This was THE BEST SESSION! I usually had theses workshops at Frijole, but we decided to mix it up and have the last couple at McKittrick. I rolled up around 8:00 AM and the place was already SWARMING with kids. A group of churches from El Paso got together to bring some young boys camping, so they were all having breakfast right where I was planning to paint. It didn't take much for me to reel them in. There were about 17 younger boys and their chaperones waiting for the 17 older boys to get back from the backcountry (AKA if they didn't paint they would just be sitting around.. but still). After giving them a brief shpeel about what I do as an eco artist I handed out old 2014 maps, made up some palates, and the boys went for it. I was so impressed with the colors and textures they were able to come up with. Some of the younger boys mentioned how they did not have art class in their schools so it just made my heart swell to know they were getting a chance to make art here! This morning might have been one of the highlights of the year for me.
We started the day by painting on old maps but the boys were so eager to continue I grabbed some of the cans and bottles and let them paint on those too. *ON HIS OWN* one boy even used an old paint palate AS A CANVAS to paint on!! I was blown away.
To make this day even better Ranger Destiny was stationed down at McKittrick too! So we got to hang and paint together. She took an old hat that had been in the lost and found for years and started to paint this beautiful night sky and lagoon on top of it ALL FROM MEMORY! I always need some sort of reference when I'm painting so it amazes me when people can just go for it!
Around noon half of the boys decided to head back to El Paso and the other half would wait for the older boys. They were all the way up at McKittrick Ridge campsite, which is a WAYS AWAY. The chaperones were getting nervous because they older boys said they would be back in the morning. But Ranger Destiny expected them to get back around 2PM because it is close to a 6 hour hike back.
As 2:00 rolled around the chaperones were starting to get seriously antsy. We suggested that maybe they take the littler ones to the Visitors Center so they could do the nature walk and explore the museum inside. In typical fashion, just as they packed up and headed over to their cars, Destiny and I spotted the lead boy running towards us! THEY HAD MADE IT. But apparently run out of water. YIKES! ONE GALLON PER PERSON PER DAY!!! Whew! About 45 minutes later all of the boys and their chaperones had made it back and refueled on water.
Crazy beautiful day!