Thursday, January 17, 2013

Day 4, Easel on Down the Road - Follow the 50

This new title came courtesy of Jillian (thanks!) and makes me laugh. In fact, I did change states on Day 4, which is a story in itself.

But first, I woke to a sunny day in Arkansas, took a long hike and had a big breakfast in the lodge before packing up to paint the view from Mt. Magazine. This state park is about an hour's drive west, down one winding road, across flat ranch land and up another twisty two-lane. In Arkansas, they do not clutter your view with things like fences or guard rails. (They post signs saying as much.) I took some tight turns where I didn't dare look over the edge.

On my way to finding the perfect painting spot, I saw a possum waddling up the road, completely unconcerned about my car heading for him.  I thought he must be sick to be out during the day. Then his weird, prehistoric form came into focus - an armadillo!

Eventually I set up on a mound of grassy stone curving away into cliffs that led to the valley below. A sign read, "Hang gliders please register at the lodge." I could not imagine running and jumping into such emptiness. All day birds of prey glided silently below me.

A friendly gentleman from Texarkana wandered by and we chatted for a bit.  He and his wife were staying in one of the cabins that perch on that overlook. I thought maybe I would like to stay in one some day.

I painted on one of my large canvases (24x30). This will be the size of the final fifty. I covered the surface in 3 hours and decided to pack up. (How do you keep mountains from looking like a 70's album cover? This is a problem I will solve another day.) I was tired.

When I plugged in the address of Beavers Bend State Park, my GPS said I would not arrive until 8pm. Bummer! I missed a turn and entered Oklahoma far north of my original plan, but it only added 8 minutes to the trip so I stayed the course.  What I did not realize was that my new route was a "scenic route", south through the Blue Ouachita Mountains. Not so scenic when the sky is black and the turns are hairpin. Evidently Oklahoma is not big on guard rails either.

I eventually arrived safe and sound and had a fabulous salad and 3 Heinekens at a local restaurant. The lodge in this state park is not old and grand like Petit Jean's but the room is large and all I wanted was to fall into bed. When I woke this morning I saw a beautiful lake out my balcony (!) with the sun rising behind the distant hills. Today is another good day to paint!!


  1. Love the new title. Is the "final fifty" going to be one painting with all the states in it or 50 paintings one for each state?

    1. There will be 50 paintings, all 24x30, one for each state. BTW, this may take me awhile!