On November 10, I ventured out to the eastern part of the US, driving about 2000 miles to my destination to Bucks County, Pennsylvania from ABQ, New Mexico. During this trip, I wanted to paint some scene that defined what each state meant to me on this trip. Now I never painted on location on my travels before like this. I have painted in places like Sedona, Arizona, Juarez, Mexico, and southern California, but on a trip like this one I couldn’t resist the challenge.
So when I’m chugging away in my little Chevy Prizm, admiring the scenery going through each state, I look out my window, hoping that something will move me enough to stop my car and paint on the side of the road or nearby. When you usually stop and paint on location, you have to be smart about it and take certain measures so your life won’t be endangered. It’s not worth getting your life at risk in the name of painting. Here’s what I did in each state:
In New Mexico, I did stop on the side of the highway, but I pulled onto the grassy part as much as possible, so I’m at least 10 feet away from the highway. And I used my car as a shield and painted from the passenger side.
In Texas, I stopped at a local rest stop about a half hour before darkness set in. I wanted a simple scene, and the sunset over the farm was amazing. So I quickly painted it and left the farm and its solitude.
In Oklahoma, I stopped at a farm because the red mud (so common and lovely out here) surrounded the pond. It was about several miles from the highway. Someone did ask me that this was their farm. I was outside the property, and calmly explained that I’m a landscape painter and was just making my way through. She understood and went her way. Sometimes people do get suspicious and are weary towards outsiders, so treat them nice and explain the truth. I also met a nice local old man who I struck up a conversation about art, he enjoyed what I was doing and said if I’m back in the area to give him a call. And to enjoy Oklahoma. That was cool. See, art does bring people together!
In Missouri, I couldn’t believe how many rolling hills and bare trees with crisp brown leaves there were. It was getting dark and I was running out of time to find my next painting. I randomly pulled to the nearest exit and behind a gas station there was a trail. I brought out my easel and painted a sunset going through the trees. Yup, it was the brown trees that left a nice impression.
In Illinois, it was pretty flat, and of course lots of farmland. It makes it challenging and I thought it might be fun to paint one of these barns I saw from my car. I found one and stopped at the edge of the road, like I did in New Mexico. I wanted a solid focal point and the landscape around complemented the barn nicely. I’m starting to get a hang of painting the trees in a unique way.
In Indiana, well it was very similar to Illinois, and I was having a bit trouble finding my next muse. It was getting dark, so I decided to take a random exit and try to get up close and personal of some scene nearby. I went on this trail a few miles from the highway, I looked back and found my scene. It was a cool trail surrounded by trees and brush. I used a different brush and a vertical angle too. Sometimes you have to try different things to get different results.
In Ohio, I stopped at the Goodyear plant in Akron, where I liked the buildings, the industrial landscape that was in front of the natural landscape, like ying and yang I put both in. This was my most challenging and detailed painting yet. I just wanted to get that industrial feel to my work. I felt like Bruce Springsteen doing a painting.
In Pennsylvania, there were loads of mountains and terrain, but I decided to do my last painting at a familiar place in Bucks County called Peace Valley Lake. Now it’s Nov 14 for your information! It was starting to get dark, and I wanted to get the sunset in the lake’s reflection. It was a nice way to end the painting trip before my venture to NYC this weekend for my art show.
And last, don’t forget to look at my Roadtrip paintings on my new gallery page.