Secondary Roads 

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Artist Residency at Moulin A Nef in Auvillar, France 

Aug.2- 23, 2018

I’ve been back for a month from my artist residency, back to the messiness of relationships and events, that make up life. 

For three weeks,  I was treated to a room of my own, a studio of my own and the expectations that I would spend 6- 10 hours a day making art. I was an artist and this meant, long hours of silence and concentrated , undirected work and time to create. 

The  artists, composers, writers that I encountered there, were welcome distractions, in that they enriched my work and time there. 

The town of Auvillar, rich in history, its market, vistas, festivals, sunflowers, concerts, art galleries and surrounding towns, brought new landscapes and vista into focus. It was a sensory delight. Speaking French was also a challenge and a pleasure as the language increased my perceptions of my surroundings and forced me to find new ways to both appreciate and express what I was experiencing. 

The work that emerged began with maps in an attempt to get me ‘bearings’, find my ‘place’ and gain some idea of the ‘route’ or direction I was going.  I drew maps in pen and ink for the first few days. These morphed into watercolor and collage abstractions and hand-made books. 

All in all, over the three weeks, I made about 35 small pieces, which were shown at our Open Studio to the residents of the town. I also had a small area where anyone interested could make a handmade book.

The work was titled “ Les Routes Secondaires” or “Secondary Roads” with the subtitle “ Le Peu de Choix” or the “Small Choice”. It is concerned with how we deviate from where we might have thought we were going or supposed to be going, and how we end up taking other roads, detours which make the difference in our collective and individual experience. The books tell small stories of these twists and turns, some tongue-in-cheek and others more serious. I worked small, in order to easily pack everything for the plane. 

This idea of taking time to ‘retreat’, gathering one’s life experience through art is not unique. Taking that kind of time in today’s fast-paced world, might be. It’s a way of stopping time to make it work for you, which making art often does. I hope that I can do this more regularly in my home environment, though I know it will be challenging.

What do you do? What can you do for yourself to take the time and nurture your creativity. Start today. 

 Let me know!