My third day here at my Truro art residency was as interesting as the first two. Here’s why.
When I slept last night, I awoke several times in fits and spurts, so I was surprised when I didn’t wake up until 9, missing my clock’s alarm for 7:30am. I put on water for tea, read, stretched then got ready to greet the day.
The biggest pressing art thing I had was to smear yesterday’s canvas of the marsh. After I took care of that, I could just move onto starting the next painting while monitoring the second. Yet, I kept procrastinating in doing this. I dawdled with organizing a few more hours of computer files, retouched the first painting, etc.
Then the power went out. I should mention that my section of the studio doesn’t have any windows, as our sections are divided by tall wall. So once the lights went out, I couldn’t really see too well, as most of my side of the studio depends on natural lighting. So I moved that easel to the section of my side of the studio that can sneak a little bit of natural light from Kara’s half. Then I went and made it “rain” on the marsh. I followed up every few hours with touching it up. Here’s the progression.
At this point, the power had now been off for a couple hours. Yesterday when it went off, it was only for 5-10 minutes (or less) at a time. When I went to make lunch, we couldn’t use anything in the fridge, in order to keep the cold from getting out. So I went to heat up a can of soup of the stove, since I noticed that the burners appeared to be gas. However, when I went to ignite the burner nothing happened. I tried it another time, but, not wanting to have the kitchen fill with gas, I gave up my attempt to cook chicken soup. I slinked back up to my studio and settled for a granola bar instead.
Later in the afternoon, my studio sharer, Kara, said she was going into town to get something for food that didn’t require being cooked or refrigerated, so I joined her and the third artist here, Nan. As we drove out of town, we passed a sign that said “Box Lunch” with a red, white and blue OPEN flag out front. Box Lunch seemed like the perfect name for a place to stop for lunch. A real lunch.
When we walked into the shop, all the lights were out, but there were a few people inside. The staff told us that we could only order cold sandwiches, nothing from the grill, along with some chili or chowder. They also couldn’t take credit cards, so it was good the one time I happened to have cash on me. We took our lunch to go, and returned to the Edgewood Farm campus. We visited Nan in her studio down the hill, where the print shopis located. That space has a wood burning stove, so we welcomed the warmth and the lovely smell of burning wood. We chatted over lunch, then shared a little of our work. After I spotted a piano in the corner, and attempted to conjure up the piano-playing talent of my high school years, but failed miserably. So instead, I played “Heart and Soul” and Kara watched. I taught Kara how to to play the basic part, and she was overjoyed to learn something musical. We had a bit of fun with it. After we each returned to go work in our studios, we took an art residency selfie, to document the moment.
Upon returning to the studio, it was still without power and starting to get a little chilly. I continued work on the previous two paintings, and began laying out the pigments on a new palette for a third painting. Emma-Kate, our residency site manager, had brought me a third easel for which I was eager to start.
Then the power came on! Yay!
I was excited to have the lights back on, and finally began that third painting, inspired by the hills of snowy evergreen trees behind the farmhouse. This is what I started, and I will resume working on it in the morning. While working on the painting, I had a small itch just below my eye, on my nose, and usually, when my hands are all dirty from paint, I will instead scratch an itch like that with the pointy end of my paintbrush. When I went to do this, I realize that my paintbrush was already inverted, so instead of scratching with the end, I ended up applying paint to my face. I laughed at myself, then went to clean it off. At this point, I thought I need to just walk away from the painting, because I was getting tired, careless and stupid.
Finally at a stopping point, I went downstairs to do some laundry, and ended up joining Kara and Nan for a late night of talking about our art experiences, residencies, museums, jobs, favorite artists, places to visit and more over wine and snacks. It was great for me to allow myself to finally just relax and be, as I had been so concerned with being productive, efficient and prolifically painting during my time here. Part of the whole residency experience is to also connect and learn from the other artists. We’re only on day 3, we still have the rest of the two weeks to learn much from one another.
Stay tuned to for Day 4.