By CB Bryan
September 18, 2015
I felt tears in my eyes upon arrival back to Albuquerque from our first trip -- so much newness and suddenly a return to the daily grind and the place where I know the most and perhaps the least. It became a week of hussle and bussle, lots of artist talks and conversations surrounding art and the impending climate change, trips to Lowe’s and late night visits with old friends and new. I waited until the last minute to pack my bags and felt totally unprepared on our launching date as we set off to Bill Gilbert’s cabin on El Vado Lake.
The lake is at the fullest that anyone who has experienced its muddy shores has seen in years. We settled into the new atmosphere with lingering Albuquerque stresses but relaxed as were greeted with a wrap-around cabin porch -- a perfect sunset viewing stage.
I came here with the intention to paint, but I also think I came here with the intention to be by myself and have an excuse to get away from the magnetic center that is base camp. So involved! Collaborative and sarcastic and socially vibrant. Snacks and no productivity. I could spend the whole day shootin’ the shit -- which makes for a fun afternoon but also, occasionally makes me miserable.
I talked to Jenn and Kathleen Jesse, Beau Carey and my dad (JB) and I built this thing that all four have used and come to understand. This “wengerian easel.” All four of these mentors are part of a long tradition involving taped coroplast and plywood which allows for a small outside painting studio.
I strapped this large hulking rectangle to my back with the help of an old external frame backpack circa REI, 1980s (a small tribute to my time as an outdoor clothing specialist.) The backpack easel is much more bulky than any french easel and it makes walking under trees a brand new experience.