I miss the smell of eucalyptus and the high mountain air. The rolling hills that seem to go on for just about as far as that endless and entertaining African sky above it.
I miss Ethiopia. The bouncy smiling children calling out to say hello. The chiming of cow bells coming up behind us as we painted by the sides of the roads, nearly devoid of vehicles. People and cattle rule these roads — people who had never seen plein air paintings before, and most of whom stopped to learn more. All so lovely.
I miss the views in every direction. Looking out in the distance and seeing the far off hills of Kenya and the Sudan way out there, yet so close.
The rhythm of life that can not by any stretch be glorified, but is — without a doubt — vibrant, colorful, rich in culture and character, and simultaneously harsh and unfair.
I miss the smiling faces of the people and the general sense of aliveness. Death also feels nearby, and perhaps that is part of what is so vividly alive.
Even the bouncing of our truck and the music it rocked to as we traveled the land in search of yet another gorgeous place to paint hold a place of great fondness inside me. That road just held so much visual stimulation and wonder.
Then there was the laughter. The kind of laughter that comes from doing what you truly love. And the laughter that comes from being a stranger in a new land.
Of course, there were low points, I get sick, but not terribly. I woke up with flea bites on my face — just don’t ask. But that’s all harder to remember. We as a group definitely all needed to lean on each other at one time or another, and I miss my group. I miss it all.
I’m finding solace in the art. The series is not done yet — and I will release it all for sale via my email list first — so be sure you’re signed up at www.stephanieschlatterart.com. But here is a sneak peek at some of the paintings that came from this magnificent trip.
Stay tuned …