Friday, April 24, 2015

Kansas - Easel on Through

Some states are just not as glamorous as others. True beauty lies within, says mom. Good enough. I don't doubt that Kansas has lots of inner strength and grit. It sure is flat. It sure is wide. As Colorado stretched into this state, I drove through field after field, no trees, hardly a structure, the road turning blue where it met the sky. Sadly, at least 8 out of 10 farmers' fields were brown; they have had to choose which to irrigate because of the drought. Heartbreaking.

The towns were small and far apart. I slept in Garden City, about 2 hours in. The bleach-clean sheets and towels were comforting. I like the anonymity of a hotel. Without a plan of where to paint or stay the following day, I fussed around on my laptop, looking for something close. The next morning I drove one hour north to Scott Lake State Park. I could not imagine that the landscape would change in that short distance but as soon as I turned left on Western Vistas Historic Byway, trees followed a small river and gentle hills rose around it. The woman at the welcome center was full of interesting local lore. I took the 5 mile loop around the lake slowly and found a lovely, secluded spot. I did not take advantage of the ruins of an old settler's home or the remains of a Native American site, but I did find a beautiful old tree angling into the water.

It was a lovely, sunny day and I thoroughly enjoyed the calmness of being alone. The wind was my only nemesis. It swirled in and out and then remained, steadily tugging on my canvas. I hung onto it with my left hand and looked over my shoulder. After painting long enough to grasp the regional color, I put my supplies away and laid on my stomach on the grass, searching the map for a place to stay that night.

I know I did not give Kansas my full attention. The truth is, the closer I get to home, the less I am able to plant my feet in the place where I stand.  I did enjoy my afternoon of plein air, and I believe I will like the painting too, once it is finished. 

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