Thursday, April 16, 2015

We made it!

It's hard to blog on a camping trip! Even though we brought our own portable wifi with us, it doesn't always work as well as advertised and the circumstances of traveling and painting make opportunities for blogging very difficult to find.
I'm happy to report that we've driven without incident (except for that one day when I bent the trailer jack driving into a dip in the pavement. Sorry, Joanna!) over 3,000 miles from Jacksonville to the coast of California. It's been fun and exhilarating and exhausting and educational. Joanna and I haven't yet come to blows or even irritated each other. We are extremely compatible.
We crossed the lower states and painted in LA, TX, NM and AZ before we arrived in the Promised Land and the Plein Air Convention in Monterey. Here we are enjoying the most astounding landscapes - the beauty of this state is almost intimidating. How can we paint well enough to do it justice? But we keep trying!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Travel Advice from Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia O'Keeffe

One of the most significant artists of the 20th century, Georgia O’Keeffe,the  "Mother of American Modernism"(1887-1986) was devoted to creating imagery that expressed what she called “the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it.” 

O'Keeffe lived and painted in her own way and on her own terms. She did every single thing she wanted to do, yet admits, not just to being afraid, but absolutely terrified every moment of her life, and she lived to be 99 years old!

I appreciate that she shared her feeling of terror with us. This is strangely comforting, since although I can't seem to be content without adventure, fear seems to be inherent in every new adventure.

But...I have learned something in my life, just as Georgia O'Keeffe did:

Anything worth doing is bound to create a little fear.

Joanne and I have carefully planned each mile of our cross-country trek, we researched every campground between Jacksonville and California. We've made long packing lists of every item essential to our happiness and comfort. We've discussed the difficulties we might run into and how we will handle them.

Though we've planned so carefully, we aren't without anxiety. Let's not kid ourselves - it's a loooong way to California from Jacksonville, Florida and we'll be far from home for over a month. Despite the most careful planning, we're bound to encounter some surprises and misadventures.

Everything I've done that I consider to be a worthy endeavor was scary as hell at some point. Have you found this to be true too?

So we decided to re-label our feelings of fear and anxiety; we decided to call what we are feeling excitement and anticipation. 

One of our stops will be O'Keefe's studio and home in Obiquiui, New Mexico as well as the only museum dedicated to a woman artist, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe. We hope that she would have been proud of us.

We'll keep you posted on our adventures and misadventures. Let us hear about some of your anxiety-producing adventures.

 We leave in two weeks and we are so...EXCITED!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Getting Ready for Adventure

Jaime Howard and Joanne Middlebrooks, feeling adventurous
Once upon a time, two painters decided to have a big adventure in a small trailer.
 Monterey, California and  the Plein Air Convention, "the Woodstock of plein air painting." We're off to join the largest collection of plein air painters on the planet for a week of classes, demos and on-site painting with world class artists along the rocky coast of California.

This is a road trip of epic proportions - almost 6,000 miles round trip from Jacksonville, Florida. It will take a lot of planning and about five weeks to complete the trip.
 The goal is to paint our way across the USA, at every location and in every state from here to Monterey and back. We represent our local group of artists, the First Coast Plein Air Painters, and everyone who hankers after an adventure of their own making.
Bubba Jane
Bubba Jane, the 14 foot long 1965 Zipper vintage camper, will be our home away from home, so our first task is to make her as comfy as we can.

With an end of March departure date coming up, we'll be taking a short shakedown cruise to make sure we both fit in this little tin can comfortably and happily. We'll be posting our preparations and adjustments as we go - and we'll try to answer some of your burning questions:
  • What will they take with them in the way of art supplies? Food? Camping equipment?
  • Where will they be camping and will they end up spending the night in any WalMart parking lots
  • How many paintings will actually be painted on this trip? 
  • How will these friends get along sharing this tiny space for over a month?
  • Does anyone snore?
  • Will they still be friends when they get home?
We'll try to answer all these questions and more, so stay tuned to this channel and please feel free to share with your friends who are interested in adventure, camping, painting or venturing into the unknown toward an uncertain but exciting outcome.