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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Day 22 & 23: Heading West, Van Pics, and Albert Bierstadt

Not tons to report on these driving days. Was sad to say bye to Dan...the few days we had together flew by too quickly. I will try not to get too sappy on here but he is an amazing man and I am so lucky I get to spend the rest of my life with him. After leaving West Point I spent a night with my family plus Joanna's roomie Alina on their last day of GOBA (bike tour in Ohio). I ended up shuttling them to the start/finish where their cars were because the rain was relentless! Joanna woke up in a pool of water in the tent. Wind plus cold on top of rain were miserable conditions to ride a bike in. Anyway, I was happy to help and spend time with them. I got some new canvases that my parents lovingly (and flawlessly, seriously better than I assemble them) made for me, and I gave them my finished pieces. Also thank you to family friend Molly for transporting them on a Team Bob (GOBA) truck, with the care and attention of an artist's wife. :)
So after driving from West Point, NY to Ottawa, OH, I was super rejuvenated and ready to take on the wild WEST. Which ended up being Council Bluffs, Iowa. I did some trip planning and have to say after all my mapping and thinking I didn't know where I was going...I ended up where I thought I'd originally go, to Rocky Mountain National Park. I must have some amnesia from when I loosely planned this part of the trip however long ago. But, I did learn a lot more about Albert Bierstadt and his time out west. I am spending a few days where he painted, moving on to Thomas Moran, then coming back to Bierstadt. I don't know a ton about him. I did in depth research papers on Moran and Church in college so I feel much more familiar with them, and I did significant reading this year on Cole. So Bierstadt is the wild card and it kind of snuck up on me that his leg of the trip is now.
He made a few trips out West, and the two I'm looking at now were in 1859 and 1963. The first trip was with Colonel Frederick W. Lander who was hired to make improvements on a route for the Overland Trail. I'm not sure about the second trip, if it was self funded or with an expedition. More on that later. On this first trip west, there were about fifty men and they got their supplies in Saint Joseph, Missouri, where many other gold rushers, miners, etc had also started to settle. I found out that Bierstadt did have a stereo graph - which to the best of my knowledge is a primitive, early camera? I actually used one at the Mountaintop Historical Society in the Catskills. It looks like binoculars, and you put the slide in this little holder and the image is doubled on this card, right next to each other. When you look through the viewfinder, the images combine and have a 3D quality to them. So, Bierstadt had some stereographs to reference in his studio, but most of them were of native peoples.
As I suspected looking at his paintings, there are some errors in his titles. His finished canvases lack topographical and geographical specifics. But, I have been able to figure out the big ones in the Rocky Mountain area, namely Long's Peak. He stayed in the Wind River area for a few weeks, but I decided to only spend a day there in the interest of getting to Yellowstone. He really enjoyed his trip(s), saying "I am delighted with the scenery. The mountains are very fine. They are of granite formation...and their jagged summits, covered with snow and mingling with the clouds, present a scene which every lover of landscape would gaze upon with unqualified delight." Agreed!
Bierstadt's routes west.
Finally, for those curious about how I've been living this summer...camper van pics! (These are for you, Ryan!)
My bed in the back, which I fold in half towards the back during the day. Also note the screens custom made by Donna B so I can sleep with the windows cracked.
Storage bins - clothes in the top two black drawers, books in the bottom. Art supplies and canvases in all the white bins.
Paint Pack gets buckled in before travel. Except when I forget and it falls on my bed.
More storage in the back behind the seat. Extra supplies like paper towels and tissues, cooking supplies and dishes/utensils, and the tent I can hook up to the trunk.
Food bin, wet canvas storage, chairs, trash bag.


1 comment:

  1. And, we thank you for shuttling us. The route on that last day ended up being CLOSED and anyone on it got shuttled to the end by sag vehicles. Besides the rain, wind, and cold, there was flash flooding. The GOBA sags had to keep changing the route about every five miles to route around flooded streets! And, even though it was so miserable, it was GREAT to see you!
    Have you used the drapes yet? Seems you are keeping your tiny home in order! You'll probably used your tent more out west when you camp in one place for more than a few days!
    Keep being safe! And now, watch out for the wild animals!
    Love, mom