Monday, August 25, 2014
Currently, I am on a two night retreat at a friend's place in the foothills of Alberta. It is a feast for the senses and just what I needed. Last year I came here at the beginning of the Wycliffe project to just think, rest and plan. This year's trip is no different.
I am actively planning out my next steps on this journey back into the art world. I've been getting good at figuring out what I don't want to do, now is the time to figure out what I want to focus on for the next few months as well as what new things I want to try.
I started with a little foray into en plein air painting today. It was awesome. After spending so long in my studio painting from photographs, this was a particularly exhilarating challenge. I will be heading back out on the property to do some sketching today as well.
I have been quite busy juggling back to school and utility box painting the past week or so. Being on site and having a couple hours at a stretch gives one lots of time to think..... So here is this weeks confessional inspired by the Utility Box I painted at Prestwick Gate and 52nd St in Calgary.
1. You have to paint the top of your box, even if there are no tall buildings or giants around to notice it. I had to haul in a ladder to my location which added to my load significantly.
2. People are really nice, especially in the days when your box has really taken shape and they've had a chance to see it for a bit. The amount of people yelling "Nice job!" from their cars was pretty humbling. You don't get that kind of feedback from your studio.
3. The utility box sings to you. When you stand at the front of the box, there is a definite hum that sounds like a quiet angelic chorus. You can't really hear it the same from the sides or back.
4. The neighborhood animals don't always take kindly to the installation. One day, when I finished this box, there was the unmistakeable odour of a cat marking it's territory. I got to paint anyways. Glamorous, I know.
5. Straight lines and hinges are way harder than you'd think.
6. So are straight lines and vents.
7. Paint dries very differently depending on how long a side has been baking in the sun. Some of the washes dried totally different depending on where I applied the paint.
8. Bugs really love utility boxes. This box actually had tons of daddy long legs which subsequently invaded my paint kit and then my car. My girls were horrified for days when they'd get in and then spot one on the ceiling.
9. They are not always located in landscaped places. I wore sandals my first day painting and totally regretted it.
10. Sometimes you spill a tiny bit of paint water, sometimes you dump a quart of thick black paint and then have to scramble to mop it up in front of hundreds of people waiting at the intersection. Looking glamorous the whole time, of course. When I asked the City staff about further clean up, they said it is WAY worse if it happens on the concrete. I'm guessing I'm not the first to do that.