I'm preparing for my next trip to paint on location out West. I'll be joining other members of the High Desert Painters for an 11 day painting trip to Ghost Ranch, NM and then Taos, NM. This will be my fifth October in a row at Ghost Ranch, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have found and experienced this place. Staying there is a painting retreat but it's even more a spiritual retreat. Something about the place feeds my soul. No tv, no cell phone service, no shopping, modest housing, simple meals at the cafeteria, a variety of skies and weather, the company of like-minded individuals, a chance to focus on a passion, getting out of your routine and comfort zone both physically and mentally - all these things combine to make it an amazing experience. And I can see the horizon all the time! Living in North Carolina with the dense forest all around me makes me feel claustrophobic at times. We have green trees everywhere. I used to love the privacy that the woods gave us but now I'm longing for open land and big skies.
Now that airlines are charging more for extra luggage and are checking the weight limit of bags carefully, I've begun travelling even lighter when I travel to paint. I've cut back on my painting gear and supplies and I've also cut back on the clothes I pack. In my next post I'll talk more about that. I'm also researching painting locations so that will be a good topic to share as well.