[SW Colorado | March 2021 | By Mike Simpson]
Artist and cyclist, Lewis Williams. Courtesy photo.
Lewis Williams, fellow artist and friend is going to do something rather spectacular. He’s going to pedal his bike across the USA and paint en plein air along the way. What started as an opportunity to promote plein air painting festivals and competitions across the country has taken a slight detour. Almost all of the festivals were canceled or held virtually in 2020 due to COVID restrictions.
The Plein Air Convention was originally scheduled to be in Denver, and Lewis was going to ride from Montrose to Denver, painting along the way and then make a presentation at the conven-tion to promote his ride. Then the Denver location was scrapped due to COVID restrictions and the convention was moved to Sant Fe, NM. Lewis changed his route to accommodate the change only to be thwarted again when that location was scrapped due to the state of New Mexico shutting down.
Not be be discouraged, Lewis is determined to get on with his ride. On March 1st, he will dip the front tire of his bicycle in the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, California, turn the bike around and head east, ending in Maine, some 5 months later.
He will be supported on the ride by his wife Denita and others who will split the duty of driving his camper van. When asked about the daily grind, he responded that he hoped to do some-where between 20 and 50 miles a day, all depending on how many painting opportunities he comes across along the way. He hopes to attend the Borego Springs Plein Air Festival and Paint Out which is still scheduled as of this writing but could be canceled at any time.
From there he will head toward 29 Palms and Joshua Tree National Park and eventually hook up with the Old Spanish Trail in the desert of Southern California. He’ll continue to follow the Old Spanish Trail to Santa Fe, NM, painting the landmarks and traces of the trail as part of a program with the Bureau of Land Management.