It’s hard to believe that this artist’s residency is coming to a close. I have just four more days here before returning to Paris. So I thought I’d do a pictorial recap of my time here so far. It’s been beyond anything I could have imagined or hoped for. Just amazing.
Gare de l’est
On the train heading toward Orquevaux!
My Studio! I can’t believe it!!
Some of the art work in the Chateau left by other artists in residence
And so it begins… getting the work up on the wall.
but now I have all of this space… I can go much bigger!
The view from my studio
Taking a morning walk with fellow artist in residence, Kevin Ford
Throwing some paint around
Working and adding
Playing with shapes, getting in the blues…
Lichen always inspires
Taking a walk to clear my head and get some perspective on the challenges I’m seeing in the piece now that I’ve doubled its size.
The sheer beauty and magnitude of this place…
The boat house
The blue alien is now an ever present “issue” that I work hard to resolve…
Deciding that I have to stitch stuff down anyway…
Boldly stitching the blue insect/alien even though I have misgivings… maybe it’ll look better once it’s stitched down.
Nope it doesn’t. Annotating the work, before adding more blue, because if the blue bits are the problem, let’s throw more on there and see what happens.
The blue rabbit hole continues. I’m so deep in it I can’t see my way out.
Still I can appreciate the fabulous art all around me that covers the walls of this amazing place.
Raclette night and the fabulous Beulah van Rensburg: artistic director
The. blue continues to prove problematic.
But I’m determined…
and when all else fails, start another piece…
Fellow artists put on a puppet show for all of us, to great hilarity and fun!
and then I return to my studio to finish my little study inspired by the lichen I’ve seen on my many walks.
And on it goes… the creative process continues.
The big take away from all of this is that the process of creating is often bumpy, but if you don’t give into despair and just meet it head on matter-of-factly, the process is actually very instructive and can be wonderfully fun. It so mirrors life. Some of the things I tell myself: Don’t take it personally. You got this. It’s a momentary hiccup, what can you learn? This feels uncomfortable, but it’s okay. I’ve been here before and gotten through, I’ll get through this too. Breathe. Be patient and honor the process.
The ups and downs, the unexpected road blocks, the work arounds, it’s all there, just as in life, but making the decision to find the joy, to be present, even when I’d rather not be, that’s the trick. Right now I still haven’t resolved some of the issues I have with this piece, but I know I’ll get there eventually. It’s all part of creating and creating is always wonderful! Hard, but wonderful!
A documentation of the process… I’ve come to rely upon this documentation as it helps me figure the next step out. So this is how it began when I arrived and then I realized – Oh! I can create something SO much bigger!! Once that idea hit, I took all the other stuff off and began adding fabric. In fact, I doubled the size of the original piece, which was very, very exciting!!!
An idea occurs to me: I can go bigger!
Bigger it is!
Now I have to find a sewing machine so that I can piece it together…
And then I took another photograph once it was all pieced, so that I could put it up on my computer to annotate it. This step is crucial and one that I’ve come to rely on. I find it makes all the difference in the world as I can literally draw on top of the photograph, delete, play, try any number of things, play some more, move shapes around, see what I think, before committing to anything.
Where do I go from here? Annotating makes all the difference in the world!
Testing the annotated ideas…
Continuing to look, play, try out ideas…
Stepping away. Zooming back in, stepping away… this is all part of the process.
Adding a bit of blue in the upper left corner.
Who knows?! And that’s all part of the fun of the process. Adding, moving, playing, trying out other ideas…
It’s time for lunch, and then I will return and play some more, but all in all I’m loving the process and enjoying the movement of this piece. The trick is to keep going and not allow oneself to get bogged down with doubt! Continuing is key!! And loving every moment helps as well.
I cannot begin to describe how incredibly grateful and fortunate I am to be able to do this 2-week residency in this Chateau in Orquevaux. It is beyond anything I could have imagined. I have a studio, a real studio where I can splash paint around and create pieces that are much, much bigger than anything I could have dared imagine back in my workspace in New York City. It is like being in a dream. Seriously. And here’s the thing, I’m practically in tears because I’m just overwhelmed at how lucky I am to be able to do this, to have this opportunity, to have this kind of space, to be able to create without distractions, to be able to make a mess… it really is a dream come true.
My studio for the next 2 weeks.
This is the piece I brought with me and have begun working on…
At three in the morning, in a fit of frenzied sleeplessness I decided my work space was in desperate need of reorganization. And what great idea that comes to you in the wee hours of the morning isn’t a brilliant one?! However, upon further reflection, I decided reorganizing is not one of my strengths and so, I did what anyone would do. I solicited the help of someone who excels at reorganizing. Step into the limelight my fabulous husband (FH) and take a bow. He is extremely good at just this sort of thing. “Okay,” he said, all business-like, “talk me through this.” And then proceeded to ask me a series of questions.
From this conversation he prioritized and broke down what I needed to do in manageable steps. I forgot to take a photograph of the disaster that was once my work space, but this is what it looked like at about the halfway point.
As I was trying to decide what color I should paint that great expanse of white wall (this was a tricky decision as it is a dark room, made even darker by the red carpet I bought decades ago in Turkey) I thought, “I need a design wall!” This is not essential, after all I have sketch books and a table where I can play with ideas, but a design wall would be really, really nice to have. So I googled design walls and found some wonderful ones. I decided I wanted one that is at least 62″ x 72.” In order to do this I needed to get rid of a great many things scattered all over the place.
I decided on a bright mango color to brighten the room up. However, as with so many things in life, painting one wall proved more complicated than I anticipated. I ran into bubbles. Thousands and thousands of tiny bubbles appeared after the first coat of paint. I pricked one of them with a pin and, much to my horror, the bubble expanded exponentially, revealing all the coats of paint below the fresh coat I’d just painted, so that I was staring at dry board! I was so horrified I didn’t have the presence of mind to take photos, but my FH was witness. I ended up pulling off great sheets of bubbled up paint. After running to the hardware store for advice, making a couple of emergency phone calls to friends of mine who are far more experienced in painting walls than I am, I finally pulled up as much paint as I could, sanded, dusted, spackled, sanded some more, dusted some more and finally repainted and held my breath. What should have taken a few hours took more than a day and a half, BUT it came out pretty well, if I do say so myself! FH had the great idea of hanging my ironing board.Then there was the question of my design wall, which is removable.I needed to organize my fabrics and other materials that I use for my jewelry design, such as wax, files, metals, wire, etc. While I was doing all of this, I came across my old portfolio from my days in fashion design and got a little side tracked… Finally, after all of that, I got back on track.
And here is the finished space!Now it’s time to get back to work – I have a queen-sized quilt to sandwich, baste and free motion quilt and then there are these little guys who keep calling to me.
A work in progress – Sharkey Dog
The African Rhino and his Friend – Blue Bird
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Please browse and look at our patterns available. We also offer Workshops! ~Ariane