Husband and I do a fair amount of traveling. And one thing we see wherever we go are those shops selling souvenirs to tourists. Especially in this country, the items vying for tourist dollars may not even be made in that region. China is a more likely country of origin. We do not buy this stuff. Our souvenirs have tended to be the photos we take. In the days before digital cameras and smart phones, husband amassed boxes of slides and I have numerous envelopes of photos. These are our memories of places we’ve been and significant times with family and friends.
I have some photos from when a was a young child because my mother put them in an album. I did the same for my children and they have enjoyed looking at them. I also put photos of some of our earlier trips in a photo album. But now people are increasingly storing their photos on their smart phones or computers. On Facebook I recently saw a photo posted by a relative who is taking her young son on his first trip to Paris. But what will become of that photo? When he wants to tell his children about that memorable trip, where will that photo be?
I am glad that I have some souvenirs that are likely to be a little more long lasting. They are the paintinsg depicting various places I have been. Some have been done from photos. Others, like the one above, were painted on site. I was visiting a relative in Colorado recently. Fortunately, our trip lasted a week and was not overly crowded with planned activities. I drove to a nearby park with a beautiful view of the front range of the Rockies. Even though there was no shade, I painted on two mornings and then finished up inside on a third. It was a great experience sitting there and really looking at the mountains and how the color changed as time passed and the sun was at a different angle. The park is used a lot in the mornings. People exercise by walking, jogging, biking or just walking their dogs. Some commented or took a brief look at what I as doing, but fortunately they were really focused on their exercise so it wasn’t a distraction. How a particular scene looks at a specific time and how the artist views it are really the purposes of plein air painting. And that makes a very special souvenir.