Wednesday, April 7, 2021

New Places = New Inspiration. Oh, and traveling with kids...

Last week our family of four took a 2400-mile round trip spring break vacay to San Diego! This was our first big trip since Everett was a baby, and we had some idea of how it might go but knew that it would be a gamble. How does one survive those long hours in the car with a 2 1/2 year old? (Aside from figuring out how to purchase six different Disney movies on Amazon Prime, our 6-year-old, by the way, was an angel!) We packed ALL the snacks, ALL the puzzles, ALL the activities, and of course, the iPads loaded with ALL the ABC's and Sesame Street games I could find. In spite of a couple incidents of Everett getting sick in the car (both times it was in Utah on those curvy mountain roads), Cecelia asking to ride every roller coaster we passed by, a few bouts of toddler tantrums, and Steve and I both starting to feel our age with sore backs from all the driving... the trip went surprisingly well.  

I love to travel. I love seeing new places, experiencing new things, trying new foods, and of course, painting whenever I get the chance. On this trip I had to manage my expectations and simply take note of many of the beautiful places I went. They are places I'd like to revisit, probably either alone on a painting trip, or when my kids are older. Traveling with kids is the opposite of relaxing. And, as my husband and I pointed out to our daughter all the wonderful things to see and observe along the way, we realized that she was quite unimpressed. "It's not that beautiful," she would say. She was way more impressed with the games on her iPad (damn this digital world we have become slaves to!). Her apathy made me sad, but also made me determined that she just needs more experiences like this. I want to inundate her with the wonders of nature, sunshine, wildlife, mountains, the ocean, and the national parks. Seriously, if there is anything our government has gotten right, it's the National Park system. We were able to see four out of Utah's five national parks on our way to and from California. It was phenomenal! 

I managed to sneak in a few very quick plein air sketches on this trip. It was just enough to fill my oxygen tank and keep me in my happy place in spite of the challenges of dealing with kids the whole time. I could happily hose off the sand covering every inch of Everett's body, or give the kids their second (or third) snack before lunch time, or deal with the absolute chaos of bedtime and nap strikes. It was all good.

Here are a few pictures and highlights from the trip. I took over a thousand photos and came back with lots of great reference images, so I'm excited for the inspiration and the resulting studio works you'll see soon. 

We stayed in Moab on the first night and visited Arches National Park. I HAVE to come back and paint this place!

The kids handled the long hours in the car pretty well. I'd give them a B+.

So happy to play on the beach! We rented a perfect Airbnb right on the boardwalk at Mission Beach.

It's a good thing we drove. Cecelia's souvenir of choice would not have fit on a plane!

Traveling is exhausting...

Bryce Canyon National Park (above) and Capital Reef National Park (below). The kids had no clue how special these places are but don't worry... we'll be back again. :-)

Below are some shots of me getting in some painting. My 2 1/2 year old "posed" on the beach for me long enough to do a 20-minute color study.

I also managed to get a quick painting of the sunset one evening.

And some people on the beach...

Hanging out with our friend Ricardo. Funny story about Ricardo... he was my husband's college roommate, and one of the groomsmen at our wedding. Life got busy and we fell out of touch for a while. A year ago, when Steve and I took a weekend trip to San Diego for his job, I was driving along Highway 1 looking for a good painting spot, when I saw Ricardo jogging along the highway. He was wearing a hat, shades, and had grown a beard but I could have sworn it was him. I texted my husband to say I thought I had just seen his old college roommate, so he texted Ricardo and sure enough... it was him! Ha! I had painted his portrait from life many years ago, so I guess once I paint someone I really know their face. We've kept in better touch since then...

And on our drive back we stayed in Virgin, UT, just outside of Zion National Park. Before we made the last leg home, I got an early morning 4x8" painting in (about 30 minutes) of the views above the Virgin River.

 I'm so grateful to have gotten away for a time. Views like this are always good for the soul. :-)


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