Friday, May 10, 2013

Easel on Past the Piano - Roadtripping at Home

Sometime in March I planned on traveling this week and picking up 3 more states. I had five days in a row off from work - just enough to paint in Ohio, Pennsylvania and possibly New York. I would fit in an evening near Pittsburg with one of my best buds from college, who put out the offer as soon as she saw my intent. (Thank you, Jules!)  I would hit the road and get back in time to do a pastel demo-fundraiser in Dowagiac on Saturday.

Sometime between then and now I realized I'm tired. I remembered how comfortable it is to paint in my large, airy studio. I saw the leaves twist their way out of hibernation and thought of all the gorgeous landscapes that are local that I haven't been able to paint since last fall. My decision was easy: stay home.

16x20 oil on canvas, from the Dunes State Park
My biggest challenge in this stationary travel plan was to apply the same rules to myself at home that I do on the road. Just paint and write. First, I kept all phone calls, meetings and miscellaneous errands to a minimum. (Impossible to eradicate completely.) I painted every day, both out in the dunes and here in the calm of my studio. I worked on local landscapes in person, from pastels and from photos. I painted some wonderful pieces and some awkward ones, but no matter what, I was productive.

What I did not do was go out and have dinner alone, thereby interacting with strangers. (Not that many strangers exist in a town this size!) Instead, I had dinner out with different friends every night, including another painter (great conversation), the mom of my daughter's dear friend (super to catch up), my divorced girlfriend pals (always things to talk about) and - definitely the most fun - my boyfriend. (We took his motorcycle cruising on the way to dinner; the clouds were stupendous, boasting their very best, teasing me to paint them.)

In the end I think my stay-at-home travels went well. I have an extensive trip planned for the fall but now that it is almost summer in Michigan, I may not wander too far. I learned that I can be just as focused and serious in my own town as I am when exploring the states and painting that journey.

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