Monday, November 14, 2016

Inspiration Soars!

The Vermont Studio Center is a magical kingdom for artists. I have just returned from filling my inspiration cup to the brim and am now overflowing with gratitude for the time and space spent in this unique artist-in-residency program.

The main building where we eat and gather is in an old red mill


A short walk over a bridge and through the town of Johnson brought me to my studio building, The Barbara White building. My studio, like all the studios was big and bright and inviting. I had the bonus of two windows that looked out over the Gihon River.

 
 
Over 60 artists and writers from all over the world are selected every month to come and share in this marvellous experience. There is a nice blend of socializing and privacy that is very conducive to deepening and broadening your practice as an artist.  At every delicious meal (and the food is very good) you sit beside a different artist/writer and have the best conversations about life and art. A multi-generational populace is another interesting blend to the melange of people. So much diversity of ideas, thoughts and visuals leads to a stimulating and lively environment. 


It didn't take long for me to start painting! All that white space was so inviting. The first thing I painted, which was a bit of a surprise to me, was a large painting of Walt's kiss. It was based on a photo taken by my close friend, Connie who also left this planet three months after Walt. I allowed myself to paint all my love and sadness into that piece and continued to have it hang in the space for the duration of my stay. Both Walt and Connie would have loved the Vermont Studio Center.


This was a space for playing and exploring and trying new ideas. I worked with some of Walt's materials, spray paints, oil sticks, etc. None of these works made much sense but it was such a release to be able to just play with the materials. I stapled some large canvases directly to the wall. I have never tried painting like this and the lack of bounce from the taut and unstretched canvas opened new avenues for mark making with palette knives. I actually love the unfinished edges with the raw canvas and am considering hanging these as are, without stretching them.




There were guest artists and writers who would come and speak about their work. We could choose to have the visiting artists come and discuss our work with us if we wanted to. The artists in residency were also very generous about sharing their work with the group in a short evening "slide presentation" once or twice a week. The writers would read selections of their work to us. A bombardment of inspiration from all directions.

Vermont Studio Center Residents - November 2016


Two of the visiting printmakers encouraged and guided me in the making of my first dry point prints. A whole new experience for me and one I enjoyed and hope to continue exploring more in the future.







I intentionally selected the month of November for my residency as I knew I would be less distracted by the outside world which always beckons me to explore, especially in a brand new area like this. The weather was cold and rainy a lot of the time so staying in the studio and working was often the best choice to be made. However there were some spectacular trails nearby and in spite of it being hunting season I did manage to explore some of the enchanting Vermont landscape.





 Journey's End Falls with Elisa from Argentina and Sophia from the UK. Two fun and beautiful souls who agreed to get lost in the woods with me for a few hours.





Another day Soren, a young artist from Brooklyn and I went and found this beautiful waterfall tumbling down a hillside.


 

One day after lunch, Heather from Maine and I went off to explore a small portion of the Vermont Long Trail which brought us to an entanglement of roots and rocks.

  



There is so much more to tell. I will leave out the election of Trump which cast a dark shadow throughout the community for the duration. However, I can think of no place I would have rather been than amongst this loving community of thoughtful artists and writers. 

A group of eight of us drove up into the hills to sit on a rock and watch the super full moon rise like liquid amber over the horizon and into our hearts. One of the women was a pregnant printmaker from Cleveland and her and her baby's presence made the moment even more special.





I began the month with an empty studio and canvas, not knowing a single soul. I left with a studio full of new work, and my heart full to bursting with all the new friendships that have inspired me to become more fully the person I was born to be.  I left with much hope instilled by this loving community of artists who will continue to shine their light for others to follow through a dark and treacherous time for our planet.


I will mention that after the election I turned to working on a series of smaller works. My energy level dropped as I became more reflective and I felt the need to make small intimate paintings with a quiet, neutral palette. Memories of my September morning excursion to Pink Pond in the Adirondacks was the inspiration for this gentle series that literally and metaphorically emerged from the fog.







I will be exhibiting many of these works in the upcoming show, "Mourning Light" at Les Mots Tremblant in Mont-Tremblant, QC Canada. The exhibition opens Friday, Dec 16th and continues until mid January.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Alive in the Moment!

I continue to find my way through the clouds of grief that follow and envelope me everywhere. Oddly the grief has become a constant in my life, almost like an unwelcome companion that I am starting to get used to cause it just won't go away. I have started to make peace with this unwelcome companion.

The one place I feel my strength return is hiking in the Adirondacks. I can't always find someone to hike with and so I have been going on my own, or rather, with my unwelcome companion, which has made the silence in the woods roar in that special way it does when you are alone in the forest with your grief.



   

 The stones emanate a strong presence, the wind animates and the trees have never felt like such dear friends. The energy from the trees is palpable, I feel like I am among a tribe
of friends who hold something profoundly alive and deep within their core beings. My own heart beats in rhythm with this thrumming of the forest. 




I have to navigate over boulders, roots and rocks. I must pay attention and be aware of my body's placement within the contours of this landscape. In so doing, I become aware of the sounds; birds, wind, creaking trees, the scents; sweet, sharp and earthy. I also feel the pull of the earth's strong body as though I am a part of this strength and we are both a part of the same landscape. We feel interconnected and entwined as the roots and rocks who hold the earth in their loving embrace.


And then there are the clouds, the clouds that roll out into what seems like eternity.
Layers and layers of snowy movement in the blue summer sky like an ocean of love floating overhead.


 My body comes alive as I slowly ascend these mountains. My muscles ache as they cry for oxygen, my breath becomes more laboured and I feel the blood pumping through my veins. 
I am alive! What a gift this is! What a miracle to be alive at this moment in this place.

Walt once hiked beside me but now I do it for both of us. Walt's presence is alive in his absence. I can hear his exclamations of wonder as I reach the summit, I can feel him taking a deep breath of Adirondack air and see his sparkling brown eyes so alive and full of love as he takes in the view from the top. He taught me how to do this and now I breathe in the sweet scents and realize that someone else will be doing this for me when I am gone.
And so the cycle of life continues from one breath to another. Gratitude for this moment in this place.


                                   

 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

What's Going On These Days

It has been a busy Spring/Summer so far. I have had the privilege and honour to install many of my larger paintings in beautiful locations. One of the perks of being an "indy" artist, is meeting fabulous new people, sharing stories and traveling to new places. Here is a glimpse of some of the paintings that have gone out into the world this season:

 Luminous Ground / triptych 24" x 72" in Manor Tremblant, QC

 Into the Forest / 60" x 48" in a private Equinox condo, Mont-Tremblant, QC


 Reflecting on Then and Now / 60" x 48" in a private Equinox condo, Mont-Tremblant, QC


 The Red Line / 36" x 72" in a collector's home in Grande Isle, Vermont


Recently I was part of a wonderful new collaboration between my studio building, Complexe Canal Lachine and the Montreal Folk Festival. 

For our annual Open House this year I curated and organized an exhibition that was open to all Montreal artists entitled CADENCE. Artists were asked to create a piece inspired by music of their choice. From the seventy entries that came in thirty paintings were selected and hung in our building's gallery, Centre d'Art E.K. Voland as part of the Open House celebrations.  The exhibition was then moved to the recently renovated Salon 1861 in Griffintown where it still hangs until June 30. Check it out if you get a chance!
The Open Studio was a lot of fun this year with a variety of musicians dropping by to make music in the studio!

Ray Sealey

Sophia DiGeronimo

Ellie Young

In the Adirondacks this summer I have two paintings at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake as part of an exhibition entitled "Seeing the Forest and the Trees"


You can also find my work at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts Main Street Gallery in Lake Placid.