Welcome, my friends, to July’s journey of Plein Air 365™ 2014!
Wow, I can’t believe that it’s July of 2014! That means My Plein Air 365™ journey has been going on now for 5 years, 7 months, and 11 days – or 2,014 days in a row – of daily alla prima Plein Air painting. It also means that my journey has now come to an end…
What an amazing 5+ years of painting outside I have experienced. I wish I could tell you of all the wonderful things that this journey has shown me. Even though I have shared all of my daily paintings with you, it never truly told everything that went into each painting. I was asked many times, “Do you know where you are going each day?” and each time, the answer was the same. Nope! I have no idea where I’m going. I just get in the rolling studio, head out the driveway, and see were nature and the road will take me. Even though it was stressful at times, I truly feel blessed to have been able to do this journey. Because of that, I would like to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to the love of my life, Lori! If not for your endless support, I could not have been able to do this journey. I can never thank you enough.
In June, I had the chance to celebrate my 2,000th day in a row by painting a Colorado classic – Coors Brewery! It was nice to celebrate with a painting and a fresh, ice-cold Coors beer!
For July, and for my last paintings of this journey, I chose places that I have always wanted to paint what I thought represented the Colorado scenes I love! I first went to a place that I hold dear to me, the Gore Mountain Range. This is where I took my first five-day plein air class! I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember that after the first day, I swore that I would never do this plein air thing again! I was so frustrated with the whole thing. Even though I was an accomplished studio painter, I just couldn’t grasp plein air. I said to Lori that I was ready to go home that night. My lovely wife told me to go back the next day and try it again. So, with a little hesitation, I went back the next day, slowed down, listened closer to my teacher, and then began to have some fun. Once again thank you, Lori!
Now, to another place dear to me (and one that I have been going to for over 30 years), Red Rocks! I have more great memories there than I can tell you about!
Then, off to paint my hairy friends, the white buffalos. There is a small herd of buffalo near my home that I go visit when I want to just paint in peace. Not many people stop by, because there is just a small barbed wire fence between them and us, and I guess it makes most people nervous. Me, no. I just stand there, paint, talk to them, and feel how small I am. I love when they are only a few feet away, and it feels like soft thunder rolling overhead when a group of them are breathing in unison. Just amazing!
Next, I went up to Central City to paint Colorado’s largest firework display. All I can say is that it is outstanding! What a way to end the last few days of my journey!
Then, it was up to Eldorado Canyon. This is a place that I have been wanting to go to for years, let alone get the chance to paint. I wanted to try and find the view that is on the world famous Eldorado bottled water label. The paint gods must have been with me that day. Instead of going the way the park ranger suggested, I chose to park in a different spot. When I got out and walked down to the river, I looked up through the brush, and there it was! THE view! I set up on a large boulder and had a fantastic day of painting!
The next best was a Sunday sunrise. For years, I have been going to a 7 a.m. martial arts class. It was on these days that I usually would paint a sunrise before class. Although this one was a bit bland, it was still a joy to be able to watch and paint the start of a new day!
It was then down to Denver to paint Coors Field! This is another place dear to me – not only for the many wonderful memories that I have of watching games here with my charming in-laws, Jim and Helen Oxley, but also for getting to watch both of my children sing the national anthem on the field! I just had to paint Coors Field!
The next stop was the famous Stanley Hotel! I have driven past this Colorado icon many times, but I never took the time to stop, until now. I knew this was one place that I had to paint. What a long day of painting this turned out to be. Normally, most of my large paintings don’t take much more than a few hours to paint, but this one took six hours to paint! It was definitely worth it!
Then I was off and painting to the old saying, “Pikes Peak Or Bust.” I found this nice view of Pikes Peak from the Garden Of The Gods, just off of a trail called Giant Foot Print. When I noticed the giant footprint, I knew I had found my view!
The next stop was the Royal Gorge! I hadn’t been there for years, and it was just as breathtaking as ever! The only thing was, that after a day spent traveling and staying overnight in Canyon City, my wife and I came to find out that the bridge was closed! Just my luck. Drive all this way only to find out that the bridge was closed during the weekdays, due to construction. So, not taking “closed” for answer, we found a little side dirt road that provided an incredible view!
That brings us to my last painting. I chose Union Station as the last location to paint for a few reasons. The first reason being, I have never painted it and have always wanted to. The other reason was because I thought it was symbolic of the end of this journey and time to move on to a new adventure. That’s why I called this painting “This Journey’s End…”
You may be asking, “What are you going to do with 2,014+ paintings?!” Well, get ready… We are going to have a show with all of the paintings (this November 6-December 31, 2014 with an Opening Reception Nov. 15th) in the Aspen Grove shopping center (next to Pier One Imports)! I truly hope to see you at the show. It will be open seven days a week for the month November and December, and it’s just in time for getting that special gift for that special someone for the holidays!
In conclusion, I would like to say thank you so very much for allowing me into your lives and allowing me to share my journey with you! I truly feel blessed!!!
There is so much more that I would love to tell you about each painting, but that, I’ll save for the book!
Until we meet again, one last time, remember… May love fill your heart and art fill your world.