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At-Home Residency

My wife, Patty, left Tucson for the Midwest in May to spend the whole month directing and teaching at writing retreats in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan. Seeing as I was alone at home for all that time, I decided to use the four weeks as an at-home artist's residency.

A real residency, of course, means you go to a location where you are given the use of a studio for a period of time to spend almost all of your time working. The advantage of such a retreat is that you leave the routines of your daily life behind and concentrate on making your art. The at-home residency, while I still had to do some freelance work and do the shopping and chores each week, is an opportunity to tune in to the same state of mind, if not from the same state of semi-isolation.

My goal was to see if I could find a new path forward from the Crow and Hands series I've worked on for the past three years. The image at the head of this blog post is one of the first results: using the same imagery and mark-making, but foregrounding the Indian Red.

Then I tried reducing the palette and retaining mostly the same movement of the hand. I then produced a set of semi-representational oil sketches with full-length figures and birds. I still didn't feel ready to scale these up into a canvas, so I decided to get out and about with my sketchbook.
This resulted in something looking more like a landscape painting, but with an abstract tendency and employing a similar wrist movement to the gesture I used a lot in the Crow and Hands series. This is now the material I'm working with: working from sketches in the studio, taking selected colours and shapes from nature, but working them and reworking them into abstract patterns. 
We'll see where this takes me...


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