Painting My Way ’Cross the USA — By Bicycle!
Images courtesy of Lewis Williams

Extreme Plein Air > Meet Lewis Williams, an artist with a big dream to paint his way, via bicycle, from California to Maine.

by Lewis Williams

From where does any new idea arise? Midlife crisis, the passing of your mom, too much tequila, turning 60 and wondering what you’ve done with your life . . . yeah, all these and more.

I am Lewis Williams, a plein air artist with a BIG dream!

Mother’s Day 2019, and a question pops in my head: “You have spent 40 years making art, but are you where you thought you’d be at this point?” It was time to rattle the cage and shake things up.

Plein Air Painting My Way ’Cross the USA — By Bicycle!

Daily painting could push me over the top. So could a big show. Then the idea: to paint my way across the USA, before I get too old. Get sponsorships to support the endeavor, have an adventure with my wife, and support a few good charities. Promote plein air painting all along the route to young and old, connect the route to many plein air events. Get new and professional artists to join me en route for a day or longer . . . maybe even caravan.

Most importantly, get my peeps in Plein Air, from the founder of the magazine to my co-artists, to get involved and push the idea and then find a venue to show a selection of the best, including work from artists who join me, in some big, exciting show. Too large an endeavor?! Who knows?

Plein air bike trip - Lewis Williams -

In a nutshell, my plan is to plein air paint my way across America by bicycle, San Diego, California, to Bar Harbor, Maine. The journey should be somewhat less than 5 months in length, averaging 30 to 35 miles a day from March to August, 2021. Video and written logs will encourage people to come out and learn from the best, following the progress as we travel. I will have vehicle/camper support along most of the journey.

The Plein Air Convention 2020 is in Denver, Colorado, May 2–6, 2020. I plan to do a warm-up trip, calling it “Painting My Ride ’Cross the Great Divide!” I am putting out an “all call” to artists who would be interested in this event, and artists who would like to offer car support. The ride should take six days, and we are in hopes of showing what bicycle artists can do. Lots of planning and work before then!

Contact me through my site at to collaborate on either of these plein air artist projects.

Upcoming travel and art events with Streamline Publishing:

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