Art on the Trail, our celebration of artwork inspired by the LHT continues! We are thrilled to present inspiring contributions from local artists – professional and amateur, across various media, each creator taken with different scenes along our 22 miles of trail. Keep creating, we love to see your work. And, be sure to check out previously featured artists in our gallery for inspiration.

LHT Art on the Trail Kaia O'Reilly

Courtesy of the artist

Check out Kaia’s gallery tour – artsteps.com

Meet Kaia O’Reilly – a college student in Manalapan who grew up near the trail. Kaia creates digital artwork as well works in oil and pastels — skills she honed in an AP Studio class in high school and while sheltering in place over the last year and a half.

LHT: Can you share a biography or Artist’s Statement?
Kaia: It is often that I take inspiration in the things I see around me and walking on the trail is no exception. We’ve all seen a sunset that you could never get a good picture of, but possessing the skills to paint, I figured I’d have some fun with it. I love painting with vibrant colors and have been trying my hand at more interesting compositions. Sadly, I am not as close to the trail as I used to be as I have moved to Manalapan for college, but it is a beautiful trail, nonetheless. I recently graduated high school and will be pursuing psychology in college.

LHT: How long have you been creating? What inspired you to start or restart creating art?
Kaia: I have been creating since I was a young child and honed my skills as I made my way through high school. I was in AP Studio Art for my senior year, and I had so many ideas while isolated during quarantine.

LHT Art on the Trail Kaia O'Reilly

A piece inspired by tree guards sticking out of the ground by the lake at BMS Lawrenceville, courtesy of the artist

LHT: What is your preferred medium or media?
Kaia: I like using digital art for its convenience, but I love the feeling of oil paints and pastels. Even though I tend to get impatient or bored halfway through — oils take two days minimum to dry!

LHT: Is all your artwork inspired by nature?
Kaia: Not all of it, but my sustained investigations for AP Studio were greatly inspired by different organisms. It’s not uncommon for me to be inspired by nature, though.

LHT: What about the LHT inspires you? What are your favorite segments?
Kaia: The foliage and the bodies of water help make for compositions with nice lighting. And the various bits of architecture help with contrast, like the elevated trail at BMS Lawrenceville.

LHT: How did you discover the LHT?
Kaia: My mother had mentioned it in passing once or twice, but my art teacher suggested I visit to create something during my down time (I had a lot! I was blazing through art the whole year!)

LHT Art on the Trail Kaia O'Reilly

Courtesy of the artist

LHT: Do you have advice or messages for other artists (adults, kids, novices, pros) encouraging them to get outside and create art inspired by the LHT?
Kaia: There are so many segments of the LHT that it’s impossible not to be inspired! Even if you don’t feel it, you still get to see a bunch of cool plants and waterways on top of getting your steps in. It’s always nice on the trail. And always remember; bad art is better than no art!

LHT Art on the Trail Kaia O'Reilly

Courtesy of the artist

LHT Art on the Trail Kaia O'Reilly

Courtesy of the artist

LHT Art on the Trail Kaia O'Reilly

Courtesy of the artist