The Vagabond Artist Returns!

This will be a quick update in my role as The Vagabond Artist. I’m on the road with very spotty internet in Sedona. We’ll see if I can make this work.

Keeping Up While on the Road

This trip was originally planned to be the last leg of a two-month vacation in the Pacific Northwest. We had to cancel the majority of the trip when my husband fell and broke two vertebrae in his neck! After many tests found no cause for the falls, we ended up in California and now Sedona, Arizona. I packed a French easel, oil paints, pencils, and charcoal to use for keeping up with the scheduled lessons in the Milan Institute of Art Mastery Program.

Cambria, California

Our first stop was on the central California coast, in the wonderfully uncrowded coastal town of Cambria. The area is largely untouched due to the donation of thousands of acres to the state by the Hearst Foundation.

We scheduled two back-to-back tours of Hearst Castle, the Julia Morgan tour and the Designing the Dream tour. Doing two tours in one day was a bit much. The view is shown below.

I didn’t get a chance to work on any art, but I saw all the art Hearst collected. The majority was relogios and that seemed odd given the dalliances by the various celebrities who were guests of Randolph Hearst.

Sedona, Arizona

Radiant Landscape

We are scheduled to be in Sedona for a full week, allowing me to set up my easel and try to catch up on the Mastery Program lessons. I was able to set up my easel in a corner of the dining area. On the easel is the underpainting for a Radiant Landscape.

I worked a few days on adding the opaque layer tothe landscape. Some of what I painted I liked, a lot don’t. I need to leave it alone so it can dry enough for the drive home.

Graphite Drawing

The reference photo I used for the lesson on shading with graphite showed three pairs on a shiny table. It took a lot of smudging to get the values even close to the photograph. The pears are okay, but I couldn’t get the cast shadow accurate.

Charcoal Still Life

The next lesson involved creating a still life using boxes. The point was to be able to depict the various planes of the surfaces. I didn’t have a lot of options, but used a cardboard box, a breakfast bar box, a jewelry box, and a shoe. This was a difficult lesson and I need more practice. At least I think the items are recognizable.


Creating art on the road presents challenges. The Mastery Program requires hours of dedicated practice and also frustration. I have struggled with the concepts, but do also recognize I’m learning. It’s like drinking from a firehose!

Thank you for following my efforts. I hope you find some inspiration here.

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