Truro Art Residency 2019: Day 7 (Sun)

I awoke early at 5am this morning, woken up by the need to use the restroom. Since I had gone to sleep much later than I wanted last night (because as I went to take my before-bedtime shower, I noticed some black stuff coming up through the shower drain, and then had to deal with that whole situation, throwing off my anticipated bedtime), so I went back to sleep until 9:30am. Then I sprung up realizing that I had to get ready and also touch up last night’s new painting before Martha and I headed off to Easter Sunday Brunch at 10:30. I knew I wouldn’t have time to start a whole new painting, but I did touch up my existing painting, after examining how the drips turned out from moving overnight. I was overall pleased with the outcome.

Martha and I met up and drove to PTown to have Easter brunch at Fanizzi’s Ristorante, an Italian place right on the water that apparently had a broad Sunday brunch every Sunday, but an especially extended gamut for the Easter holiday. When we arrived around 10:45 the hostess asked if we had a reservation (which we didn’t), and she said that all the tables were booked up, with no open reservations until 1:00pm. She said she could let us know if someone didn’t show up for their reservation or if we wanted to put our name down for the 1pm slot. We were disappointed, because we had both skipped a normal breakfast and coffee/tea to be able to save our appetite for brunch at this place. We conferred and said to hold our 1pm reservation here because we were both really looking forward to it. But since we were both still so hungry, we got in the car and decided to go to the Purple Feather (which would be my 3rd time this week) to see what they had for a light breakfast while we dallied our time before our 1pm reservation.

There was zero wait for a table at Purple Feather, since I guess everyone else in town was already in line at Fanizzi’s. We got a table right away, as we were only the second party to arrive in the whole place. We ordered coffee and tea and agreed on trying the pancakes, with Martha getting the blueberry and me getting the chocolate chip pancakes. I ordered a mimosa just for our trouble. The service was prompt, and the fare was delicious. The Purple Feather pancakes pass my quality standards of approval as far as pancakes go. While we were ordering our breakfast, I got a call from Fanizzi’s saying someone dropped their reservation and if we would like to take it, say around 11:30am. By then we had already ordered our coffee and were in process of ordering the pancakes, so we declined the sooner reservation and instead opted to keep the original 1pm later reservation.

We still had about an hour or two left after finishing first brunch (as we referred to it), so we went to the Artist Loft art supplies store in town, and I bought some 18×24 canvases, and Martha got some paint. I also was distracted by a couple of extra large bristle brushes, which would be perfect to upgrade the size brushes that I currently use on my rain painting smear technique. Then we walked around town a bit, stopping into a boho-chic shop, a souvenir shop, a jewelry shop.

To fill in the time, we also stopped over at the little jetty by the has-been Provincetown Inn, noticing that at this time the water was at high tide, and the marshes looked a bit different with water filling in the estuaries, rather than the mud and muck of low tide. We snapped photos of the marsh and water, and took a rainy selfie together, as it had just started to rain lightly.

By then it was around 12:45pm, so we started making our way towards Fanizzi’s to arrive in time not to lose our reservation. We parked and walked and made it in the doors right at 12:59. We could barely walk in the door and narrow waiting room hallway because there were so many people lined up, waiting for their turn at Easter brunch. The hostess asked if we wanted an immediate open table or to wait for a table for two by the window: by this point we had been waiting so long and were still digesting a bit from our first brunch that waiting wasn’t much of an issue this time around. We waited maybe an extra 20 minutes and then the hostess brought us to a quaint little table, right next to the window, which was literally overlooking the water! We both ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the incredible view, snapping photos and taking it all in. Our waitress came and gave us the low-down on the brunch buffet options.

We went up to the brunch buffet –which is up stairs, down a long corridor, and through another wing– and surveyed our options. They really make you work for your brunch! We each made our decisions to go with more egg-based protein options over the french toast and pancakes (although I took one triangle of french toast just to sample how it was). The selection was broad and it could be easy to be paralyzed by so many options. We each chose a few and brought our plates back to the table to eat. We conversed and laughed and observed the sea birds and ducks directly outside of our window’s view. Our waitress came over to ask if we wanted anything to drink, so we picked a pretty pink goblet looking drink that we saw people having a few tables down. As it turns out, the cocktail is simply sparkling prosecco and crushed strawberries. We gave a light toast to our first- and second-brunching experience. Side note: I tried eating Eggs Benedict for the first time ever — they were pretty good! What have I been missing out on? We each ended up going up after a little bit for half of a second plate that we ended up using take-out boxes to take home.

Before heading directly back to campus we stopped at Angel Foods Market, a small boutique market and bodega with organic and locally sourced speciality foods, along with a coffee bar and deli counter. We got what we needed and then was tempted by the amazing aroma of freshly ground coffee, so we each got a coffee to go. I almost forgot to mention that we also stopped into a couple of galleries that we open on this quiet Sunday morning, checking out some interesting contemporary artists’ work. We returned to the car and drove back to the residency campus, coffee and new art supplies in hand. I returned to my studio, where my studio mate still had not yet returned from visiting friends or family for the Easter holiday, so I blasted my own music to be played around the studio without the need for wired earphones or bluetooth earbuds. I looked around at the blank and in-progress canvases and got to work art-ing.

It was around 3:30/4pm by around the time we returned to the studio, so when I was tempted to start in on a large (30×40) canvas, my logic returned to remind me that starting and raining an 18×24 canvas this evening/night was much more practical and achievable. I wired up a canvas of that smaller size and placed it on the new H-frame easels that the program director had brought up to my studio the day before, adjusting the easel to make sure the canvas shelf was level and even, etc. I decided that I needed a brief break from working in neutral browns and umbers to take a color burst departure into blues and greens. I set up my computer on a stool so that I could view my reference image, inspired from a photo taken from the dock by where we had brunch this afternoon. I placed a clear vinyl tablecloth over the stool with my computer, so as to protect it from paint splatters as I began work on the painting. I also decided that it would be nifty if I could record a time-lapse photo of this painting process from beginning underpainting to the raining technique applied. I took my guerrilla tripod, a flexible three-prong cell phone tripod and affixed it to the top mast of a yet-unused easel and adjusted it to an angle so that the paint application, canvas, and artist could all easily be filmed from the jerry-rigged apparatus.

I first covered the canvas all over in green-blue tone before I applied the first paint strokes of a roughly smooth horizon line, much like how an open ocean horizon would look from shore or from a boat at the opening of the bay out onto the Atlantic Ocean. Then I mixed up a whole bunch of blues and greens and blue-greens to apply as thick paint daubs to the canvas, working vigorously over the next several hours to get all these variations of ocean colors and sky colors applied. Then in one fall swoop I started applying the “rain method” to m painting, drizzling it in stand oil followed by pressured vertical strokes from top to bottom of the painting, mixing the dragging the oil paint colors behind it on the canvas. Once I applied this rain method I used a big brush to help smooth out the initial drips so that they get a solid start before they drip all over the canvas. You can see the time-lapse video here (below):


View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Rachel Brask Artworks (@rbartworks) on

 

After applying this first phase of starting drips, I took some time to clean out some of the oil paint bristle and synthetic brushes that I’ve used over the last couple weeks, to ensure that the last week of my art residency would be accomplished using clean brushes without weeks’ worth of paint gunk still on them. After I washed my brushes I walked down to the print shop where artists Martha and Sarah were sharing studio space. We had agreed to gather to share chocolate and bread and wine to unwind from a long day, despite it being a holiday. We had a fun time just laughing and talking and exchanging stories of our adventures around Provincetown and Truro, including talking about baby squirrel rescues, coyote-wolf sightings, turkey troubles, and more. We sat and chatted and laughed for maybe an hour or two, then I returned to my studio to give this blue-green ocean-sky painting one last once-over feathering and blending of drips before heading to sleep. My goal tomorrow is to start a large (30×40) painting in the morning so that I’ll have all morning and afternoon to apply the meticulous paint daubs and dots, and then have the evening and night to apply the rain effect, so that I can hopefully get to bed before midnight (that’s my new goal).

Truro Art Residency 2019: Day 6 (Sat)

I can’t believe that it’s already Saturday! By my calculation I have just 6.5 days left here! This is right around my halfway point — this residency is already flying by!

This morning I woke up at 6am because I had to use the restroom, but that felt too early to officially get up, so I set my alarm for another 2 hours and got up to shower and start my day around 9am. I wasn’t sure what direction I was going to pursue today. I went to the studio to brush up the first two paintings and to wire up a third. Around 11am I decided I would go to PTown to get a few things at the hardware store. As I was working up in my studio everything felt really humid and clammy. When I walked outside it was breezy and cool, so I needed to pick up a studio fan just to keep air moving, along with a few supplies needed. Before I left I took a brief walk around some of the fields of the property, visiting in with the other studio in the print shop on campus.

I parked on Commercial Street and went first to The Purple Feather since it was a nice day and I had already had lunch at the farm, but I hadn’t yet tried the gelato that I saw that they had the other day. I ordered the chocolate salted caramel swirl gelato. I went and found a chair on the outside patio to enjoy this treat. Also out on the patio was a couple with a golden retriever and what looked to be a black lab. The goldie was totally calm, very chill as all these people and other dogs walked past. The black lab, not so much. A puppy, it kept wanting to sniff and follow each person and canine that walked past him. The couple kept the dogs close on their leashes, trying to just keep the young one calmed down. We chatted briefly about their dogs and travel. They said they were originally from York, PA. I said that I had just stayed in that town 2 weeks ago on our drive up from North Carolina, what a small world!

I stopped into the TrueValue hardware store just across the street and got a few things that I needed, put them in the car, and then kept walking. I noticed that at TrueValue, there were stuffed chickens sitting on the BBQ grills for sale. Interesting. I continued walking down Commercial Street, noting the quaintness of everything.

I didn’t really have an agenda, it was just a nice Saturday afternoon and it seemed like the village was finally coming alive with crowds and crowds of people. I went to a coffeeshop called The Wired Puppy and ordered an ice blended chai, sitting and doing some people watching while I was there.

I continued my afternoon stroll, ducking into galleries that were finally open, along with shops and stores, seeing what they had and getting a better sense of the retail in the town. At the Four Eleven Gallery, I met and chatted with a Provincetown artist that I had met on a few occasions from visiting residency artists and from my own last residency in Truro. We talked about her artwork and commisserated on the artist’s struggles in life. She was very pleasant and wonderful to talk to. She even offered me a band-aid for a small scrape that I had on my hand. She asked me about my work and checked out my website for a little bit,  giving her impressions of my work. It’s always nice to talk with another artist. She said she’d come to the open studios this coming Thursday afternoon.

I realized that it was getting towards late afternoon and my earlier bowl of cereal just wasn’t cutting it, so I went to Box Lunch and ordered a chicken pesto “rollwich,” their version of a pita wrap. Just as I was sitting by a patio table eating my late lunch, it started sprinkling rain. It had been threatening to rain for most of the day, with gray skies and turbulent seas, but nothing so far. Of course the rain would come just as I sat down outside to eat my wrap.

I returned to the studio, a bit refreshed from my afternoon jaunt. I put on my apron and wired up another canvas. Right around then Kate, the program director, arrived at the studio with two metal H-frame easels, in response to my inquiry if they had them on hand. I already had few other easels, but noticed that their setup left the paintings vulnerable to falling off when I was aggressively applying the dots in a drum-like motion. I set up gutters and hanging wires for a 30×40 blank canvas, and another smaller 16×20 canvas for me to work on tonight.

IMG_9262

I wanted to work on a smaller canvas today because it was a little more achievable in one day, and because the last painting I created had an unexpected result from not raining the painting before going to sleep for the night. I started mixing up variations on browns, umbers and sienas, intending to re-do a variation on last night’s painting composition but with far less upper gray to overpower the canvas upon dripping overnight. I went with a simpler sort of gradient of brown, red and ochre mountains receding into the distance.

I took a brief dinner break to talk to my parents on the phone and check in with their dog. I also looked up and booked up train tickets from Rome to Florence and back for our trip to Italy this summer to attend the 2 person art exhibition that I’m working towards. Once those were all set, I continued applying dots to the canvas. At some point Martha visited my studio and we chatted a bit, realizing that the other two artists had gone to stay with friends or family for the Easter holiday, leaving us as the last two artists on campus, so we made a plan to do Easter Sunday brunch tomorrow late morning.

Eventually I got to a point where I finished applying dots and moved onto dripping stando oil all over the canvas to lube it up for the rain technique, and then I used a broad brush and dipped it in the stand oil and used it to apply pressure from top to bottom of each section of the painting. I left it to drip overnight while I wrote up my day’s blog post, then I checked on the painting one last time before leaving the studio to go to sleep. Tomorrow’s plan included starting a new 30×40 painting in the morning before we head out for brunch.

 

Truro Art Residency 2019: Day 5 (Fri)

This morning I woke up brightly around 7am and worked on finishing the blog posts from the day before, so that I could add photos and proofread and then post before 8:30am. I got most of this accomplished using my tablet from the comfort of my bedroom. I was even texting on and off with an early-rising art friend who recommended that I get to know one of her good friends who is also at this residency for the same period of time. She connected us via text message, so Martha and I put together a game plan to go get lunch and art supplies in Provincetown this afternoon.

IMG_9118

 

After I uploaded images and the final text to my blog post from the wordpress app on my tablet, I decided I would take an alternate approach to reformatting the layout of images in the article via using the program using a web browser on the tablet (as my laptop was still upstairs in the studio, and I was still too comfortable in my bed to go up and get it). But when I logged in to my website using the browser, it appeared that anything that I had written or photos I had uploaded to that blog post had disappeared, been deleted, vanished. I went back to the app, and it appeared the same — everything I had just spent an hour doing was now gone. Frustrated, and also succumbing just to a wave of lethargy, I rolled over in my bed, pulled the covered over me, and went back to sleep until almost 11am.

Eventually my body decided that it had gotten enough of this extra slumber and decided to wake me with the need to use the bathroom. At that point I was up and showered and got ready for the day. I went up to the studio and took a look at my undripped pointlism painting in earth tones from the day before, and used this moment to generously drizzle stand oil over everything, followed by repeatedly dipping my brush in stand oil and dragging it down the canvas, cleaning it, rinse and repeat. It was iffy as to exactly how the drips would result, but I couldn’t stay around for much longer because then I had made a plan to meet Martha, another artist in residence here whom my friend told me to connect with, so that we could go get lunch and art supplies in P-town around 1pm.

 

We met in the parking lot and drove to Provincetown, deciding to do lunch first and art shopping later, since we were both already hungry by then. I took us to The Purple Feather, a favorite spot that I’ve always tried to stop at ever since my husband and I first discovered it on our one-year anniversary trip to Provincetown many years ago. The place was busy, and the cafe smelled like brunch, like waffles or maple syrup or something, so we debated between whether we should choose breakfast or lunch foods, but then the waitress helped us with that decision by letting us know that they were no longer serving breakfast for the day, so we each chose paninis, mine with a side of their amazing famous mac ‘n’ cheese, and Martha’s with a side of New England Clam Chowdah.

While we waited for our meal we got to know a little more about one another’s artwork, family, life, residencies, and more. The food came and it was really delicious. Just as we were about to receive the bill, I reached for my cell phone in my pocket, which has a wallet in the phone case containing credit/debit cards, to pay my part of the bill. Then I realized that my phone wasn’t inside my pocket, so I frantically searched my purse. It wasn’t in there either. Embarrassed and slightly frantic, I thought maybe I accidentally left my phone back at the studio, charging. Martha graciously offered to pay for lunch this round, and I promised I would pay here back once we returned and I had my phone (and cards) in my possession again. I got a to-go box for the remainder of my mac ‘n’ cheese, and we walked back to the car to put the boxed meal in the car while we stroll the “downtown” area of shops, etc. When I opened the front driver’s side door, there was my cell phone, on the floor mat, almost under the seat! What a relief to have my phone and cards back where they belong! Also, now I could pay back Martha for her generosity.

 

We spent the afternoon walking down Commercial Street and back, popping into shops and stores, checking out the little strip of beach behind some of the shops, getting a coffee. We ducked into a Portuguese bakery to get some sweet bread, a popular choice around Easter. When I had driven through last night, everything seemed really quiet, even vacant. Today there were hordes more people out with their dogs, families, significant others. It was April vacation week for local school districts, so there were kids out with their parents and pets. We stopped into a gallery or two to check out what they had on exhibit. The local military surplus store had a surprising variety of just random stuff: camping tools, sweatshirts, old license plates organized by state, seashells, wooden swords (I was really tempted to get one of these).

We stopped at a little coffeeshop and it smelled so good in there. We each got a coffee (mine was cold-brew New Orleans blend, Martha’s was hot pour-over coffee), sat and watched the ocean for a bit talking about life and society. We eventually decided to head back in the direction we came, after coming to the relative end of the boutiquey sections of commercial street before it changed over to residential and seaside resorts. Eventually we made it to the Artist Loft, the only art supply store this side of the Upper Cape, and it’s only open on Fridays through Sundays for April (their winter hours). I got a whole mess of stuff to work with: canvas, tools for encaustic class, more hues of ochre and sienna based oil paints, and some sturdy wide bristle and synthetic brushes I found.

After we got our supplies from the art store, we headed back to the car to return to Edgewood Farm, our residency “home.” We took the long route back, including going to the very far tip of P-town where there’s a jetty you can walk over by the Provincetown Inn, an old conference center and hotel.

We took a couple side roads and scenic routes on our way back, doing what felt like potential off-roading into narrow sand-and-grass roads to find a good vantage point to see the dunes. We passed by quite a few secluded and off-season summer homes, and went down one road that was too narrow with twigs and branches and just a little too sandy to try driving on in the lowest gear possible for my road trip. There was one part of the trail that felt a bit like an enchanted forest, the way the trees formed a tunnel around our car. We did get some good photos though!

While we were driving along these roads, out of the corner of my eye I saw movement that looked like some animal. I stopped the car and we looked a little closer (from the car windows) at what looked like some kind of wolf, coyote or gray fox (is that a thing?) It looked to be about the size of a large dog or slightly bigger, and it observed us very carefully, not approaching just watching, and then it stretched out, curled up to itch its hind quarters, and then snuck off into the nearby woods. Which canine do you think it was? I wish I had my better camera to zoom in a bit to get a better look.

One our way back we passed by Savory & Sweet Escape and Martha had never been in there, so we had to stop to show her what it’s all about. We each got a small baked good that we ate in the car (she a cupcake, me a small canoli), and then headed back towards the farm. We took a brief detour to see what “Pilgrim Point” was all about, reading a couple of the historical interpretive panels, wondering at some of the content. On one part of the panel showed a map that the original Pilgrims allegedly travelled in their first, second, and third trips to and around Provincetown. On a few sections of the map it showed a line that looked like either someone was fighting over the ship’s helm, or someone steering the Mayflower maybe had a bit too much rum at the rudder. I also wondered how could we possibly know the exact zig-zag patterns they took on that trip on those specific patches of sea and harbor?

Eventually we did end up returning to the farm, where we parted ways to each go put our spoils back in our respective rooms and studios. We agreed that we had a great afternoon adventure now and were glad to have made the connection with one another. Now we had to return back to the studio and maybe actually try to get some artwork done. Going on this short adventure thought helped me to return to the studio and get focused on finding out what happened to the second painting that I had just started dripping this morning, to see just how far the drips had gone in the last 3-5 hours unattended.

The drips were a little chunkier than I was happy about, which I had almost forgotten can sometimes happen if I wait until the morning to apply the rain technique because part of the paint dries slightly overnight. So I took my fan brush and worked on fanning out some of the drips and smoothing out others. I was a little overwhelmed with just how far the top gray had covered up some of the copper-sienna colors below, so I tried to unbury some of those colors, along with trying to uncover some of the “river” part that had been obscured by the colors that dripped over it. I also touched up the red painting a bit.

I went downstairs to reheat some dinner and bring it upstairs to work on my computer while eating, but I saw fellow artist and studio mate Patty eating dinner by herself at the dining room table, so I asked her if I could join, and she nodded. I’m so glad that did this instead of me just eating my pizza in front of my computer. She ended up sharing some wine with me and we ended up talking for about the next two hours! We talked everything from art process, to masters degrees pros and cons, career, websites, marketing, other art residencies, caretaking for spouses, art critiques, mentors, funny college stories, and more.

 

It was such a pleasure and soul-filling to sit down and have an authentic conversation over a glass of wine about art and life. It was also really lovely to earlier spend quality one-on-one adventuring time with Martha. I had begun feeling like some component was missing this time from last time I was here in Truro:  authentic conversation and sense of discovery with my fellow artists. I had passed some of the other artists briefly in the kitchen or at a meeting, but we each otherwise were just keeping to ourselves and to our studios, so to share two meals today with two different artists was very gratifying for my artist spirit. I hope that we have more of these throughout the remaining week that I have here.

After dinner with Patty, it was pretty late, but I returned briefly to the paintings on the easels doing one last brief touch-up before wrapping up my studio time for the day, putting covers on my paints and Gamsol containers, and heading to sleep.

 

Truro Art Residency 2019: Day 4 (Thu)

Today I woke up early at 7am and rolled out of bed by 7:30, and was up in the studio by by 8am. I made my tea and some cereal while I touched up yesterday’s blog posts to publish this morning.

I checked in on the painting that I created last night, to see how the drips had fallen. I was relatively pleased to see that the drips had resulted in places on the canvas that relatively worked with my master plan, but there were other places on the canvas that the drips left too much of the background dots exposed. So I picked up my paintbrush and used it to add some more paint to those areas and to smooth out and blend up and down the drips all over the painting.

Then took another blank canvas, so that I can start a new painting. so I worked on affixing hanging wire to the back of the canvas and then I set up a means of hanging them. Then I set up a new triple rain gutter for use under the new second canvas.

I took a lunch break and sat on a bench outside overlooking the woods, taking in the sun and breeze and to get some fresh air outside of the studio. I noticed a little building off in the woods, I’m not sure what it was but it made for a cool photo. Then I went back in to get ready to start putting paint on the new second canvas. For this painting, I chose a color palette that is a bit outside my comfort zone: for most of my rainy paintings I use color to portray the season or landscape chosen for the artwork, but this one started with all grays and browns. As I’m working towards creating several paintings that respond in color or composition to the artwork of Tammy Tappan, who I’ll be co-exhibiting with at a show in Italy in June. Tammy’s general color palette tends to be much more earthy tones of grays and browns and umbers and siennas, with little selective pops of blue or orange here and there. While I am looking at one or two of her works for this painting of mine, I have a feeling that this one is just a warmup to using these tones a bit more in my responsive work to hers.

I mixed up a variety of greys into umbers into browns with more of a copper or reddish undertone to them, to yellow ochre and a muted yellow. As I started putting the earthy toned colors on my canvas, I didn’t really have an idea of what I was going to paint. I rather let my brush roll loosely over the canvas, coming up with some loose mountains feeling, and then as I put more and more colors an daubs on the underpainting, the forms of receding mountains, with the the slightest hint of a blue river running through them, but not as the center all focal point, just running off to the side minding its own business.

I took a dinner break to reheat some pizza from a couple days ago, and continued painting. At some point in painting this composition I was just feeling stuck, with a little mix of cabin fever. So I decided to just take a drive to Provincetown, not really with any agenda, just to get out of the studio, get a change of scenery, fresh air, etc. I drove along Route 6 until there was a turn for Route 6A, which ran more along the coast and some of the beach resorts were along that route. I pulled over at one point where there were a little outcropping that I could get a 360 view of the marsh, so that’s what I did, along with snapping a few photos. Then I got back in the car and drove down along Commercial Street, which was relatively quiet with only a handful of people walking the sidewalks and most of the shops and galleries still closed for the winter season. I continued on to return back to the Edgewood Farm campus. Along the way I stopped at Savory & Sweet Escape, one of few food places nearby that was open. I went in and viewed their extensive pastry case, and decided that the peanut butter mousse pie was calling my name. True to form, the pie was utterly amazing, the perfect light and smooth peanut butter mousse that I had hoped it would be, and it’s a sort of mini-pie, so I can have a little bit of it over the course of a few days instead of one sitting (thought that may have been tempting).

This is the beautiful peanut butter mousse mini pie from Savory and Sweet Escape

Returning back to the studio, I felt refreshed and ready to take on the painting that I had started. Now the flow of painting came back and I was in a groove for a while, getting a lot accomplished. I was just about to the point where I would have started making the painting rain as my last act for the night (it was around 11pm), but my eyes were getting really watery and foggy, making it difficult to keep them over just to finish the pointillism part of the painting. So I thought this was my body telling me that it’s more important that I get to sleep, rather than trying to force the next rain technique phase of the painting. I will instead apply the rain effect to this painting in the morning, as the oil painting should still be wet enough to still glide along the canvas with the stand oil.

I applied one last swift blending all along the first red rainy painting, and then turned in to bed for the night.

Truro Art Residency 2019: Day 2 (Tue)

I got the best night’s sleep in a long time last night. As I awoke, the rising sun flooded my cozy room with morning light through the blinds. If my alarm clock didn’t wake me up, the sunlight would. For the duration of my art residency here in Truro I’ll be staying in the Joyce Johnson Bedroom, I’m guessing is named for a donor or significant person in Edgewood Farm’s development. This room is small but cozy-comfortable. There is a full/queen-size bed, two windows, a wall shelving unit, bureau, two night-tables with lamps, a chair, and a closet. I kind of wish that there was space enough for a small desk & chair, but I’ll use the tables up in my studio for that kind of thing.

After I woke and showered and made my morning tea, we had a 9am meeting in the living room of the barn where I was staying. This meeting was with the two new people who had just arrived the day before (Martha and me), along with Cherie and Kate (Cherie is the executive director of castle hill center for the arts Truro, and Kate is the program director for Edgewood Farm). Over coffee and pastries we talked about the history of the farm and organization, some housekeeping and logistics, and some happenings to know about during our stay here.

After the meeting I needed to run into town to pick up an assorted array of forgotten items that I realized that I needed for my residency, both for just personal living and supplies I needed for my studio practice. While I was out, I planned to stop at a Walmart or Target in Orleans, the next biggest town around here, about a half-hour drive away. While I was around the city, I noticed ahead of me was a rainbow leopard-print mini-bus with the label “The Funk Bus” on it! It was so out of sort with the historic charm of the rest of the village. What my Google Maps plotted was not a Walmart but a Shaws, a New England grocery chain. I was able to get most of the food and odds-and-ends I needed from there. As I drove away, I noticed a TJ Maxx, which would be probably the closest to the clothing/shoe supplies that I needed to purchase. I found what I needed there, and noticed that the store was next door to a Stop & Shop, another New England grocery store chain that was recently in the news for the workers being on strike for better wages and working conditions. I drove by just to see what the status was on the store, noticing a practically empty parking lot, and employees picketing in front of the the store. I also recalled that my shopping errands at Shaw’s were much busier than usual, as a result of shoppers avoiding Stop & Shop.

After that, it was around lunchtime so I stopped at Homeport Restaurant, a diner favorite the last time I stayed in Truro. The reason that I liked this diner so much was that it had like 6-10 different ways of making french toast. While I’m usually more of a pancake girl than french toast, I couldn’t argue with these many ways to make french toast. So in the end, I went with the cinnamon croissant french toast, with the apple crisp topping from another french toast option, since the menu says “all special requests honored.” It was just as delicious as I had anticipated. Also, sidenote, if you use the restroom there, it’s covered in hand-painted ocean murals.

I headed back to the farm after finishing up lunch. When I returned, I worked on finishing up my new suite of websites for my creative endeavor, Rachel Brask Studio, LLC. I still needed to finishing setting up the details before I could go live. This is several months in the making, and one of my goals during this residency was to take any dead time that I couldn’t yet get into painting and put it into finishing up these websites and link them together. Since I knew I’d be leaving the studio again for a long time this evening, I only had about an hour or two, and with just such little time it’s hard to start getting into a painting routine just yet.

 

Today is our wedding anniversary, but my husband and I are both about 2 hours apart today, as I am at my art residency, and he has just started a brand new fulltime job within the last 3 days. It was a long shot, but we agreed to each drive about one hour and meet in the middle for dinner tonight. I also left a backpack with some important belongings back home, so he agreed to bring it with him when we meet up. I left around 5:15pm because I needed to give myself another half-hour to stop in Hyannis at Michael’s to get some wood panels for an encaustic workshop that I’ll be participating in tomorrow at the residency. This is when the unlikely adventure begins.

 

As I was walking into the Michael’s main door, I noticed a man on the phone outside the front entrance. My interest was intrigued when I heard him say that he had a baby squirrel on his foot and he didn’t know what to do with it. I briefly looked down towards his foot as I passed and saw the adorable baby squirrel. I turned around and walked back to see what the guy was talking about. We chatted for a minute or two as he explained that the baby squirrel seemed lost and just came up to him, probably hungry or something. He walked over to the mulch to try to drop the baby from his foot, as he was supposed to meet his wife somewhere shortly. Once the baby squirrel was on the ground, he started scurrying around, still looking and moving towards us on the sidewalk. Once we got far enough away that he stopped chasing us, we observed the baby squirrel start climbing up the stucco walls of the Michael’s building, like spiderman, so for the purposes of this blog I’m going to call him Spidey Squirrel.

Spidey then found himself a small architectural ledge, and he seemed like he felt stuck up there, squeaking and crying the most pitiful and yet cute baby squirrel squeal. By now a small group of people had assembled, all concerned for the baby squirrel. Now we were getting afraid that it looked like the baby was losing its foothold a few times, as we feared he would fall. I volunteered to run inside to get a crate and some soft fleece yarn, which I quickly unwrapped and laid it around inside the crate, hoping to use this soft box device to catch Spidey if he fell. When I got back outside the building with this crate, the folks there informed us that he had already fallen, after climbing up even higher on the building’s facade, almost to the top of the roofline, which looked to mean he fell 30-40 feet!

It looked like Spidey was avoiding putting any weight on his back left leg as he scurried around the ground, towards the original guy. So we got the guy to have get the squirrel into the little crate of soft yarn off of his boot. Once he was in, he moved around a bit as he looked like he was nesting to find a nice place to settle. Then the yarn stopped moving, so we were a little worried that maybe he wasn’t doing so well. So then we moved the yarn a little with a stick to reveal that little baby Spidey was all balled up. As we moved yarn to reveal him, he reached out with his little forepaw to pull the yarn back over him, like a human pulling the covers back over their head sleeping in on a Saturday morning. He seemed like he was warm now, and didn’t seem eager to run away or scale any buildings again.

IMG_8298

By this time it was just me and a young married couple who were super concerned that the little squirrel wasn’t just left out here with an injured leg that would keep it from surviving the long game, so we each used our smartphones to google phone numbers of the Barnstable/Hyannis animal rescue but they weren’t answering their phone after hours. So then I called the Barnstable police station non-emergency number to see if they could contact someone. They said they would call some wildlife place called Natural Resources, and we hoped that they would call us back, but it was after hours. We continued to follow voicemail chains until we finally got a phone number for a wildlife rehabber who answered his phone after hours. By voicemail train I mean, “Welcome to Animal Place 1,  we’re not around after 4pm, so please call Animal Place 2.” Then Animal Place 2’s voicemail indicated to call Animal Place 3, then Animal Place 3’s voicemail said to call Animal Place 1.

SQUIRREL 4 PHOTOS

The wife was the one to call the phone number of the rehabber that finally picked up the phone. We got the address of their place where they could be taken to be looked after overnight and receive any care that Spidey needed. The couple volunteered to bring the crate of the baby squirrel in their car to transport it to the wildlife rehabber. I was so grateful that we finally found someone who would take little Spidey in, and grateful to this couple who stuck it out to make sure he was safe. We were all bonded by this experience of caring for this little baby squirrel. And that was the end of my unexpected adventure. On the drive to the restaurant where I was meeting my husband in Sandwich, MA, there was a really amazing sunset so I told Siri to take a photo. She didn’t do half bad.

 

I finally texted my husband to say that I would be about half an hour late by the time this whole squirrel debacle and that I would fill him in over dinner. I finally got to the restaurant in Sandwich, The British Beer Company, where we agreed to meet for our anniversary dinner. It was good to see him after just 2 days apart from our roadtrip up from NC, but I was so amped up from the baby squirrel rescue attempts that I probably wasn’t the best to keep company with at the time. Once I finally got some food and drink in my system, I finally calmed down, and we were able to have a pleasant dinner.

It was 2 for 1 pizza night, so we hopped on the pizza bandwagon and each ordered a small pizza, but since they said that the pizzas would all take a long time, we ordered their giant pretzel and baked brie for appetizers just because they looked good, and they both were very, very good. The pretzel actually came out on a hanging rack, which I thought was pretty cool. We caught up about our days in the short time we’d been apart, with my husband catching me up on his experience the first few days at his new job. I filled him in on the baby squirrel adventure and how it was going the first couple days at my art residency. They finally brought the pizzas and they were very good as we ate a couple slices, but then we needed to box them to-go. We did, however, save some room to see what their fried cookie dough dessert was all about, so we shared dessert. It was definitely worth saving some room because it was very tasty. After dinner I got my backpack from home from my husband’s car, we said our goodbyes for the next 1.8 weeks, and I drove my hour back to Edgewood Farm.

 

 

Truro Art Residency 2019 : Day 1

This is the first in a series of blog posts that I’ll be sharing about my art process and adventures while on a two-week art residency in Truro, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod (or “The Cape” to New Englanders).

Continue reading