During the charged political climate of 2016, Cynthia Mulcahy looked to the nature around her as a source of inspiration. Her explorations eventually resulted in a field guide detailing trails off of the beaten path to share not only the beauty of nature in Dallas but also its layered history.

The artist explains, “My artist version of a field guide, heavy on the history of place, is illustrated with watercolor paintings of discoveries made over four years of getting intentionally lost observing wildlife, scribbling field notes, taking photographs, making audio recordings. Unapologetically, the paintings are intended as singular meditations on beauty: the bright blue eyes of a White Ibis, the magnificent beak of a climate-threatened Wood Stork, a study of tiny-winged insects, all unforeseen beauty encountered in the wild.”

Explore the trails in Cynthia’s field guide above, and reconnect with art, nature, and history. You may also download a PDF version here. Learn more about a similar project by the artist here. You can also view a snapshot of a current work in progress inspired by the field guide in the image gallery above. 

Additionally, pickup D Magazine’s March issue to read their 16-page cover story based on the project. View the artwork with the artist’s descriptions here, and read an adapted online version of the article, “The Best Trails to Visit When Avoiding the Katy Trail and White Rock Lake.” Listen to Cynthia discuss the field guide in an episode of Podcast on Natural Dallas here.

Share your experiences with Dallas’ wilderness by tagging your posts with #TDGTrails.