I’m surprised by the number of people lay as well as artists who are not familiar with residencies. Of course, I was amazed to find out how many residencies are out there and of the variety available. For those unfamiliar, an artist, visual or otherwise, receives a residency usually in length from two to eight weeks at a location that has been tailored for privacy so that the artist is allowed to work unhindered for the time allotted. There is usually a minimal charge for the time but there are full fellowships as well. It is not a vacation but a time for the visual artist to work on whatever he or she wishes. Truly a blessing when you think of the fact that you have privacy, uninterrupted time, and usually a very well appointed studio. The residency with which I’m familiar also allow for sharing with other artists only as much as you wish to. For me it was a two week period for me to delve into the series of paintings I’ve been working on for several years now. I was at one of those points where I was not enthusiastic about the imagery I was creating and not sure how to proceed. I was staring at the closest thing to creative block that I’ve ever experienced.
In two short weeks and then another six weeks after my return to my own studio, I had started the new images with so much vigor that I was amazed by the transformation. There were hints before I left for the residency but while working ten hour days with only breaks for the usual necessities, eating for one, I created fifty drawings that took me to a new understanding and led to the new imagery built upon the foundation of the series already begun. Understand that there are no cellphones, internet, just basic 911 service in the studio. It is an amazing experience having been connected for so many years to disconnect.
Returning to my studio I thought to recreate an oasis as I had just experienced but that is not possible, at least I could not do it. But I did make major changes truly clearing out so much “baggage” that I feel I now have room for new ideas to generate.
As this process continues to unfold, I look forward to examining the results. One procedure on the schedule is to apply to the next residency especially when this must be done far ahead of the time you want to go.