Dori Bergman is a painter and self-proclaimed outdoor artist who currently calls New Hampshire home. As an artist, Dori draws from her education in wilderness therapy to depict an emotional landscape along with a physical one.
Her bright colors and smooth lines offer clean representations of outdoor experiences, combined with less tangible things. In her painting called “Baggage,” women hike with backpacks sporting patches of color labeled: anxiety, grief, depression, addiction, fear of abandonment, body image issues.
Dori’s art, and the thoughtfulness she brings to each canvas, remind us to reflect on what an outdoor experience can be, beyond the literal peaks.
Sometimes I feel scared and confused, angry and frustrated, sad and hopeless. Like this great big gigantic world is closing in on me. And I am so small… But then I paint. Because the canvas can be anything I want it to be.
Do you know how this feels? I fill my carefully handcrafted universe with the wildest of dreams.
One day I will create a magical outdoor program for young girls with anxiety and depression. I’m going to call it Woodsman. For now, I have a bachelor’s degree in wilderness therapy—where my passion lies not in the outdoors, but rather, using it to help people. I’m currently pursuing a master’s degree in outdoor education at the University of New Hampshire. When I’m not taking classes or exploring the beautiful White Mountains, you can find me painting about what inspires me most: women in the wilderness.
I believe that creativity can be used to enhance outdoor education in so many ways. Most importantly, I see it as a vehicle for self-reflection. Self-reflection is important in all outdoor programs because participants need to reflect on these new experiences in order to transfer what they learn into new knowledge. Artistic expression can allow them to deeply process their thoughts/emotions and take meaning from the experience.
Also, art can give people a way to share that experience with others back at home! For me, art has become a way to share what I have learned in outdoor experiences with others, and inspire more women to get outside.