The Idaho painting will certainly be one of my favorites. Everything fell into place. I realize that where I stay has a lot to do with the success of a painting. It's all about comfort. Montana was beautiful and the home I stayed in was nice but the town was rugged, to say the least. I was woken up at least twice Saturday night by loud after-bar arguments. ("I've got a five gallon tank of gas in my truck and I'm gonna burn your ass.") I'm pretty sure gun shots followed this declaration. When I don't get good sleep, I don't paint as well.
In contrast, the Idaho Sportsman Lodge in Stites (population 226) is clean, simple and safe. The "neighborhood" is one street with modest houses backing up into a giant hill. I was eternally grateful to find they have air conditioning. By the time I arrived, the temperature had rocketed to 99 degrees.
On my painting day, I made strong coffee and left by 7:20 to beat the heat. I headed to the Selway River because it looked wild and remote on the map. The 45 minute drive there confirmed this. Soon, a campground in the Nez Perce National Forest appeared and I pulled into a shaded spot on the river. Wow!
I set up quickly. My heart raced with the fear of changing light and the inevitable onset of the day's blinding heat. A professional mushroom hunter came down the path and assembled an inflatable kayak with which to cross the river. He has found over 700 pounds of morels this year alone!
I began to draw on the canvas. The pungent pines twanged my nose and the shade remained consistent. The gurgle of the water's song was invigorating. Charlie settled in as I mixed colors. This was a glorious day to paint!
I stayed all morning and packed up as the heat soaked through the trees. What an amazing experience! Idaho has been exceptional. Next stop - Washington.