North Carolina Art Residency: Days 9-10 (Tue-Wed)

Tuesday, Day 9

There’s not much to share about Day 9, because I wasn’t feeling well all day, so I didn’t make it to the studio. While this felt like a setback, because I couldn’t start a new painting today, I chose think of it as my “reset day,” because I really needed to rest and drink fluids to hopefully feel better by the next day, as we draw nearer to the end of my residency here. I napped on and off throughout the day, worked on my websites a bit when I was feeling better so that at least part of this day was productive. At some point I was well enough to put together some semblance of a lunch. There was an amazing sunset that I saw through the windows that evening, so I took a photo from the porch. I went to sleep early so that I could wake up early and try to make up for missed time in the studio from not feeling well.


Wednesday, Day 10

I awoke relatively and was at the studio by around 8:30am. I immediately went to town on a new third painting, which is inspired by one of the photos I’ve taken at the property where I’ve been staying, and added in the idea of blue mountains behind the distant trees over the pond. In this painting, I really wanted to capture the diversity of some of the first spring greens on trees, grass, and evergreens. Before I started in on the painting, I first had to scrape off some of the extra paint to transfer it from my last palette setup to a fresh palette, with much more room now to mix these new greens. My first step was to tone the painting with green and blue, since those are the main bodies of color that will be on relatively each half of the painting. After that I used a bristle brush to stumble in the main lines and colors of the initial composition. Then I mixed a series of greens to fill in the different green areas.


I took a brief break to go and watch some of the horse events and competitions. I find the jumps to be the most fascinating, that horses can jump so high and so far with so much power, and so gracefully. Only once did I see a horse stop and refuse to complete a jump, probably lowering their rider’s score in the process. After each of the events, there’s a Zamboni system for the fields just like there is for a hockey rink. First two or three water trucks will come out in sync and water down the fields of sand so that they’re not too dusty, to keep the powder down. Then, 2-3 tractors pulling rake extensions will swirl around the field, following one another and criss-crossing one another. It’s pretty cool to watch. It seemed like they do this to the fields right outside my studio about 4-6 times a day.

I returned to my studio and continued work on this painting, added now more and more dots and daubs of colors that filled in the colors of the composition, being sure to include both lights and darks, and some secondary colors to compliment them.


Once I had enough paint on the canvas to take a break, since I needed to let one section of the painting settle before I started on the next phase. So I took my little rental car and drove to the Walmart in Forest City, about a 20 minute drive away. I needed to pick up a few items that I had forgotten to pack, and needed a few of them for the next few phases of painting on my art residency. As I was pulling into the parking lot, I noticed that there was a full carriage/buggy hitched up to two big brown horses that were tied to the light poll. The whole horse-and-buggy setup took up about 3 parking spots parking crosswise. After I got all my personal and art items, I went to the register to cash out and pay for my purchases. Ahead of me in line were a woman wearing a long blue dress and bonnet, and a bearded man with a broad-rimmed straw hat and plain clothes. While I wasn’t surprised to see Amish or Mennonite folks after living in western NY state/PA region, I was surprised to see them here, since I didn’t know that there was an Amish population in North Carolina. The man paid in all cash and then they went about their business, loading their buggy as I passed them on my way out of the parking lot.


Since I hadn’t yet had lunch, I went to try Zaxby’s which I’ve heard is a chicken fast food place that’s only a southern chain. Upon walking in, I noticed a bunch of antiques and regional memorabilia all along the wall, like Cracker Barrel or TGIFriday’s. I got in line at the fast food counter and ordered a basic grilled chicken sandwich and cheddar bites. The staff was quite pleasant and the food was good. Altogether Zaxby’s reminded me of if Chick Fil A and TGIFriday’s decided to franchise fast casual business together.


After this excursion I returned to the studio to paint more, as today I was trying to make up for the sick day yesterday that caused me to miss a productive day in the studio. Even though this canvas was large, but not quite as large as the first triptych painting I first created, it was still taking me a long time to get all the initial detailed dots of paint onto the canvas.


I took a dinner break to go to the nearby Roger’s Diner to eat on their outdoor patio. Since they claim to have “breakfast all day” I decided it was a good time to test that adage by ordering their French toast, which ended up being really delicious, with a slight hint of caramelization.


I returned to the studio where I finally finished putting all the planned dots on the canvas, and then I started the process of making this painting “rain.” The colors started dripping together nicely and blending a little to start. Before I knew it, it was already 11:30pm. Before leaving for the night to head back to the house to sleep, I decided it would be cool to record a time lapse video overnight with my tablet, to record the motion of the drips. So I set up my tablet to record, and then a pop-up window claimed that the device didn’t have enough storage space to store the data for the video. So I had to take another half hour to manage my tablet’s storage, deleting unused apps and redundant photos.


I finally got it setup and working to record a timelapse photo of the painting, so I headed home. I washed some laundry and then went to sleep around 2am. At least it had been a really productive day!