project. I will work in American Samoa, the Hawaiian Islands, the American south west finishing with four months next summer in the wilds of Alaska.
This project is working because of the support of my family of friends. I would like to thank Wes Groot for all of his work, he has created and maintained the web site www.scottwparker.com, repaired my broken paddle and easels, supplied all technical advice, assistance and general support. Thanks for everything.
Scott W. Parker