Using The Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell to Turn an Ordinary Trip into a Journey. Newberry, 2017, pastel on brown paper, 13 x 18″
I had been studying Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey for a few years and when had arranged a show at the White Cloud Gallery in Washington, D.C. instead of flying there from California, I opted to drive; and turn the trip into an American pastel painting journey. The experience exceeded my expectations. Though I program and project the kind of art I want to do, I had never thought of purposefully shaping future events into a life’s journey — I took travels for granted.
There are about 25 pastels from the trip. I would stop wherever the light and view was beautiful. And instead of eating fast food, though I would stop for Mc Donald’s coffee, I used Google maps to find hole-in-the-wall dives to eat at. One was a garden patio where the oil fields started popping up, I ask what they recommended, and she served me ribs wrapped in corn tortillas — fingers don’t get sticky. Another dive was in a Texas town of about 12 people in the middle of nowhere, and the waitress was a beautiful Russian young woman with the grace of a ballerina, serving Tex-Mex; what the hell was she doing there?
I traveled with my dog, Frida, such a good girl; never complained, never bolted. Most nights I would pull into a trucker stop and sleep in my car, they had great private showers. One thing I was surprised by were the reactions of people seeing me, Frida, and the loaded car — it seems they thought I was homeless. That still amuses me.
Now, instead of just pushing towards a destination, I plan to make the process an adventure.
Michael Newberry, Idyllwild, 9/24/2020