Last night was my second night of three camping at October Mountain State Forest near Lee, MA. When I arrived day before last, I went in search of a rain suit, to Lenox and Lee, Stockbridge and Pittsfield. Walmart, J.C. Penney’s, Sears, Dick’s Sporting Goods all yielded nothing. As I was heading out, I spied a tractor supply and et voila, I now have a bib rain pant. After some four days straight of wet, wet, wet, the bastards will not be able to stop me now.
Yesterday morning I headed to a diner very early, 6am. I had slept in my rain pants because the tent was taking on water, everything wet: sleeping bag, sheets, pillows and my sleep sweats, ugh. Still damp to the bones, ah, hot coffee. I write this blog entry from that same diner today, sitting near the front windows, light pouring in. I had an odd thought a few moments ago light a wee lightning bolt, looked around and said to myself, this is the diner from Rockwell’s illustration with the young boy and the cop sitting on the diner stools. As I looked up to above the bar, there was a framed poster of same. Yep, same place. Pretty cool. Rockwell made some of the Stockbridge and Lee icons quite famous. I’ll be touring his studio and the museum this afternoon, looking forward to it.
The next few hours will be doing a painting of the famous Gingerbread House at Tyingham. See how it goes. Yesterday after breakfast I headed to downtown Stockbridge and never got there. The agenda was to paint something remarkable within a mile radius of the diner. I got quarter of a mile. Pulled off and parked near the bridge and within three hours had a nice little 11 x 14” rendering of the fast-water river and its indelible reflections. Several folks came up to chat. One person who was on an errand stopped on her way back, looked, inquired price and two minutes later was walking away with a very wet impasto painting in a Chicago “Piece” pizza box, ha. Instructions: wait at least two months before handing over to someone for framing and it will be a full year before the painting is properly dry. I was thrilled by the sale.
But a cool thing happened yesterday: a gentleman walked up on me while I was on the bridge, seemingly well into his eighties, says to me, “I drove by you bit ago, glad you are still here. Just had to park and come over to tell you that twenty-five, even fifty years ago, you might find many painters out here painting in the area. No more. It has absolutely warmed my heart to find you here.” He then dug into a pocket and handed me a museum pass Admit One to the Norman Rockwell, smiled and said, "have fun, son."
Know what? It is moments like these that make a wet tent just a fine situation for me, just fine.