Driving the Oregon Coast was a great experience and there were many photo and sketching opportunities. Heceta Head Light House is a favorite of mine and unfortunately was being given a full restoration when I arrived. Thus the light was draped in protective tarps. The restoration work was painstakingly detailed and involved in replacing and repointing brickwork, making replacement
metal parts cleaning the huge Fresnel lens, painting , rewiring, and weather proofing. If you get a chance to see this working light house, do it. However the entire area is beautiful and I was able to create a series of sketches and supporting photos.
By this time I was winding down. I made into Washington and made the decision the next morning to head on home to Whidbey Island.
My Goals and Expectations:
My goal was to see some of the country that I have driven through in the past but never took the time to stop and actually see it. My expectation was that doing this would provide me with a number of ideas for paintings and also jack up my energy levels for this winter’s work in the studio. I also expected to create numerous pencil and color sketches along with a series of small paintings to use as references for this work.
I accomplished my goal: I did “see” the country as I moved through it. I want to go back to certain locations to see it again and let it soak into my experience. My expectations were met with the exception of the small paintings. I created some 50 pencil sketches and water color sketches and have many useful ideas. These along with the photos I shot will keep me busy for some time. However I only did one painting. I am not sure why this was so, maybe the setting up and cleanup necessary, subconsciously dissuaded me or maybe I was just plain lazy but I only did one of the expected 30-40 8 x10 inch paintings I thought I would produce.
What I learned:
To make art one has to go make art. You can’t talk it into existence, you can’t look at it and make it your own: You have to sit down (or stand) in front of a blank surface and start making marks. I knew this before but I learned what it really means on this trip.
I also learned that making art isn’t all that easy. Blank surfaces on which your are expected to place enough marks to call it art can sometime be very intimidating.
I learned that I am easily intimidated by blank surfaces and that I have to stay aware of this and forge ahead anyway. I also learned that, although I don’t believe I am an outgoing person, I do get lonely and miss having people around me.
Being on the road and living out of my truck is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I will be better equipped, next time.
Lastly, I learned that there will be definitely a “Next Time.”
What I will do differently next time:
I will use more comfortable camping equipment. Doing this requires, at least for me, a camper or small travel trailer or motor-home. The camper shell on my pickup truck felt spacious and comfortable during
the first week or so but soon after became cramped and inconvenient: Especially in less than perfect weather.
Next time I will take someone along. Maybe one of my dogs who are great companions and would love the trip but better yet, a friend and a dog.
Next time I will plan on staying in fewer locations but staying in each longer so that I can really get to know the area. I mentioned earlier in this blog that I felt that I needed a month on Tioga Pass to get by the overwhelming grandeur of the country so I could actually paint its essential character. Not all locations need this much time but a stay of a week at each would have worked better. A week makes setting up a comfortable campsite more likely and also gives one time to explore the area without
worrying where you will park that night.
Thanks go to my wife, who encouraged me to take this trip and to take on the chores I normally do at home and thanks to all the friendly and helpful people that I met along the way: You really did make it a pleasant journey. And thanks to America for being a place where such a trip was possible.
Leaving Whidbey Island
Ranch along California Highway 1
El Capitan in Yosemite Valley, CA
Along the Oregon Coast
Historic Ranch “F” at Pt Reyes National Seashore, CA
Heceta Head Light, Oregon – In its bee-keeper’s costume.