To be fair, in my eagerness to take classes from WBL I had missed the line in the website description of the workshop, “He has devoted much of his life to his passion for art. His style has certainly changed throughout the years, but his desire to create has not.” His style had dramatically changed. It was like going to study classical piano only to find out the teacher had switched to jazz. I thought his work was great in an abstract, opaque sort of way. It was just not what I had come to learn. I did the assignment using clouds as a nonrepresentational subject. Mr. WBL’s critique was that I let the paper show through. “Little flecks of dandruff” he called them. He challenged me to try painting a subject from an unusual angle. I decided to paint a picture of the old church in Bannak (see Side Trips part two below) in a dark way. I used big paper, big brushes, and some paints I didn’t mind sacrificing to the abstract gods.
I was amazed at how a painting of a little brown church could express such ire and frustration! Of course I was criticized for letting white paper show through, and he said I needed to lay down thicker paint. Back at the motel I couldn’t get my magnetic door key to work. It was raining by then so I got soaked walking to the office. Got a new key. Didn’t work either. “Would you like me to go with you to see what the problem is?,” the clerk asked, looking at me like I was some hayseed from Idaho. Duh. Another walk in the rain. She could not get the key to work either. Fine! I told her I would go get something to eat and give her time to get the problem fixed. Without any effort at all I found a monster mall with exact duplicates of every store in every mall I have ever visited. At least I could walk off my exasperation in a dry place. I even went to a movie. Back at the motel the clerk said the lock to my door was worn out and broken beyond repair. She gave me a master key and told me I had to move my things to another room. I was being “upgraded” to a place with two queen beds. It took three trips in the rain to haul everything upstairs to the room with a little window facing the parking lot. What would I do with two queen beds? I slept in one of them.