How an artist residency in Scotland won my heart
and came around full circle for me
Ageless artist is a newsletter about working and living as an artist 50+ years old .. If you are not from this age group and you are an artist you are of course welcome too ;-)
Gazing out my third floor window out to a vista that seemed from another time and place . My eye catching the beam of light bouncing off a 20th century monolith -an oil rig seeming out of place -yet not -in this scenic Highlands landscape ..A view of a most gorgeous firth nestled in between two majestic sutors.
Oh the stories this land tells . This medieval village with its winding little lanes still preserved and conserved as once was. It was so much more than this artist could wish for in a self directed residency in the land of my ancestors . I reflect back to October 2022 when I stayed in a Scottish Highlands town of Cromarty for the purpose of making art during a residency offered through the Cromarty Arts Trust. To take part in a residency away from home, to work in a dedicated way while being inspired by my surroundings had been one of my personal dreams for many years now.
Travelling solo had its moments. Working out travel connections,getting acquainted with transit apps and travelling by air and then bus . I packed too much in a ridiculously large suitcase complete with art supplies and clothes adjusted to the changeable weather . Hauling it into buses ..Fumbling dramatically ,dragging it over cobbled streets and finally up three flights of stairs to what would be my home for two weeks in the beautiful town of Cromarty on the Black Isle
The streets vibrated with centuries old stories of fisherwomen. ..Of men lost at sea and of a fascinating local hero named Hugh Miller. All of this danced in my mind ,my psyche and my heart as I explored old graveyards & walked daily to my studio space in an old converted stable on a scenic rural property . The community was lovely and welcoming -the resident artists a joy to meet and work alongside.
What did I produce and learn from this experience? It was truly gratifying and energizing to get out of my own environment and after all my adult years working, parenting and caring for others that this sheltered time was just for me.
As the history and the architecture and the stories swirled around my head I found myself smoothly easing into my art making. My art reflected my impressions and feelings about immersing myself in this special locale.
last May I returned to visit with my daughter in the Uk and take a side journey back to Cromarty -I had been curious and compelled to see if it still held magic for me. I referred to this journey back in my post below..
I know this kind of experience and the expense connected with it is not within everyone’s reach. If your interest is piqued however there are ongoing opportunities worldwide for artists-some paid for (typically artists are asked to contribute a painting /or give a talk etc).
A few weeks ago I shipped my art created during my Cromarty residency to Gallery 48 there! I was elated to learn during my last visit that the proprietors were interested in showing/selling my originals and cards in their lovely gallery. It was a full circle experience for me and demonstrates how one thing sparks another thing.
Communicating and reaching out to others wherever you are sometimes brings interesting outcomes!
This experience will resonate with me for years to come .
Some of the art created during my residency can be viewed here
Do you have any stories of artist getaways/retreats or residencies that you would like to share?
What I have been making…
I have been working on this small series of mixed media paintings and hope to post them in my Etsy shop tomorrow (Tuesday August 22)..They are a little darker in tone and I do seem to be attracted to these sorts of themes . I have felt a little more energized these days with the cooler nights it seems.
Also I have the little mixed media sketchbook journal completed now !
You can view it here..sketchbook/journal tour
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