In just about a month, my little family of four (sorry Moses) are gonna push our luck and jump on an overnight flight to Paris. When an invite to stay with artist friends in the French countryside presents itself, it’s opportunity you don’t turn down. I’ve been on a handful of international flights and have always been lucky to not be the one seated next to an angry toddler or motion sick baby. Let’s plan on that not being me this time as well.
An American painter spending five weeks painting the French countryside sounds like something straight out of the 1880’s. Yep, kinda like the impressionist Theodore Robinson. And funny enough, I’ll be doing pretty much the exact same thing Theo was doing back then: standing somewhere, brushes in hand, looking at something and putting a mild reference of it on canvas.
So mundane, just the way I like it.
I’ve never been to France, nor anywhere else in Europe, so I’m keeping my expectations low. I fully expect to wake up every morning in the little countryside village we will be staying in, ripping the curtains back to a beautiful field of freshly bloomed poppies, a strong cup of French pressed joe (naturally), and a day spent with Monet capturing the landscape. Byrd and Lewin will gleefully pose for me will playing tea in the backyard, and, of course, I’ll paint Teysha bathing in the sun dappled stream.
But before all that, we still have a few more weeks of normal ole Dolly life (our little RV) here in the states.
From the pictures I’ve seen, the landscape in France is a bit different from where we are right now in the Chihuahuan desert. Probably a few less yuccas and not as many dry river beds.
But don’t get me wrong, the desert could hold my attention for what seems like a lifetime, or at least the length of winter.
We found an absolutely perfect campsite just a few miles north of the Texas/Mexico border, complete with a concrete slab and metal roof.
In the ten months we’ve been on the road, we’ve only found a few sites that fit us so perfectly. The perfect site only needs to meet two prerequisites: 1. Ample painting opportunities within walking distance 2. Comfortable for the family to stay at all day. And if I may sneak in a third, no nightly camping fee. If a location meets these three requests, we are sure to stick around for a while.
I knocked out 13 paintings in our first week at this site, not bad by my standards.
There’s something magical about the rugged, dry desert, especially this time of year. The yuccas and cacti are blooming and the purple and yellow flowers scatter the desert floor. Yes, I’ve been poked and stabbed unwillingly many times by the various pointed plants, but I guess that comes with the territory.
Give me a blank canvas and a dry river bed with a few yuccas, and bobby boy’s your uncle.
I’ve thrown the 13 recent desert paintings along with my snowy paintings from Colorado and a few others into an online sale (incredibly affordable prices). The sale of these pieces will ensure that we eat more than fresh baguettes and butter while in France and also keep me from running out of French Ultramarine Blue while there, that would certainly be embarrassing. I hope you’ll take a look at the sale and grab a piece for you home, or your mom’s home, or you’re daughters, or anyone else for that matter! Click HERE to check out the sale. It will keep us chasing the dream.
In 2010 I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Art. In 2011 my wife, Teysha, started graduate school at Boise State University while I undertook a two year oil painting apprenticeship. In May of 2018, we sold everything, quit our jobs, and hit the road! We currently live in a rusty 1986 Toyota Dolphin named Dolly.