It seems to have been overly ambitious on my part, in the same week, to (A) move into storage the entire studio gallery, including most artworks, as well as (B) to pack the car for an eight-week cross-country plein air adventure. This includes, of course, paint gear and tent-camping accoutrement. I am exhausted before even I have begun.
The cool thing though, I think, is that I re-purposed a lot of stock materials from the studio including display walls. I was able to use 3'x8' and 4'x8' sheets of luan plywood and cut them into various sized oil paint panels, coating with three layers of gesso and light-sanding between each coat, providing some fifty panels, 9 x 12", 11 x 14" and a few odd-sized, specific to particular frames that I like and have brought with me.
However, I now am four days behind schedule due to the enormity of the move. I wanted to be in Colorado by today; instead, I have opted to spend a day or so in historic Galena, IL, to launch the painting effort. Hope to land in Denver by Saturday, perhaps an audition at Denver Center Theater, as well as a visit with master painter, Jeff Legg, at his studio in Estes Park, thanks in part to a recent chance association on facebook and a kind invitation from him to see the studio.
There are a couple of agendas in play with regard to this expedition. First and foremost, is the desire to paint and learn. There is absolutely no responsibility to produce inventory per se; I have given myself permission to fail as often as I have need. Process versus Product.
Secondly, there is a great desire to be in-the-moment, open to new experiences and truly seize the day with regard to rekindling a love affair with this great country. I have been in the city too long and have taken for granted the vastness of America, and I mean that on so many levels.
Thirdly, to create for myself a discipline with regard to plein air painting - from the French term meaning "in the open air", sometimes also meaning in the full air which I think is pretty cool. Full of opportunity, challenge, frustration, varying weather conditions, and absolute joy. I know that this trip is mainly geared for me to problem-solve. There are challenges and obstacles - what needs to be done so as to get through them and create.
On the visor above driver's seat is a Guardian Angel, which belonged to my dad in his car, given me by my mom during a recent trip home couple of weeks ago; there also is a van Gogh action-figure standing on the dash (makes me laugh every time I look at it). He is holding a palette in one hand, a brush full of paint in t'other. A southwestern Dream Catcher is in service on the rear-view mirror, which happens to be entirely obstructed by my fine collection of too-much-stuff.
I write this as I am some sixty miles this side of Galena - yes, have been known to write while driving. Mercifully, I retired some time ago my days of reading books as I drove by myself cross-country, and I try desperately never to text. I am only two hours into commencement and already I am beginning to relax, the city behind me, my shoulders were up vying for space with my ears. I am lolling through these gentle, rolling hills and my little Kia (Sportage), purchased just weeks ago specifically for this task, kicks smartly and efficiently into over-drive as I test the auto-cruise.
I periodically reach up and out of the window so as to check the straps on my storage rack atop the SUV. Bought a day or so ago - actually a bon voyage gift from Diann - along with a camping stove, propane lantern, and 10 x 10' tent canopy for food preparation.
There is a country music station on, a genre to which I rarely listen, but am proud of myself to recognize the first artist I hear as Faith Hill. I am reminded of something a friend of mine, Roz (White) Kinne, emailed to me weeks back, "good to get you out here to Colorado, get some of the city off ya." Have not seen her since my grad school days; we both studied theater and dance at University of Wyoming, my undergrad.
Landing in Galena just after dark and here we go. I apologize for the length of this blog entry, I did not have time or energy to write a short one :)