When I was in the first year of my fine art program, an artist came and spoke to our class. She had just returned from a residency at the Banff Centre and this was the first time I had heard about this magical concept of a residency. You go and live somewhere and make work among other artists and focus intensely on your art for a length of time. I decided at that moment that I would do one of these as soon as I had the chance.
So when I was thinking about how to celebrate my 30th birthday and what I really wanted, it was time and space. Time and space to spread out and paint larger than I ever have before. Time and space to nap and read and rest and recharge and have mental space to explore new ideas. Time and space to focus on developing my artistic style and refining my technique. I got all this and more during my time here at Spark Box Studio.
I love my little studio corner at home but it has its limitations. I have difficulty focusing when other people are around and there are always chores to be done and errands to do. This week I was able to paint all day for 6 days straight, something I haven’t had the luxury of since, well, probably ever. This place is full of beauty. It is decorated with lovely vintage furniture and is filled with natural light. I couldn’t picture a more welcoming and inviting place to work.
While I was here I stretched and painted a huge canvas, (and documented it to create a time lapse video) made two medium size paintings, started a third, and made 4 small paintings. Not bad for one week. I learned a lot about myself as well. I usually lose momentum in the middle of a painting when it feels ugly and unfinished, so I forced myself to just keep going and keep mixing paint in order to keep putting fresh marks on the canvas until I was happy with it. The middle of the painting is usually not that enjoyable for me. It’s like a roller coaster, I start off really high and excited and then dip deep and hate it and don’t want to look at it, then I force myself to climb up the hill of not being happy and then I usually love the last finishing touches. But you have to push through the not fun parts in order to experience the times of pure joy.
I took some time out of painting to visit some local shops and galleries and was so inspired by all of the creativity around the area. I went to Oeno Gallery and perused their sculpture garden, visited some shops that featured handmade wares from local artisans and even managed to squeak in some antiquing.
I am so thankful for the time I was able to spend here and all I was able to accomplish. Thank you so much Chrissy and Kyle for being amazing hosts and for all you do to create time and space for artists.