I can still remember it like it was yesterday… ripping up tiny pieces of a 3×5 card and shoving them into the pages of a book that I had just bought called “America’s Most Beautiful Road Trips”. I was in college, and my best friend Danny and I had decided that we were going to spend the summer of our freshman year of college sleeping in hostels and finding beautiful places to get lost.
He bought a new truck. I wrote the list of what to bring. We had a great plan.
With almost 2 months before we needed to hit the road, I picked up additional shifts at my waitressing job…stashing away the loose change and singles that I used to count on the living room floor of my parents house after I got off of work, making their house smell like one big pepperoni pizza.
The countdown had begun. The plans had been finalized. The cigarette-lighter-operated-cooler had been purchased.
Then, the most totally unexpected thing happened. It was catastrophic, and sudden. There was no way to get out of it. It was a sign of adulthood. It was a real dream crusher.
Danny had JURY DUTY.
….seriously?! Are you kidding me?
He had jury duty.
I couldn’t laugh about it then but, as an adult, it makes me giggle now. What terrible timing for something that probably everyone in the world dreads- well, maybe not EVERYONE, but probably not the kind of people I would be planning a cross-country road trip with.
When I was in my 20s I travelled as much as I could afford. Well, that is, after going to as many concerts as I could afford first. I never did get around to doing that cross country trip, but I did get around to painting it.
For over five months I day-dreamed about where I would go if I could finally make that journey as I painted 50 states. I flipped thru the pages of that same “best road trips” book and made another, updated, list of mental notes.
Last month, my husband and I were driving across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on our way home from Annapolis. It occurred to me that nearly every 3rd car on the road had a Maryland crab sticker plastered on the back. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Maryland- and, I love eating some blue crabs but, I just don’t want a crab on my car. I decided then and there that I would somehow figure out how to make decals out of my watercolor state paintings.
I started with Maryland (only natural), and then moved onto the others- releasing about 10 new states every 2 weeks:
About a month ago, I was nearing the end of formatting them all and I had a thought: “what if there are people living in places all over this beautiful country that would like to participate in my “virtual” adventure?” By going to places in their local states and taking pics of one of my decals, I could live vicariously thru their travels and, shoot, maybe they’d even have a really fun time exploring, too.
Last week I received the first pic- taken on a coastline in Maine by Ranissa Finch of A&H Photography:
Next, I received a pic from Melissa, a customer who was traveling thru the mountains of North Carolina:
Finally, I was tagged in a post over on instagram (@rachealvarezart) with this awesome pic taken by Libby Hackett Photography in Wooster, Ohio:
To date, I have shipped decals to 10 states but I am planning on doing all 50. It will be so fun to see how each local wants to celebrate their home state for this project.
Wanna get in on the fun? Follow me over on IG, and send me a PM here. We c an talk about where YOU live and where you wanna go on your adventure.
You could say that painting has become a fun way for me to explore- even if that only happens from my studio desk, painting during my kid’s nap-times.
I’ll take it.