Are we there yet?

“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.

Pedernal, 15 x 22 watercolor, by Lynne Bolwell

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?

Chama Overlook painting in process, 10 x 14 by Lynne Bolwell

“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…