Virginia is the "other" God's country (Colorado shares the title). A land filled with mountains, clean air, picturesque landscape and quaint towns that whisper the history of our American roots. I have been in Virginia this past week to paint with my friend, Nedra, who took the courage to email me 3-1/2 years ago asking if I would come and teach her to paint. Nedra and her husband, Hugh, live a few miles from Washington, VA where George Washington imitated his career as a surveyor. Their stone house built in 1747 overlooks rolling hills, groomed fields of luscious green, flowered-filled pastures and thick forests where farming use to be the way of life during the Civil War. As the wind swirls, I swear I can hear history's ramblings all around me from the battles of the American Revolution and Civil War.
How Nedra and I met is a story in itself. If I had not taken a risk of responding to a lady in Virginia via email or Nedra had not taken the courage to write me, I would have missed out on a lovely friendship that has provided us both encouragement in our art and new surroundings that push my painting skills beyond my comfort zone. Living in dry Colorado where the light is stark (due to lack of moisture) and heading to lush countryside where moisture lurks in every nook and cranny is always a challenge for me. But the thrill of painting plein air and being in a different setting energizes my painting juices. 12 painting later I am ready to head back to Colorado.
I ended up with some successful paintings, but more importantly, I loved the process of painting them. After a few days of decompressing from deadlines and frustration in my studio scraping lots of paintings, painting in plein air reminds me of how much I love painting. It reminds me that sometimes I do not need to focus on the results but just enjoy the ride. So get out there an paint! Paint what you see and enjoy the process!