I spent part of yesterday looking for a model to pose outside during the Plein Air Painters Chjcago Saturday paint out in Washington Square Park. With the generous help from the folks at the Palette and Chisel Emily will join us and Bill Schneider, a renown portrait artist and plein air painter will provide a demo focusing on how to paint people en plein air. Unfortunately, though this was my idea, and I love painting outside and I am learning to love painting someone inside without the extra challenge of wind and gnats, I wont be there. Though I’m disappointed, I found a nugget in all of this. One of the model’s “out of office” message was “I’m off the grid.”
And she called me anyway.
From the porch of an all you can eat buffet in Oregon, after refueling for another five, ten, twenty miles on the Pacific Northwest Trail today. She started walking in Canada, one foot in front of the other. Sounds easy enough. A friend joined her for a week and left the trail a couple days ago to get back to her life. For me, that might make the one foot in front of the other a bit lonelier. The model doesn’t sound lonely.
She said there is a community of hikers. A lot go at the same pace, alone but together. She sees familiar faces sometimes on the trail, or in restaurants near the trail. She says they are all ages, a lot of retirees, all different body types. Hers is tall, lithe, and muscular. I asked if she posted her travels, she said no. She’s not on social media, a reason I didn’t want to use her name. She told me that she takes a photo of herself nude in the wild every day, to document her body changing, her hair growing, her city look melting into something else. She’s not posting them. She said it would probably be illegal anyway. They’re for now, for herself.
The day before I set out trying to find a model, I talked with a friend about camping and painting, camping and painting all the way to Alaska. I’ve been talking about an RV for awhile. I’ve talked about walking the camino. Instead I hang with my cat and paint around town. I find her adventure an adventure. She courageous and probably doesn’t need PT for a knee that’s been bent in sitting too long.
I can make calls for a model or I can adventure. Hmmm, one foot in front of the other.