North Carolina Art Residency: Day 8 (Mon)

When I looked out of the windows this morning, everything was covered in a thick blanket of fog, giving everything in the surrounding woods a mystical and magical feeling. Later this morning we drove to Forest City where I would pick up a rental car for the next few days. Then I stopped at a market to pick up a few fresh foods and a few things I had forgotten to pack. Then I drove to the studio to touch up my current painting, and possibly start a new one.

By the time I got back to the studio, I realized I wouldn’t have time to start a whole new painting, since we would be gone for the day in Asheville, and I only had about 1.5 hours to work with before I’d meet up with Tammy to head into the city. So I spent that time doing what would be the last touch-ups to the sunset rain painting.

Then I took the big blue mountain rain painting canvases off of their current easel and moved them to a corner of the studio where I had set up an area where they could lean against the wall and dry. I plan to touch up and paint the sides of the canvases that weren’t available to paint when they were on the easel (bottom, top, interior sides of the triptych). I started first turning the canvases upside down so that I could then paint the bottoms of the paintings where all the drip had accumulated, while the paint was still wet.

As I was removing these paintings from their easels, I noticed some really cool patterns and designs formed by the dripping of the paint and stand oil into the makeshift “paint gutter” trough, forming swirls and stripes as though intentional, a cool sort of side effect of this rain painting technique.

By the time I finished those tasks, Tammy was ready to head into the city of Asheville, about 45-60 minutes’ drive from the studio. Since she first had a business meeting, she dropped me off across the street at Trader Joe’s for to hang at with my laptop, since we figured it probably had a cafe of some sort. After

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walking around the store, it appeared that there was no specific place to sit down to get some work done with a cup of coffee, just common people doing their common grocery shopping up and down aisles. After standing awkwardly outside for a few minutes by the shopping cart awning (it was pouring rain), I walked across the street to the Bojangles fast food place. While they weren’t a “coffeeshop,” they still had places to sit, wifi, and snacks. So I ordered a biscuit and sweet tea and took a seat under the greenhouse-type area, with glass ceiling and window walls. The place was pretty empty aside from what seemed like a business meeting of a group on the opposite side of the dining room, and a senior couple getting a late lunch. I looked up a couple of articles that I needed to research on my phone and watching the torrential downpour slide down the windowed ceiling to windows.

After she finished her meeting, Tammy picked me up and we went downtown to the River Arts District, a happening part of town full of galleries, studios, bars and coffeeshops. We first visited Momentum Gallery, a modern space bursting with well-curated contemporary works of wall art, sculpture, artsy furniture, and installation spaces. We met the owners of the gallery and were pleased for them to give us a short tour of the gallery, and sharing more in detail about the art and artists that they represent.

When we finished up the gallery, we walked towards a restaurant that Tammy recommended for tapas. We stopped into a couple boutique shops along the walk. When we arrived at this hole-in-the-wall dining spot, they were closed until the bar opened at 5pm for drinks, and 5:30pm for dinner. Since it was only 4:45pm at the time, they let us inside to wait, and then we ordered at the bar, until they seated us for dinner at the appropriately scheduled time.

We ordered a variety of tapas plates, since each dish literally had enough only for a bite or two each. Rosemary bread and olive oil, avocado pork loin bites, shrimp, veggie tarts, etc. For dessert we ordered a small strawberry biscuit and a flourless chocolate torte. Each was very good, but the chocolate torte took the cake.

After dinner we realized that the other galleries we wanted to visit were closed, so we just headed home. The rain was still going steady, and as we drove, it was right around dusk, but the rain was so hard at times that it was getting hard to see out the windshield. As we were going over a bridge, some water from a deep puddle sprayed the windshield so that nothing was visible and we could feel the truck hydroplane a little. Fortunately, Tammy’s quick reflexes kept us on the road and safe, but it was a little hairy there for a minute.

She dropped me off at the equestrian center where I planned to just spend a quick half-hour touching up the last painting and setting things up to be productive in the studio tomorrow. I touched up the sunset painting just a little, finding that it was beginning to be difficult to move the paint around anymore, signifying that it’s getting more and more dry. I took the sunset painting off the easel and put it on the floor over the dropcloth, propped just an inch at the head, to slow any additional overnight drying. Then I took the “paint gutter” from that easel and noticed the slow drips of the excess paint along with some swirl patterns in the leftover paint.

After taking care of that, I drove my little rental car back to the house, where I settled in for an early evening, writing my daily blog post and hitting the sack, to prepare for tomorrow to be the ultimate productive day by getting an early start.