Then, OMG, I headed out across Wyoming, where I was pounded by 60 mile-per-hour cold crosswind! When I stopped at Rawlins, they informed me that this time of year they normally have six feet of snow. The surreal conditions of the oil and gas fields there and the unfortunate souls who work on the rigs completely scraped me raw.
When I checked into my hotel, the room’s entrance was exposed to the outside and there was a man in the room already. I returned to the desk chilled and chilly to inform her if they were selling the rooms with men in them we needed to adjust the rate. I got resettled into another room only to have my fitful sleep broken at 2 a.m. by a different man entering the room and the front desk frantic on the phone asking me to tell him to return to the lobby (as if I needed prompting).
Daylight could not come too soon, as I caterwauled down off the 7,000-foot-high desert into Fort Collins. There, I collapsed into the good graces of my friend Charlie Bogusz, head of sales for Fine Art Connoisseur. She ogled over the works on board, we haggled over prices as best two girls having lattes could do, and I headed to Nebraska.
The wind kept subsiding and by the time I reached Rose Frantzen and Chuck’s place at Maquoketa, Iowa, it was down to 20 knots. It was too windy to load paintings, but not so bad on my forearms. I was beginning to think I was going to look like Popeye by the trip’s end.
Rose’s parents run the gallery while Rose and her husband, Chuck, travel and paint. Rose was on location at a vegetable shed painting away in the late autumn Iowa sunshine. Chuck has this very cool book in process. Rose, of course, has the honor of having the largest one person show at the Smithsonian “The Faces of Maquoketa” which captured the essence of her home town’s inhabitants.
Since it was too windy to load art, I spent the night at the local bed and breakfast. The next day, I headed to Chicago to see my daughter, Rosie, pick up Clayton Beck’s work for the November M gallery show, and visit the Ravenswood Atelier.
Clayton is on the board at the Palette and Chisel and continues the legacy of teaching there through his workshops. He is one of my favorite people and favorite painters. I hold the pieces I own of his dear to my heart and cannot wait to see these new works up on our show walls.