Friday, July 26, 2019

It's the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)

What a difference a few days make... Thanks to everyone who read my studio blog (posted this Monday for last Friday). I really appreciate the comments and private messages - I still owe a couple of you replies. Thank you for reading and for your concern, suggestions, and support. You are beautiful people and artists that give and give and give. I see you.

So... I spent most of the day on Monday writing that blog and I felt much better afterward. Thanks to some of the feedback I received, I was planning to take it easy for a spell and spend some time on the wee beach across from the house after I filmed the Tuesday Studio Video Visit. I was getting ready to head out to my studio at the Drill Hall with every intention of filming from the 25th Anniversary exhibition there, but then something else happened. 

I was invited to pop by a fellow artist's studio and have a wee cuppa and a blether. I thought that sounded grand, so off I went, putting my plans for the day on the back burner. I had just purchased a lovely piece of work by this artist about 2 weeks prior. That is when we met for the first time and I was looking forward to saying hello and getting to know this artist better. As luck would have it, her studio was just down the road - a few minutes walk. I had passed the area many times before without notice due to a large gate, this time I entered through a wee door and into a fabulous old complex of stables built around the 1840s. It was a hot and sunny morning and all the doors were open to allow the old space some sun and air. I met my new friend and her beauty of a dog and was shown around the charming place before we stopped for our coffee chat. I exclaimed as we entered every room -excited and inspired at once. Ferns growing in a pocket of damp, the old cobbled floors, and ivy trailing through the ceiling in parts made the place feel like a country dream. The curved rock wall and solid old beauty just made my heart sing. As I think you know, I love the old crumbling things and have wanted for a long time to stage an exhibition in a space like this. Possibilities were screaming out from every corner with photos to be taken, art to be made, and secrets lost to history to be heard anew. But, I was just there for coffee and was happy that my new friend had such an inspiring place to make her art. 

We chatted in the sun and at some point, she asked if I would like to sketch in the courtyard. Very generous and kind, she had read my last blog. Perhaps a change of scenery would help. I already felt more inspired just by walking through the place. There was one room in particular that jumped out at me, and somehow I asked if I might be able to paint in there sometime. I was thinking for a day or two... she was keen on having me work there for longer than that. In fact, on the spot, she gave me a big broom, dustpan, coveralls, bin bags, and a bucket of soapy water. A plan was hatched! I spent the rest of the day there sweeping until I had blisters on my hands - propelled by her generosity, the wonder of the place, and a head full of possibility. As I was sweeping, I found the word "freedom" on the floor. 

I filmed my Tuesday Studio Video Visit from the space, red-faced and shocked with joy. 

On Wednesday morning, I was given my own key - putting it on my keyring felt important. I am thinking of this opportunity as an artist residency of sorts to help me gain a new perspective and to focus differently on my work. I have wanted to paint larger for quite a while and this space will allow me to explore the possibilities. I went to my studio at the out of the blue and packed up some essentials - paint, charcoal, paper, brushes, canvases, and called a pal to help me transport it. I also ordered a couple of large canvas/twill drop cloths to protect the old floor and a 5x33ft. roll of primed canvas! I spent the rest of Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning sorting things out and by the end of Thursday I had a completed a painting from my new dark series and worked on several small book works. 

Newly completed painting

Today, I worked on another dark series piece. I, of course, love everything about this experience - how it came about, the generosity, vulnerability, and trust involved. I am thankful for this more than you can know and I am excited to see what comes from this time.

In March I wrote these words, "you'll find me standing against the decaying and water-damaged walls of abandoned houses listening." Well, that's where you'll find me...

With gratitude from my heart to yours, keep fighting and keep giving. Beauty is where you find it. Thank you.

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