Thursday, June 1, 2017

Weir Farm Artist in Residence, week 1

Dear Friends,

Please bear with me this month as I expect to write a bit more often because I have the unique honor of being Artist in Residence at Weir Farm in CT in June. That means I am spending the entire month living in a rustic cottage adjacent to a beautiful studio that is mine-all-mine for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the month of June!

There are all sorts of residencies - from commune-like gatherings of artists of varied visual media to semi-private spaces where the artists range from writers to sculptors to musicians. In these settings, often group meals and common space are provided for socializing and relaxing.

Weir Farm, in contrast, offers a solitary experience in a simple cottage with a summer-camp vibe that is steps away from a large and well lit studio. And the back wall of the studio is all windows, opening onto a deck that overlooks a woodland stream. Ahhh! The cottage is the former caretakers house, built in the 1830s. The studio was built in 2010 specifically for Weir's artists in residence and it's design reflects the original barn that had stood on the site. Very cool!

So, how did I get here? Well, Weir Farm is the only National Park Historic Site dedicated to American painting. After having painted at the studio of George Lawrence Nelson in Kent CT, the idea of creating artwork at the home of Julian Alden Weir, renowned American Impressionist, was too good to pass up so I applied.
"The Art Center's mission is to promote public awareness of the Farm's history and artistic tradition, and through its programs, facilitate contemporary artistic work on the site, fulfill educational goals, and preserve the Farm's unique environment."
Artist Residency Studio at Weir Farm
The residency program is overseen by the Weir Farm Art Center which accepts applications in October. Prospective artists must provide images typical of their artwork and a work plan for their time at Weir, as well as several letters of recommendation. Between 10 and 12 artists are chosen each year to stay up to 4 weeks. It's quite an opportunity for uninterrupted, focused art-making.

My work at Weir will center on painting interiors of the house and studios. I'm looking at this time as an opportunity to think through the challenges of creating mood and atmosphere through light in interior scenes. Not sure if I can accomplish that, but having uninterrupted time to think, examine, plan, compose and execute should bring me closer to that goal.

Today is the first day. Primarily, I've been settling in and finding my way around. I've already photographed some of the spaces that I plan to paint and I'm wrapping my head around what I hope to accomplish over all.

It's not just about the paint, but also about developing habits, to become more centered in the work and to simply be more productive with my creative time and energy. We shall see!

Thanks for coming along for this ride. I will keep you posted!

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