Today is my last full day here at my Edgewood Farm art residency in Truro, MA. While I had previously thought that I should be able to start raining one last painting today, which would have been my 6th, I realized that it was impractical. Because we have to check out by 11am and I have a whale watch scheduled for this afternoon, I have to be realistic with my remaining timeframes today. I used the morning to start breaking down my studio setup, putting away my paints, cleaning brushes, washing off the jenga blocks so that they can be reused for other paintings. I started packing the big stuff into the blue suitcase that they all came in, which I’ve now dubbed my art res suitcase, since it makes transporting art supplies all in one suitcase much easier. I was actually able to clear off the whole center table off during the morning packing session, leaving one more table to clear. While I was cleaning and packing the studio this morning, I also put through one final load of laundry, realizing that I was just one day short of a final clean outfit to travel in tomorrow morning.
I took the remaining paintings that were still on easels and turned them upside-down on a strip of paper so that the canvases were resting partially against the wall. I left out just one can of Gamsol so that I can thin down the paint drips on the bottom of the canvas so that it can be used to cover any white spots of the bottom of the canvas. I’ll have to just touch up the one blank spot on the tops of each canvas after I return to my home studio. I touched up the edges of what I could take care of today, and left them leaning against the wall to dry this afternoon. Once those were all set, I got myself together to get ready to head to my whale watch from the Provincetown pier. I have never been on a whale watch before, and I am very much looking forward to it, especially since I’ve heard that there have been a lot of whale and dolphin sightings this week.
Just before I checked into the whale watch dock, I swung into Stop & Shop (now back to normal and fully stocked) to buy some Dramamine to fight any possibility of seasickness, along with some gloves to keep my hands warm from the sea spray. As I pulled into the pier’s parking lot, I got an email from the whale watch company indicating that today’s tour had been cancelled due to the weather forecasting rainstorms along with thunder and lightning. I was bummed out that it had been cancelled, but I’m sure that it was for the better. The tour originally would have departed at 1:30pm and returned around 4:30 or 5:30pm, so now I had this big chunk of afternoon time to work with. I decided I would still make something of it, rather than just returning to campus dejected from an afternoon cancellation.
The first order of business was to get some lunch, as I hadn’t eaten lunch because I didn’t want to have a big meal digesting while we were going over some gnarly waves in the boat. I walked around Commercial Street a bit, evaluating my options. As I was walking I passed Womencraft, a place that had been closed the day before. I stopped in to see what they have, some quirky crafts and cards and buttons. I found a section of published and artfully illustrated poems by Kate Wallace-Rogers and located “Surrender,” the poem that she had read to us on our first day of the residency and again at the open-mic night. I found a canvas panel painted and hand-written with the poem and purchased it so that I have it to inspire me at all times. It’s going in my studio so that I can see it every day.
I walked around a bit and came to the Post Office Cafe, what seemed to be a funky take on a postal office themed diner. I went in and saw a few small tables and a bar, with a red and blue postal stripe all the way around the wall. I just ordered a small wedge salad as an appetizer, as I was still curious to try some other place for a full lunch, but a small side salad would be a good starter and ensure that I got in a serving of green veggies for today.
I walked around Commercial Street’s East End walking toward the West End, evaluating worthy lunch options. I came to the Crown & Anchor, right next to the cabaret, a restaurant and inn with an open-air patio that we had passed many times. I had always been curious to see what it was all about, so I decided to get my lunch here. The waiter brought me to a table on the indoors section of the space, but I requested to sit on the patio (which now had clear panels instead of open walls because of the windy day), so that I could do some people-watching as I was eating lunch. The host complied, adding that there was a private wine-tasting happening in the same space so that I would hopefully not be bothered by their event. I said I’d stay quiet in the corner enjoying my lunch.
I ordered the mac and cheese, which was served on a hot skillet, oozing with melted cheeses. Pairing mac and cheese with a white wine, it was a perfectly cozy lunch, and a nice reprieve from the rainy, cold and windy weather that I was earlier walking around town in. After I finished my mac and cheese, the waiter suggested a flourless chocolate cake with vanilla gelato. Since today was really my last full day to try this place, I figured, “Why not?” The cake was served warm and was very rich and perfect comfort food for this dismal weather day.
After lunch I went walked back towards my car from the West End towards the East End, where I had parked in a toll parking lot, but it was thankfully free parking until May 1st. On the way in I stopped at Cabbot’s Candy, wondering what it was since I had heard the name elsewhere. The gentleman working the register was wearing a classic brown felt top hat, reminiscent of another friend who daily wears a black top hat in Rhode Island. He generously allowed me to sample small bits of different flavored fudge. I found it interesting that they had a lemon fudge, which I had never seen as a fudge flavor before. I had seen vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter, etc. before, but never lemon. The flavor of the lemon was subtle but very good, so I bought just a small sample to take with me.
I continued walking until I got back to my car, nearly blowing the car door into me as I boarded my SUV. I drove away and thought to stop in North Truro again on my way back to the Edgewood Farm campus, in order to stop at Chequessett Chocolates to order a coffee. I ordered a Thai coffee, flavored with the slightest hint of vanilla and sweetened condensed milk. From there I thought I’d explore Atlantic Spice Co., if they were open. I followed my GPS and signs towards the big blue building of the Atlantic Spice Company. Upon walking in each shelf was filled with a plethora of kitchen caboodle, gadgets, teas, spices, jams and other culinary cookery. I immediately found my way to the mugs and teapots, finding a cute one that really spoke to my tea aesthetic.
Then I stumbled upon their loose-leaf tea section, which was a full wall of large packages of loose-leaf teas at wholesale prices. There must have been over 36 different types of tea leaves represented. I threw a few bags of English Breakfast and Earl Grey and Masala Chai tea leaves into my little grocery hand-cart. I went over to where there were also tons of packages spices and extracts, all at wholesale prices so everything was really cheap for a good quantity. I loaded up on garlic, ground cinnamon, and basil. As we were walking the shelves, a giant BOOM thundered through the store, feeling like something had fallen on the roof. All the other customers, including me, were quickly started to hear the crack of thunder sounding so very close to us, without even a pre-rumbling to warn us. Just as I was about to check out, the sky opened up and tons of rain just came flooding to the ground in a total deluge of rain. While it’s great to inspire my paintings, it wasn’t so great to have to walk out to my car in this, without my rain cape or umbrella. I braced myself and then braved my way into the downpour to my car. While I survived, the brown paper bag containing my spoils didn’t fare quite as well. When I get home I’ll have to just put them all into an extra plastic bag.
I did have other plans to go drive to Long Nook Road, per the recommendation of one of the people that came through the open studios last night. But when the sky opened down and rained an ocean I decided to do otherwise and just head back to campus. I still had a bunch more cleaning and packing to do, and I hoped to be able to load the majority of my bags and art supplies into the car tonight so that there’s less to do tomorrow.
When I got back to Edgewood Farm, I ran into Patty and chatted pleasantries about our days for a bit. Then I put on my artist apron and went into breakdown and packing mode. I was able to finish up and zip the big blue art supplies suitcase and put several other loose ends into reusable grocery bags, then I brought all those things downstairs by the door to facilitate loading. I cleared off all the table surfaces and consolidated my remaining technology and laptop bag, since I’ll be using my computer and tablet later tonight. Once I felt good about most of my supplies from the studio all packed up, I went and spent some time downstairs packing up some of the items and accumulated goods in my bedroom. It didn’t take very long, and I left out a backpack and main clothing suitcase so that I can use them tonight and then I’ll load them up in the morning.
I brought my cart around to the main door to get ready for loading. I spent the next half hour moving things around in my car, loading up the big art suitcase, bags, boxes, and more. Then I finally took some time to carefully load my wet paintings into the slots of the custom canvas storage rack in the cargo hull of my SUV. It was a little difficult at first to get things slid in, but with a little bit of taps and pushing everything fit. I put in the three large canvases, and then followed shortly with the smaller two which could fit on the same rack slot. After loading all my art and bedroom stuff was all completed, I then emptied my trash bins and recycling and brought everything down to the designated bins behind the barn for trash and recycling. I finished up all this business with sweeping the floor of my studio.
Now that all the important stuff was loaded, now was time to unwind and debrief from the day, and to have dinner. I microwaved some of the leftover mac and cheese I had from lunch today, poured myself a glass of chardonnay, and sat at the living room table to eat dinner and watch the rain and lightning storm through the dining room windows. After I finished eating, I took my glass of wine and went upstairs to my studio to spend some last few moments in the space, writing my blog post from the day with some strawberries and wine. If I had extra time, I would sort through some of my photos from all the sunsets in the days before, in addition to the dune tour photos that I still had to sort through. I made a short list of photos that I had to send to either Martha or to Patty before I turned in and called it a night. I wrapped up my computer work, put my laptop and tablet and corresponding charger cords into the laptop bag and brought them to my bedroom so they’re ready to pack up and go in the morning.
Tomorrow morning I’ll aim to get on the road home probably around 10 or 11am for the two hour drive home, possibly stopping somewhere for lunch or coffee along the way. It’s hard to believe that this session of my art residency at Edgewood Farm in Truro is finally coming to a close. In evaluating my time here this year, I’d say that I still had a great time. This year, compared to last year, I completed about half less physical paintings, but I also had a lot more springtime distractions to be able to go out and research photos for later paintings to be completed at my home studio (and the paintings I did this year were twice the size of last year’s so they took a bit longer). The dynamic between all the artists this time was much different, but still fine: last year we three were all snowed in together so we really, really bonded through that experience and ended each night with a glass of wine and laughter and talking late; this time there were 4 artists and two of them had already been here for 2-3 weeks prior so there was no sense to really gel quite as cohesively, everybody just did their own thing and maybe ran into one another. While the former is true, at least I had a really fantastic series of adventures bonding with Martha, since both of us did the same 2-week term and were connected through our mutual friend, Nan. We went on the dune tour together along with a few day trips and meals out, which was really awesome, as Martha is a kindred and warmly energetic spirit. While we are a couple decades apart in age, Martha’s young spirit really spurred me to take advantage of the opportunities presented in the residency and in life. I hope that we can stay in contact and maybe bump into on another again at another residency here or elsewhere.
I was just one painting short of reaching my goal of painting 6 paintings during my time here, but I now have endless photographed research options for using as reference photos for paintings for another time. I really enjoyed coming back to Truro’s Edgewood Farm a second time. This time around I felt much more confident with knowing where things were in Provincetown (I only used my GPS once the whole 2 weeks I was out here!) and I felt like I got to experience more of the town itself because some seasonal galleries, restaurants, and experiences had just started opening as of last week, so to get to see everything in the early off-season was great because there wasn’t much traffic or waits to get to any of these places. I feel like I made some really genuine connections while here, and I would definitely do it again in another year or two. But I predict that the next time I do a residency at Edgewood Farm I will be working in wax (encaustic) instead of oil paint. That is my prediction because part of this residency (taking encaustic classes with Cherie) also helped to inspire me to really tackle encaustics in my home studio. While I have taken at least 2 weekend sessions of encaustic workshops over the last two years, it was this third series of sessions with Cherie (my first with Cherie) that really gave me some of the chutzpah to really pursue it once I get back. I have to rearrange my home studio a bit and purchase some of the encaustic equipment (a griddle, heat gun, materials, etc.) to really get started, but I think I will follow through this time around.