How to Find Your Way Through a Maze


Metamorphic, by Laureen Marchand (oil/board)

The artist’s brain is like a labyrinth, a maze in an old fashioned garden. Try this path. Now that one. Turn left. Retrace your steps. Turn right three times. In the centre, untold delights await. On the other side, incredible vistas. Usually the hedges that form these green walls are too high to see over, but once in awhile you get a glimpse of what might be around the next corner. And now you’re lost. You go back to the beginning and start over.

Yet somehow you find your way. You didn’t know where you were going or how to get there, but here you are. And see how beautiful it is. Just look…

How to find your way through a maze: Find a turning point. The turning point is where the maze swaps the direction that it is designed for. To find the turning point, trace walls of the maze inwards. You will find a place where there is only one point to cross the entwining walls. This will be the turning point. Pass through this point, and you then can work backwards and forwards.

Blog-maze-russboroughRussborough House Maze, Blessington, Co Wicklow, Ireland

How to find your way through a maze: Use an algorithm. Trémaux’s algorithm requires drawing lines on the floor to mark a path. Every time a direction is chosen it is marked by drawing a line on the floor. In the beginning a random direction is chosen. On arriving at a junction that has not been visited before, pick a random direction that is not marked  When arriving at a marked junction and if your current path is marked only once then turn around and walk back. When you finally reach the solution, paths marked exactly once will indicate a direct way back to the start. If there is no exit, this method will take you back to the start where all paths are marked twice.

blog-maze-glendurganGlendurgan Garden Maze, Falmouth, Cornwall, England

How to find your way through a maze: Follow a wall. Since mazes start and end at the edge, follow a wall. If you follow the wall on your left or right, you will eventually reach the end of the maze.

maze-scone-palaceMurray Star Maze, Scone Palace, Perthshire

How to find your way through a maze: Walk in and walk out.

blog-maze-cockington-greenGrass Maze, Cockington Green, Canberra, Australia

How do you find your way through the mazes you encounter?

The painting at the top of this post was at a recent centre of the maze for me. You can see more information about it here. It is currently available for sale.

(The instructions above are adapted from

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This blog is a series of posts from one artist’s life in her community in one of Canada’s most beautiful and remote wilderness regions. To receive updates, with inspiring images and stories from the artist’s studio, plus a free printable postcard of one of my most recent paintings, just put your email in the box on the right. Your email address will never be shared.

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4 Responses to How to Find Your Way Through a Maze

  1. Marlena Wyman December 11, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

    So true! I have described part of the creative process as solving problems. I am deep into that myself right now, preparing for an upcoming exhibit. This one has been giving me some unexpected challenges. Some problems to solve (both technical and creative) and a few walls. But whenever a correct turn is made – yay!

    • Laureen December 11, 2015 at 8:54 pm #

      Glad this struck a chord for you Marlena! Sometimes those correct turns seem hard to find – and then all of a sudden it feels like you get to make a bunch in a row. Hope the rest of the exhibition preparation goes well. I look forward to seeing images on your website!

  2. Christine Tollerton December 12, 2015 at 6:31 am #

    The Grass Maze in Canberra is not a maze, but a labyrinth. You can get lost in a maze – there are decisions to be made and false paths to trick you. But in a labyrinth you just keep following the path, which takes you on a long journey, and eventually you come out at the end. I don’t like mazes as I become worried that I’ll never come out, but I love labyrinths where you don’t know where the path will take you but you know that if you keep on going you’ll be alright in the end.

    • Laureen December 12, 2015 at 8:51 am #

      A lovely distinction, Christine, thanks. Now I have to think about how to apply it to creative mazes!