Day 2: My Golden Apple Art Residency (Monday)

Read previous post: Day 1

Last night I slept with the windows open to allow for the cool evening breeze to enter the cabin, but that also meant that I could hear every single sound outside — crickets, water lapping, bird calls, seagulls crying, coyotes howling, and then the sound of boat engines at around 3-4am, as the local fisherman revved up their boats and drove them across the bay on their way to work. Needless to say,  I woke up just about every other hour, and awoke not feeling very well rested.

I went back to the main house for breakfast. Our cabins are a short walk away from the main house, where each of our private studios are situated on the lower level of the main house, with a beautiful patio and view of the water just outside my studio door. Inside the lower level is the “Artists’ Common,” a little hallway that has the restroom, laundry machines, shared printer & mini-fridge, and a little buffet where our hosts place breakfast each morning 8:30-9:30am and lunch each afternoon 12:30-1:30pm. This way, each artist can get these meals at their leisure.  The other three artists arrived at the same time so we ate breakfast together outside on the patio.

After breakfast, I moved around a bunch of the furniture in my studio, trying to make the most efficient use of a small space. In my space are two 4′ foot tables, three easels, an office chair and a dining room style chair. There’s also a rolling light and a desktop light. Designing the layout of my studio space is a little more challenging than some of the other studio spaces because I have to keep clear passage between the exterior door to the patio, the interior door to the Common, and another clear to another artist’s studio, since he can only enter by passing through my studio. At first I was a little frustrated at how I’d have to lose space for the set-up, but after moving furniture around a million ways, I found a layout that worked for me. I put one of the tables right next to the window to use as a desk, which was right next to the slop sink. I placed each of the easels so that each one had its own sort of nook. I put my drying rack for my paintings right in the awkward space behind where the exterior door opened.

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I went to the grocery store a few miles away to get some snacks and other things that I had forgotten I would need — like bug spray. The drive was scenic, and the market had most of the things that I needed, except for a tea kettle. We noticed a Dollar General on our way back to campus, so we stopped and looked for a tea kettle, but they didn’t have a tea kettle either. After we got back, I used the Amazon app on my phone to order a tea kettle and a few art supplies I had missed, hoping that they will arrive in two days via Amazon Prime. Along the drive back from the grocery store, we stopped a few times to take photos along the side of the road of the landscape, including this interesting red-capped hilly field…

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I unpacked all my paints and miscellaneous supplies. Now I need to put hanging wires on all the backs of my paintings. This is something that I had planned to do before travelling to Maine, but between getting ready to pack and preparing for an outdoor art festival, I wasn’t able to get to them. With mundane tasks like afixing hanging wires to canvases, I prefer to do them all in one batch.

I took out my ruler, hanging wire spool, hammer and pliers and went to work. Why a ruler? I like to be as precise as possible when determining where to put the eye-screws into the wood of the canvas (usually 4 or 6 inches), then I img_3054.jpgmeasure to determine a place where the wire will hang the painting 2 inches down from the top of the painting. Because of measuring and getting everything right, I didn’t end up completing all of the canvases, but I got to at least 6 of the 12. I’ll wire up the other ones after I get a few paintings actually started.

This took up most of my afternoon until it was time for dinner, which was lasagna, garlic bread and watermelon mint salad — one of my favorite dinner meals so far! I excused myself early from dinner in order to try to catch the progression of the sunset. I took my Canon Rebel digital SLR camera with me as I hiked down the hill to where the water meets the treeline, where the sun was just a few clicks above the horizon. I snapped photos with my SLR and my smartphone until the sky had turned from a series of pinks and oranges to purples and deep blues, when the sun dropped below the treeline on the far side of the bay.

I returned to the dinner table, where the conversation was lively with stories of international travel experiences and linguistic mishaps. We finished up our conversation with a few rounds of stories of other art residencies, and then returned to our studios for a few more hours of art working. When I went to sep up my canvases on each of the easels, I realized that one of the key components to my Abstracted Rainy Moments process was missing — Jenga blocks! I usually employ Jenga blocks to provide a small elevation of the painting above the “gutter” or trough that I make to catch the dripping stand oil without having the painting sit in its own juices.

Without the jenga blocks, instead I resorted to two experimental ways of elevating the canvases above the easel shelf gutter: 1) I used some thumbtacks that were sticking in the corkboard, by putting three tacks into the bottom of the canvas as legs, and 2) I cleared out two used Keurig cups, took off the top foll piece, and put two of the cups between the canvas and the easel shelf. Once I start in on painting tomorrow, we’ll be able to see just which method works best.

I finished the night by processing some of the photos taken from that night’s earlier sunset, fixing them up in photoshop and then printing a few that I will use as reference photos for my upcoming paintings.