“I’ve arrived”, I say it aloud. There’s the Ghost Ranch right ahead on this dusty, dirt road. This was the enduring fascination, inspiration and home of my idol, Georgia O’Keeffe. I can see her now, roaming this desert, these hills, selecting which visual treasures to memorialize in paint. Okay, do I paint the ranch, the mountains or the Pedernal in the distance?
I pull the rental car off road, set up the easel and start painting the Cerro Pedernal in the distant skyline. Hours pass and I could use a break … for coffee, for food and a bathroom. But I can’t break camp, not quite yet. I’m just laying in the foothills in the foreground. I start daydreaming of the vehicle that I could duck into and take care of all this.
Next day is a fine one, a bluebird day. But it’s April in Abiquiu, New Mexico, still winter. I had been painting all morning on a bluff overlooking the Chama River. A few hours in and I’m muttering, “… a break from the wind would be nice … it’s cold … wish my nose would stop running…”. A fantasy forms … what if I could park sideways on the bluff, study today’s muse through a nice big window, with a really hot cup of coffee in hand?
“If I only had a truck camper…”, I’m pleading the case to Paul during the evening check-in call. “Think about it. I could paint all day, even sleep onsite and pick up first thing in the morning. No more hotels, no more check-ins and check-outs, all my supplies with me…” On and on I go, trying to paint this picture of the ultimate freedom, the plein air artist’s dream.
Well, “I’ve arrived,” again…