Day 1 – Westward Ho!

Day 1
It’s about a journey, not a singular route but a series of stops and starts, inspiration and perspiration, joy and sorrow, lost and found. Almost the way you’d develop the composition of a painting. Don’t be too predictable, don’t run off the edges and if it’s about the sky, make it be about the sky. It’s all about the composition, balanced but never centered.

I seem to have all the rules just bouncing around in my head but I’m not sure they all present themselves when required. I keep thinking that if I’d gone to art school the rules would have been firmly embedded into my psyche, with a lot less bounce. But because I did not, I continue to work at learning all that I can.

Today I started a particular journey believing that I am ready for a more total immersion into painting than I have ever had. I am both excited and terrified. I am sitting in a hotel room in Bedford, PA. I left home at 6:30 this morning in what will be a cross country drive which will land me in Lakewood, Colorado. I am planning on arriving on Wednesday and going off to paint on my own for a few days and then beginning a week long workshop with Lois Griffel, author of “Painting the Impressionist Landscape”.

I attended one of Lois’ workshops in New Hampshire two years ago. It was a great launching point for me in developing my own style of painting; specifically using palette knives and the use of color. I had hoped to take another workshop with her in the upcoming year so I looked at her web site to see when she would be back in New England. That’s when her workshop “Painting the Rockies” grabbed my eye. I would so much rather do that than paint Cape Cod or Acadia I thought. That’s when the wheels started turning.

The more I thought about taking a plane with all my paint gear and then trying to haul wet paintings home, the more impossible it seemed. I know people do it all the tme but I haven’t. Regardless, I inquired as to any openings remaining in the workshop. In fact there were, now I had to think harder. What did I want to do? I wanted to paint the Rockies, I wanted to take another workshop with Lois, so where did that leave me. The thought of driving began to take root. I asked a couple of people if they’d like to come but it was short notice, and frankly I wasn’t sure I wanted the company. Part of me did, but part of me was very excited about a solo journey. And a solo journey is what it turned out to be.

When I started planning this trip I was filled with sheer excitment. There was very little hesitation. I went round and round with all the places I could go. That is until I started to realize I was getting carried away. I pulled back, still with the thought of flying lingering in the back of my head, and thinking about a more logical path. As I studied some maps I came up with a better plan. I would take a route in which I would stay with family half the nights out. Starting out with lunch in NJ with my brother and his family then driving a few more hours. I thought, taken in smaller doses, it all seems more manageable. So, here I am in Bedord, PA.

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