Monday, July 22, 2013


Much of my energies over the past few weeks have gone into the practicalities of preparing for the residency at the Centre d'Art i Natura this fall. Just the logistics of getting myself and my materials to a tiny town high in the Pyrenees has required a certain amount of thought and research. I have finally determined that I can get there fairly easily by an early train from Bilbao, where Jerome and I will end our vacation, to Lleida, and then by bus the same day to Farrera.

Then there have been the hours in the studio working with acrylics, watercolors, pastels, and ink on a variety of supports, first to determine what materials most adequately produce the effects I want, and then to practice enough to feel comfortable with them. The last little project was to figure out how to transport those materials from home to the Centre safely and without too many separate pieces of luggage. The suitcase shown at left is inexpensive but well suited to carrying all my tools, paints, and supports together in a manner that I hope will fairly sail through customs. Then I can just leave it closed until I get to my temporary studio.

I want to spend more time in my studio here working with the materials, but I am less concerned about them than before, and will be ready to place an order for the supplies I will need in the next couple of weeks, giving them plenty of time to arrive before our departure on September 11th. This coming week I hope to clear my mind of this clutter of practicalities and shift my focus to the creative aspects of my time at the Centre. I have read a bit about artist residencies, how to organize them, and what to expect, and I am delighted to find that the common wisdom is, one, to stay loose and not attempt too well-defined a project, and, two, to focus on the broader opportunities that a residency can afford: solitude and distance from the routines of home, interaction with other artists from other backgrounds with other perspectives and goals, and time to explore, day after day, one's own artistic calling and the new directions in which it might develop. Other than the general adventure of just going on the residency, this is what really pulls me to the Centre: being able to live and breathe those things that matter to me (not only painting but writing, meditation, and perhaps some dance movement), over a fairly long period of time (three weeks), with no interruptions and distractions other than those I create myself. I'm glad to have the practicalities nailed down enough now to concentrate on these other things.

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