After breakfast, arrive at Christi & Andy’s (and their two kids) in Greeley and spend a couple of hours with them; they are getting ready for a two week Greece trip to see Christi’s relatives and explore some of the various islands. I envy them, as their trip includes Santorini and others I did not visit; my five weeks in summer 2007, I was three weeks on the island of Spetses for rehearsal of LYSISTRATA and a week’s whirlwind tour of the ancient amphitheaters, including Epidaurus and Delphi – it was life-changing for me, truly – and then five days in Mykonos including day trips to Delos (birth island of Apollo and Artemis), Poros, and the seaport Napflion, where I experienced the awe-inspiring ancient Venetian Palamidi castle, now in ruins.
Christi and Andy surprised me after showing them some of the artwork that I have brought along by buying two pieces! One of my favorites, “OwlCreekCanyon, Starved Rock” and “The Lone Cypress, California.”
I was hustling to Estes Park as I had arranged to meet artist, Jeff Legg, there sometime around 4pm. Wow, is the drive into and out of Estes Park magnificent! I think that I could quite easily live there. I drove into the Stanley Hotel lot when I saw the sign; I thought I had remembered a connection to the film “The Shining,” but it was simply inspired by King’s brief stay there, the night before the hotel closed for a time; the hotel was the inspiration for both book and movie but was not filmed there. It is very beautiful; co-founded by the maker of the Stanley Steamer.
I meet Jeff there, he shows me around the hotel briefly and we decide to have some dinner together – I tell him, my treat as I am newly flush from the first sale of artwork on the trip, yay, and off we go to a wonderfully quaint BBQ place. We both have the fabulous half ribs, half pork, wow & wow. So much for my almonds-for-dinner diet!
We see his studio which is nothing short of amazing and very impressive and his work blows me fairly away! I learn that he is friends of the three painters with whom I had taken my first workshop two years ago in Zionsville, north of Indianapolis: C.W. Mundy, Todd Reifers, and David Slonim. In fact, he joined C.W. on a painting excursion in France years ago, several of the plein air pieces from France I was able to see in his studio.
Jeff also had participated in the first national plein air convention in Las Vegas in April, which was the impetus for this my adventure; I wanted to go, but was still on contract at Chicago Shakespeare for SS! The Taming of the Shrew and as I already had begun planning the trip, decided instead to paint for a week in Carmel in May, concurrent to the Carmel Art Festival there.
After saying farewell to Jeff and assuring that we would visit together again, perhaps at next year’s convention, I decided to stay at one of the cabins along the river there, in order to paint it in the early morning, perhaps some of the fly-fishermen would be present again. But after an outright “no” from the first cabin (“not for just one night stay”), I try the second and she insists that the $125 per night is due to the fact her cleaning people have to come and turn-over and it isn’t worth a one-night stay. Hmm. So I stay at the EconoLodge and have a hot shower and can spend some time organizing. There were many other friends I wanted to see while in the region, but needed to get moving and I was, after all, four days behind.
Jeff had suggested that rather than going north through a rather flat and boring Wyoming route, that I opt for driving on Hwy 7 south through the mountains to I-70 West and that becomes the plan. Go West, Young Man.