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Artists in the Back Country - Sequoia Parks Foundation Trip

Sequoia & Rock 6"x8" oil/p
Christin and I have recently returned from our summer vacation.  We took Artie (our RV) on a road trip for ten days.  First to Tuolumne Meadows for 4 days of painting and hiking.  We drove next to Sequoia National Park where we were part of an invited group called "Artist's in the Back Country" that was assembled by the Sequoia Parks Foundation for the purpose of gathering painters, poets, photographers, scientists and other creative people to produce images, poems and prose about the place and the experience.

Tuolumene Meadows is one of my favorite spots on earth.  It has high mountain air, clear nights, a beautiful river, extraordinary hiking trails, privacy and spectacular mountain scenery.  What more could a painter ask for.  Each day we did a morning painting, came back to Artie for lunch and rest, then out to the river or meadow to paint the late day until sundown.  

We left Yosemite's high country and drove to Sequoia National Park.  We congregated at a Boy Scouts of America Camp with 3 other painters Paul Kratter, Bill Cone and Jeff Horn - a poet... Bill Keener, a writer/photographer... David Robertson, a photographer... Bob Watters, the former Chief Park Ranger at Sequoia... Bill Tweed, our organizer, former park ranger, photographer and development head of UC Merced... Armando Quintero, three chefs... Anna Lisa, Tya and Sally... our camp host... Margie and various other guests dropping in for a visit during the trip.  This was the 4th year of the ABC trip.  It's purpose is to gather distinguished creative people together for a future promotional project that was yet to be determined.  The idea came from the old days of pioneering the area where photographers, painters, preservationists and like minded people documented the Sierras and petitioned congressional leaders to establish a National Park system.  We were honored to be part of the group.  Conversations ranged from sensitive artistic discoveries, to political assesments of our government's agenda to simple humor.  What a wonderful bunch of people.  We ate and drank like royalty.  I know we have made new friends that surely will pop up in our lives from time to time.
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Travels with "ARTIE"

For the past few years, it was my dream to be able to travel further on painting trips and see more of our beautiful state and country. It seemed as though retirement was the logical time to consider adventuring out like this... but then one day I thought "why not now"?  

Suddenly this simple thought set into motion a series of events.  I started looking seriously on Craigslist in the RV section.  For more than a year became familiar with the types of vehicles and the prices by scouting on a regular basis.  Since my price range was in the lower echelon, we looked at some real clunkers until one day January of 2009 we came across a vehicle that was made in 1989 but only had 13,000 miles.  That day we set up a meeting and by nightfall it was ours. I guess it's true that having a goal can help one focus on achieving success.  

We named him ARTIE because he was our artmobile.  He needed the roof sealed, new tires, a new stereo (of course), but basically he only needed a cleaning. 

We planned our first trip in late January and headed to the Mendocino, Ft.Bragg area.  It was a beautiful week and we painted some real winners.  Artie performed admirably.  After a couple of weeks at home, we headed out again for a longer trip to Southern California to see the William Wendt show at the Laguna Beach Museum of Art and then due east to Arizona. It was a magical two week trip and we have thousands of photos and some paintings too.  We even connected with the Windrush Gallery in Sedona, AZ that now represents both of our work.

We now have a new dimension added to our lives... just because of a dream to travel more.


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